John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Bush and Woodward

Posted on September 8, 2008



            Many Republicans wonder why President Bush spends so much of his time talking to Bob Woodward.


            Woodward has come out with his latest installment of his ongoing series that could be called “Bush at War.”  The White House is livid with some passages in the book, which seemingly show Bush to be “oddly detached” from the war planning, and leaving most of the planning to his NSC advisor Steve Hadley.


            After reading the first two excerpts, I have a different view.


            To me, Bush is the only guy in the Executive branch who actually wanted to do the right thing and win in Iraq.  Don Rumsfeld certainly didn’t.    General Casey certainly didn’t.  Condi Rice was lukewarm to the idea.  The Congress was outright hostile to the idea of victory (with the notable exception of John McCain and House Republicans).


            But Bush, with sure willpower and clear vision, pushed through a plan to win in Iraq.  And guess what, we are winning in Iraq.


            Bush did something here which he didn’t do enough in other areas of his administration.  He pushed the bureaucracy.  He fired people who were incompetent.  He demanded results against all odds of achieving them.  And he succeeded.


            If only he had done that with Katrina, the last three years would have been happier for Republicans and for the country.


            Imagine if we had followed Barack Obama’s advice or Harry Reid’s strategy.  Quit and give the Iranians and Al Qaeda a huge victory.  Incite a civil war in Iraq.  Endanger our allies, like the Jordanians, the Saudis and the Israelis.  And lose respect for America around the world.  That is one hell of a winning strategy promoted by Obama.  That is why he is not fit to be President.


            The White House is mad because Woodward makes some erroneous judgments about Bush.  When Woodward makes the assertion that the President was not engaged and basically gave Hadley his proxy to run the war as he wanted to, he disproves his own conclusion by giving the reader example after example of Bush prodding Hadley and the Pentagon to come up with a winning war plan.


            President Bush deserves some credit for winning this war and for achieving monumental legislative accomplishments over a very difficult period in American history.  In education, health care, tax policy, Bush delivered some pretty impressive results. 


            But the most impressive result is that he kept America safe after 9/11 while taking the fight to the henchmen who call themselves Al Qaeda. 


            The Woodward book is a first draft of history.  We will see how long it stands up before its conclusions are revised and extended.