Saturday, September 24, 2005

President Struggles to Regain His Pre-Hurricane Swagger

From the Washington Post: "Most of all, White House aides want to reestablish Bush's swagger -- the projection of competence and confidence in the White House that has carried the administration through tough times since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Bush likes to say his job is to make tough decisions and leave the hand-wringing for historians and pundits. He almost never entertains public doubt, which is part of the White House design to build a more powerful presidency. The term 'strong leader' appears in at least 98 speeches he has given during his White House years, according to a database search, and was the subtext of his 2004 campaign strategy. He favors provocative language, declaring that he wanted Osama bin Laden 'dead or alive' and taunting Iraqi insurgents to 'bring 'em on.'

He projects this in nonverbal ways as well, the arms-swinging gait of his walk, the glint in his glare, the college boy grin that flashes even in sober moments. Some advisers consider this supreme self-confidence a secret to Bush's success enacting his first-term agenda and winning reelection in a tough political climate. It reinforced Bush's image as a decisive leader, which was an important attribute in an election colored by the threat of terrorism, and helped calm congressional Republicans who disagreed with some of the president's ideas but were won over by the force of his style."

Of course it was his swagger that got us all into this complex mess.


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