“War president”?

My dislike of the current resident at 1600 Penn. is so intense that I can’t use my reactions to things he says and does as any sort of gauge of the likely reactions of normal people.

Take, for example, his reference to himself in the Russert interview as a “war President.” I was disgusted by it, but figured that Mr. Bush’s supporters wouldn’t mind it. So I’ve been pleasantly surprised, in talking to three pro-Bush friends, to find that they all regarded the comment as reflecting something between creepily bad taste and a humorously inaccurate self-concept. “Would that be anything like a wartime consigliere?” said one.

So my unscientific little sample suggests the remark might have been a tactical mistake.

Update Kevin Drum has some thoughts on the difference between a true wartime President like FDR, prepared to sacrifice other things he cares about to the national unity needed to win a war, and a President who just wants to use a war as an excuse for things he wants to do anyway.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com