The Cunning Realist argues in this post that I only became willing to note Bush’s “lassitude” after the election. For evidence, he notes this column, selectively quoting the positive things I said about Bush’s personal strength (all of which I still believe) and leaving out the critical things I said about his implementation of the war.
This is what I wrote before the election:
For a president who talks so much about being a wartime leader and whose administration so emphasizes the prerogatives of the executive, Bush has been an oddly passive commander in chief. He often seems to be run by his government rather than the other way around. He rarely fires anyone. His deference to his generals is near total. He hasn’t acted at key moments to resolve debilitating bureaucratic battles within his administration. He might be the “decider,” but his deciding hasn’t reached down far enough to see that his strategic decisions are effectively implemented.
This is what I wrote after the election:
Bush has taken the opposite approach and — for all his swagger and protectiveness of executive prerogatives — is becoming a disturbing study in lassitude in the executive branch.
I can justly be accused of re-cycling, but not of changing my tune after the election