Bob Novak sees some troubling signs for President Bush, most notably unease among Senators who should be his most staunch supporters. They’re irritated that the Administration, especially SECDEF Rumsfeld, has treated them with disdain and kept them largely out of the loop; angry that they’re losing the judicial confirmation wars with the Democrats; and worried about the economy, especially the stale job market.

Nobody is suggesting that Bush is duplicating his father’s nonchalance after the Gulf War in sliding to defeat against Bill Clinton. Nor do they have specific policy advice beyond playing straight with Congress on how much the war against terrorism will cost.

Bush political adviser Karl Rove always has predicted a close presidential election for 2004, just as he did for 2000. Republican senators now realize Rove was not kidding, and they no longer laugh at Howard Dean challenging Bush for the presidency. Pollster John Zogby calls this a 50-50 country and Bush a 50-50 presidency.

Given those odds, arrogance and deception are too great a burden at either the White House or Pentagon.


FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Terrorism, The Presidency, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JohnC says:

    Too bad that arrogance, deception and secrecy are the hallmarks of this administration.

    A bit o’ humility over the last three years, as well as a bit o’ openness would have gone a long, long way to preventing what will now be inevitable.

  2. Paul says:

    Senators who should be his most staunch supporters…. [are] angry that they’re losing the judicial confirmation wars with the Democrats;

    Sooooo the SENATORS are mad at the PRESIDENT about this…. Maybe I need to take civics again.


  3. James Joyner says:


    It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster. There ain’t 60 Republicans. The Republicans are angry because Bush isn’t doing much to help them. He’s not expending much capital to put pressure on the Democrats or making them feel any pain.

  4. Dave says:

    I have sincere doubts that Bush expending capital would affect Democrat Senators who have picked a handful of judicial candidates to oppose; by the very nature of being selective in choosing whom to oppose, they necessarily have a high interest in not backing off, regardless.

  5. Paul says:

    James, your point is taken but I was underwhelmed by their reply to the dilemma. Sure the Pres can bully pulpit the nominee but the Senate has to carry the ball too.

    The fact is the Republicans (Senators) were too willing to let the Dems play dirty politics. IF the R’s did that, you would see every Dem Senator they had on T.V. whining.

    From my chair I see this as a Senate problem. Bush did a fair share. (IMO)