Saturday, September 30, 2006

The lightweight president with the jiggly legs

A long time ago, in what seems to be another life, back before the trauma of 9/11 and long before the Iraq war fiasco, a Grownup -- an experienced vice president and former senator -- was running for president against the Kid -- an obvious lightweight, a political neophyte with no apparent qualifications for the highest office in the land. The Grownup was originally the favorite, actually won the popular vote, but after the chaos of Florida, with a little nudge from the Supreme Court, the Kid became president.

Utterly lacking in gravitas, how could he lead the most powerful nation in the world? Not to worry. The consensus seemed to be that he had a competent, experienced team of grownups who could take care of things -- Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, etc.

But I used to wonder, what if the grownups disagree? In the aftermath of 9/11, much of the nation seemed to project onto the Kid a completely unearned aura of leadership. It was like a gravitas transplant. But my question never went away. What happens if the advisors disagree? What inner resources would the Kid draw on to lead the nation if all his people were pulling in different directions?

With Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" I finally got my answer.
There were "surreal" meetings where Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to look at each other while making their presentations to a fidgety President, Woodward writes.

Powell and Rumsfeld were like "bulls" who "staked out their ground, almost snorting defiantly, hoofs pawing the table, daring a challenge that never came," Woodward wrote. "And the President, whose legs often jiggled under the table, did not force a discussion."
How would the Kid lead a divided administration while thousands died? Now we know. George Bush wouldn't lead. He would abdicate.

3 comments:

Dr Diablo said...

On 9-6, you approvingly quoted one Paul Soglin's observation that the Dems need to stop hammering on Bush and the Iraq war and place a positive agenda before the public. Since then, you have posted 22 assorted diatribes and fulminations about the Bush administration. You could quarrel with my scoring system, which is still in development, but even if it's 18, your blog desrves to be renamed "Beating the Bushes."

I support Bush and the Middle East war. However, I sometimes vote Democratic and could do so again--but not because I'm lathered up about the right of two men to "marry" and other loony movements for which the erstwhile party of the people has become a refuge. I might listen if the Dems have a plan for getting rid of the personal arsenals that furnish the weapons for daily gun tragedies. If there's a plan for helping working-class families to get by without both spouses working, I'd like to hear it. I believe that education is the disadvantaged's ticket to prosperity and will always attend to proposals to increase those efforts. The way stands clear for lefties to remodel America.

What's probably going to happen, though, is that the Dems will continue to rage impotently at Bush until '08, by which time they will be too exhausted to so much as distribute a leaflet. They will leave their fight in the gym and we will inaugurate another GOP President.

momskids said...

Why is it the democrats responsibility? Why can't republicans come up with a plan? Having control of all branches of government and they have no plan? Odd that you're asking for a democratic plan but not a republican plan. Hmmm....

Mr. Forward said...

Actually both parties have a plan. The Republicans plan to "stay the course."
The Democrats plan to "cut and run." Both plans fit on a bumpersticker. Unfortunately for the Democrats, it's usually the same bumper.