Right Thinking From The Left Coast
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time. - Vince Lombardi

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Spare Change

I’ve said a hundred times recently that President Bush took the political capital he had rightly earned with his reelection and has totally pissed it away.  And article at MSNBC makes the same point.

Bush has had a hard time persuading Congress to go along with his agenda, in part because surveys show that much of the public has soured on him and his priorities. In the most recent Washington Post poll, taken last month, 47 percent of Americans approved of Bush’s performance, tying the lowest marks he ever received in that survey, back in mid-2004, when Democrats were airing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of campaign attack ads.

Similarly, just 31 percent approved of his handling of Social Security, an all-time low in the Post poll, while only 40 percent gave him good marks for his stewardship of the economy and 42 percent for his management of Iraq, both ratings close to the lowest ever recorded in those areas. Other surveys have recorded similar findings, with Bush’s approval rating as low as 43 percent.

Such weakness has unleashed the first mutterings of those dreaded second-term words, “lame duck,” however premature it might be with 3 1/2 years left in his tenure. “The Democrats are doing everything they can to make this president a lame duck,” Republican consultant Ed Rollins complained on Fox News on Friday. William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, wrote recently about “the impression — and the reality — of disarray” in urging Bush to wage a strong fight for the nomination of John R. Bolton as U.N. ambassador.

“He’s not a lame duck yet, but there are rumblings,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian. Dallek said Bush’s recent travails remind him of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who overreached in his second term by trying to pack the Supreme Court, a move that backfired. “Second terms are treacherous, and presidents enter into a minefield where they really must shepherd their credibility and political capital,” he said.

While Bush undoubtedly had a solid win, he charged forward as if he had an unquestioned mandate from the people, which he did not.  The Schiavo case hurt him badly, and he’s done a poor job pushing his Social Security reform message.  He can still come back, but it’s going to take some shrewd politicking on his part.

Posted by Lee on 05/31/05 at 03:17 PM in Politics • Permalink


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