So it is with cautious consideration that I pass on this interesting bit of psychohistory, John Dean channeling James Dave Barber and Richard Neustadt (via, who also points to this)
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.Dean goes on to argue that the Administration has an "October Surprise" planned to redeem the mid-term elections for Republicans, which isn't terribly original (of them, or of him) but his thoughts on the matter are interesting.
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.
Bush is following the classic mistaken pattern of active/negative presidents ["who actively pursued the job but had negative feelings about it"]: As Barber explained, they issue order after order, without public support, until they eventually dissipate the real powers they have -- until "nothing [is] left but the shell of the office." Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon all followed this pattern.
Active/negative presidents are risk-takers. (Consider the colossal risk Bush took with the Iraq invasion). And once they have taken a position, they lock on to failed courses of action and insist on rigidly holding steady, even when new facts indicate that flexibility is required.