I wouldn’t want to play chess with him, either.

I’ve taken a quick look at various blogs and the consensus seems to be that while President Bush did not do badly in the debates, he didn’t take John Kerry to task for one of any 10 or 70 things – that he did not take advantage of the opportunities to attack.

President Bush is not an attacker. He never has been. He campaigns the way he campaigns. One of the reasons he routinely confounds his opponents is because they do not think as he thinks, he does not operate as they do. They can project their own ‘strategeries’ (gosh, I like that word) on to him all they want and they will never succeed in understanding exactly how he will strike, because he doesn’t strike. He plays cards, and he plays them very close to the vest.

Coming from the left, as I have, I’ve watched both sides wring their hands about Bush. The left doesn’t understand how they can keep losing to him and the right doesn’t understand how he keeps winning, considering his refusal to attack. His pattern is this:

- Disengage (which drives everyone nuts)

- allow the left to get supremely shrill and overconfident

- play a card no one knew he had

He does it all the time. He’s patient and he has a good poker face. His ego does not mind being ‘misunderestimated’.

So while everyone is wondering why President Bush didn’t “press” Kerry in the debates, I’m wondering what he’s got in his hand.

He’s not an attack dog. Never has been. He runs by his own lights, and they are lights that are perhaps energized by his faith, which doesn’t allow ‘attacks’.

Everything is fluid. Much is in motion. Stay tuned. Anyone who thinks George W. Bush is ‘down’ is really, really not paying attention.

About Elizabeth Scalia

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