Ron Fournier Salutes Obama’s Leadership, Sort Of

January 8, 2014 2:31 p.m.

Ron Fournier has doled out some leadership points to President Barack Obama, sort of.

The National Journal columnist, famed for constantly questioning the President’s leadership chops, wrote an article Wednesday “in defense of” Obama after a book detailed his skepticism of further involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

“As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” writes former defense secretary Bob Gates about a key 2011 meeting on Afghan policy.

“All too early in the [Obama] administration suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials—including the president and vice president—became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander in chief and his military leaders,” he adds.

Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Gates further complains about “aggressive, suspicious, and sometimes condescending and insulting questioning of our military leaders.”

Fournier applauded Obama, contrasting his approach with that of the George W. Bush administration.

“To that I say, bravo,” he wrote. “While excerpts of Gates’s books are being interpreted as embarrassing for Obama, I’m looking forward to reading the memoir in full—and expect to come away more impressed with the president than his Defense chief.”

“A lack of skepticism, curiosity, and reflection sunk Bush,” he added later. “Further back, who knows how many lives would have been saved during the Vietnam War had President Johnson acted on his private doubts, most of which didn’t come to light until after he left office.”

Latest Livewire
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: