Can a president fight a war without a base?

Peggy Noonan, in today’s WSJ:

That said, it appears we’re seeing some things we’ve not seen before. The president of the United States gave a war speech, and the next day the nation didn’t seem to rally around him. This is not the way it’s gone in the past. Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush—when they addressed the nation about the wars they led, they received immediate support.

This is also the first time we’ve seen an American president declaring, or rather redeclaring, a war without a political base. Again, LBJ, Nixon, George W. Bush—they always had a base that would support them, on which they could rely and from which they could maneuver. But Mr. Obama’s base is not with him on this decision.

Can a president fight a war without a base? Will the American people, on this issue, decide to become his base? In the end what they decide will likely determine the ultimate outcome in Afghanistan.

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