Monday, June 21, 2004

Mr. Moore may also have to defend his portrayal of Mr. Bush's presidency as sinking prior to Sept. 11, citing an inability to win support for his legislation. But he fails to mention that in May, Congress agreed to Mr. Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut, the centerpiece of his legislative agenda. Mr. Moore said that his review of news coverage before Sept. 11 shows that, with or without the tax cut, the Bush presidency was floundering before the terrorist attacks. Mr. Moore said, "I've read what other people wrote and said at the time, and he was definitely on the ropes."

--Philip Shenon in yesterday's New York Times

... on September 10, 2001, George Bush was not on his way to a very successful presidency....

... Bush was unsuccessful in his political strategy.... The fight to enact his first big initiative, his tax cut, depleted the strength of his weak administration. As a result, from May 2001 onward, his domestic policy consisted of a series of increasingly desperate concessions to his opponents (on education, on spending) and to small interest groups within his own ranks (on steel, on farm subsidies)....

Above all, Bush lacked a big organizing idea.... I think it was the randomness and unrelatedness of George Bush’s policies, much more than his relative newness on the national political scene, that explains why so many Americans felt in September 2001 that they did not know this new president of theirs.

That's from pages 272-274 of The Right Man, an admiring book by former Bush speechwriter David "Axis of Evil" Frum.

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