The Blog

Optimism Rediscovered

From the April 4, 2003 London Times: Suddenly, things don't look so grim.

10:25 AM, Apr 6, 2003 • By DAVID BROOKS
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The Democrats, meanwhile, are as divided as any U.S. party has been since Vietnam. Many Democrats support the war, while criticizing Bush's diplomatic tactics. This group includes most of the Clinton foreign policy team and liberals such as Richard Gephardt. But a hard core within the party never did, and never will, support the effort. And this group is getting more alienated, insular and vituperative each day.

It should be emphasized that these mood swings are occurring at the elite level. Out in l'Amerique profonde there is amazing stability. Eight-five per cent tell pollsters the war is going very or moderately well, and this figure has barely wiggled in the past two weeks. Polls show a willingness to absorb casualties.

In this as in so many ways, President Bush reflects the country better than the beltway. He is not the sort of person who wakes up wondering what the columnists think. He has the advantage of having a mind that does not flit about much. Aides say he is dismissive of the chorus of instant evaluators, and has grown imperious towards those who bring that mentality into the White House. The media mood ebbs and flows, but persistence shapes U.S. policy.

David Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.