p>I think you hit it right on the head about Bush’s ebb and flow.
I hope we don’t see too much ebb from now until the election. It’s
got to be constant, unremitting flow until then. In other words,
pour it on.
I am an Australian living back in Melbourne after having spent 15
years in NYC. During my time there I became a very interested
student of American politics. I got the tail end of the Reagan
presidency and through Bush Jr. There are a few possible reasons
why this president ebbs and flows as you put it. I think the major
reason why he appears like this to you is that he has a unique job
that is unlike any of the other presidents since the Second World
War. The homeland could be attacked at any moment and the U.S. is
essentially at war. I would say this guy is pretty busy executing
the war and has no time for such other things like making out with
interns under the office desk. The pressure this guy is under must
be immense. We should all thank God he actually keeps regular hours
for family time, otherwise he like most other people would not be
able to take the unfolding strain .
I have another analogy for the President’s seemingly cyclic
engagement in the week to week political dog fight. And if you look
at his track history one could conclude he uses the Rope-a-dope
strategy. I think the President is a keen observer of the
opposition’s offense and after he reads their playbook he
formulates his strategy. Examples abound: tax reductions, bucking
the U.N. and then at the 11th hour returning the volley right into
their teeth, opposing the Homeland Security department and then
using it to beat the opposition (Democrats and their union bosses)
silly (a beautiful score off of an interception), freezing out the
enemies of the state (France, Germany, Russia, etc.) and then
dividing them with the lure of booty in Iraq, resisting the 9/11
commission and then watching them implode in a partisan flop,
putting up with “the worst economy in the history of our country”
and now that issue vanishes like snow in springtime. Sometimes the
opposition is so inept at handling the political football they
cough it up without any effort on the President’s part. In every
one of these instances he has taken heat and then returned fire
after the opposition has punched themselves out. Look at what
happened to JFingK. For months he was savaging the President and
then after a month of advertisements his lead vanished. Don’t
worry, be happy.
In reading your column I realized how very true it is that the
president seems to be quiet and somewhat disengaged at times.
After reading Karen Hughes book I think I understand what is
happening in the time of quiet. He is planning, he is getting
advice and he is thinking decisions through. He is not a man who
leaps into the fray without some thought. While he is asking for
advice he always makes his own decision and takes responsibility
for each and every one of them.