Former administration underlings depict President Bush as a "Sarah Palin-like" leader with a short attention span who deferred on big decisions.Yeah well, some of us repeatedly pointed this out from the get-go and we were endlessly lectured by the breathless media that the American people wanted a moronic "regular guy" rather than some boring egghead for president and that his election meant the "grown-ups" were back in charge, even though he clearly had the emotional maturity and judgment of a testosterone overdosing teenager.
Larry Wilkerson, a top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Vice President Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promoted the notion they were a national security "dream team" to guide the foreign-policy amateur Bush.
"It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like President - because, let's face it, that's what he was - was going to be protected by this national security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire," said Wilkerson.
I have to admit that this is really rich, though:
Former Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon said the administration was in trouble even before taking office in the aftermath of the 2000 recount in which the Supreme Court effectively ruled that Bush had won Florida.
"The recount poisoned the well from the beginning," McKinnon said."A good number of people in this country didn't believe Bush was a legitimate President. And you can't change the tone under those circumstances."
When President Bush was asked recently by a reporter about his judicial selection process, he responded that his election was a mandate for putting conservative judges on the bench. Stumping for his $1.6 trillion tax cut, Bush declares that voters endorsed it when they chose him to be President. And why stop there? Bush has claimed a mandate for everything from changing the tone in Washington to building an antimissile shield in outer space.
Mandate? This from the first President in more than 100 years to win the office without garnering the most votes? But heck, Bush isn't about to let the election results get in the way of a good mandate. True, he lost the popular vote to Al Gore -- and in the eyes of many Democrats lost the electoral vote, too. The Pundit Elite was quick to portray the Texas governor as a "permanently scarred" leader after December's Supreme Court decision that made him the 43rd President.
But it's easy to forget how ephemeral things can be in the world of politics. Today, Bush's personal approval rating hovers around 70%. A majority of Americans supports his tax cut. And the new President is out to prove that a mandate is what you make it. "Essentially, a 'mandate' is what you can get away with," says Princeton University political scientist Fred Greenstein. "Bush is very good at claiming victory. He has a 'Marlboro Man' approach to communication. His idea of having a mandate is to say 'I have a mandate.'"