Ex-Counsel to President Nixon and lifelong enemy of G. Gordon Liddy, John Dean predicts a dark future in Bush's hands. Referring to a Presidential Character Analysis that paints Bush as an "active/negative" president in line with Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Dean sees Bush taking some very risky moves in order to maintain Republican control of Congress and salvage his own legacy.
Referring to the presidential personality type analysis developed by political scientist James Dave Barber, Dean sees Bush as a someone who sought out the job but is emotionally drained from it and dislikes the actual tasks and responsibilities that follow. Like Richard Nixon, he resents anyone questioning his authority, and that, says Dean, may be the crux of his problem as a leader.
Bush has never understood what presidential scholar Richard Neustadt discovered many years ago: In a democracy, the only real power the presidency commands is the power to persuade. Presidents have their bully pulpit, and the full attention of the news media, 24/7. In addition, they are given the benefit of the doubt when they go to the American people to ask for their support. But as effective as this power can be, it can be equally devastating when it languishes unused - or when a president pretends not to need to use it, as Bush has done.
Apparently, Bush does not realize that to lead he must continually renew his approval with the public. He is not, as he thinks, the decider. The public is the decider.
Historically, things don't get better for "active/negative" presidents either. They tend to stay the course, regardless of outcome lest their initial decisions be uncovered as incorrect. Over time, this erodes the president's ability to lead since his integrity is in tatters and public support depleted.
But never one to sit on his hands as his ships sink, Dean says Bush may take some bold moves in misguided attempts to save his presidency. There is, afterall, some historical evidence in the past six years to support that theory and they don't look good.
He took the risk that he could capture Osama bin Laden with a small group of CIA operatives and U.S. Army Special forces - and he failed. He took the risk that he could invade Iraq and control the country with fewer troops and less planning than the generals and State Department told him would be possible - and he failed. He took the risk that he could ignore the criminal laws prohibiting torture and the warrantless wiretapping of Americans without being caught - he failed. And he's taken the risk that he can cut the taxes for the rich and run up huge financial deficits without hurting the economy. This, too, will fail, though the consequences will likely fall on future presidents and generations who must repay Bush's debts.
And so, Dean says we can pretty much take an October Surprise to the bank. He gives a few ideas of what BushCo. may come up with. None are very appealing.