providence, even when they are far from our understanding. Events aren’t moved by
blind change and chance. Behind all of life and all of history there is a dedication and
purpose set by the hand of a just and faithful God, and that hope will never be shaken”
(quoted in Loven 2003, A20).26 The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward deemed that
Bush sees his job and responsibility as president as driven by a “faith in his instincts”
(Woodward 2002, 342). The president felt that the United States needed a plan, a vision,
to educate the American people to be prepared for another attack (Woodward 2002, 41).27
“The vision thing matters,” Bush noted (quoted in Woodward 2002, 342).28 Such talk led
Thomas Mann, presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution, to describe Bush’s
higher calling as “almost a sense of providential calling,” which affords him “great
confidence in what [he’s] doing, a righteousness” (quoted in Kornblut 2003, 16).
Both the cowboy and Bush believe that morality could not be compromised.
While the war on terrorism had its practical explanations, the Bush Doctrine stresses its
moral dimensions as well (Woodward 2002, 131). Bush reaffirmed this idea in his State
of the Union speech. “The liberty we prize is not America’s gift of the world, it is God’s
26 This led religion professor Martin E. Marty to write in the March 10, 2003 issue of Newsweek. “The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will” (quoted in Barnes 2003, God and Man in the Oval Office).
27 In 1987, Newsweek ran a cover story about then vice president George H. W. Bush under the headline “Bush Battles the Wimp Factor.” The Boston Globe’s Anne E. Kornblut wrote that the criticism deeply stung the elder Bush, who has been known to mention it to Newsweek staffers in the years since, but it also taught his son a lesson. Current advisors to George W. Bush have carefully studied his father’s political playbook, and more or less done the opposite. No one can accuse this President Bush of being a wimp - or of lacking the ‘vision thing,’ the other charge that dogged his father (Kornblut 2003, 16).
28 Quote taken from Woodward’s Bush at War (2002). The information, including quotes, obtained from Bush at War include contemporaneous notes taken during more than 50 National Security Council and other meetings where the most important decisions were discussed and made. Many direct quotations of the president and the war cabinet members come from these notes. Other personal notes, memos, calendars, written internal chronologies, transcripts and other documents also were the basis for direct quotation and other parts of Bush at War (Woodward 2002, xi).