Saturday, September 24, 2005


What's Going On?

I asked the question, given recent very different reactions to the two most recent presidents at respective VIP forums: "Is something going on?"

My omnipresent doppleganger/best pal/personal Jiminey Cricket, ERA, quickly answered with some rather powerful observations (keep in mind that he has been a life-long Republican and still does considerable work for the Party):
Of course there is something going on!!!!!!!! There is a void in political leadership!! Bush is in the 5th year and there is no successor in sight. Who gives a crap about what he says? His agenda is DOA at the doorstep of a REPUBLICAN Congress!! The Vice President clearly has no additional agenda he would like to push. (Any other Vice President in the last 50 years would be pushing to be leading the Gulf clean-up) We don't even get Dick. The Republican Leader in the Senate has his own agenda. About 5 to 6 Republican Senators and Governors have their own agendas for '08. Every Republican (in the House, Senate or states) up for election next year has their own agenda.

The old saying goes, "If you have more than one quarterback (agenda), you have NONE."

Nature abhors a vacuum. It will find a way to be filled. The nation needs someONE to appear Presidential. Enter Bill Clinton. Who still has the best political instincts in this nation? Bill Clinton. Who still has the best political sense of timing? Bill Clinton. The man is still the master. He laid low in Bush's first term knowing second terms are a bitch. Clinton now is reclaiming his mantle of Leader. He has done his self-imposed time in the Wilderness and now he is BACK and ready to be the Party. Hell, if Richard Nixon could rehabilitate himself back to Party Elder, Bill Clinton is going to be a quasi-President for Life. American needs a leader -- and he is just what centeral casting is asking for.
ERA obviously knows how to get my attention. He knew only too well that the "We don't even get Dick" line was obviously catnip for an evil punster like myself. Of course, his insights are even more trenchant than he may know. When he says, "The Republican Leader in the Senate has his own agenda," he's referring to Bill Frist's much-discussed presidential plans. However, it seems clear that Frist's most immediate concerns might be a bit more, ahem, parochial.

However, ERA raises an interesting point: Has Bush become a lame-duck faster than any second-term president in history (excepting Nixon, perhaps)? Eight months into the second term? Reagan didn't stumble until the '86 midterms and Iran-Contra. The Monica scandal didn't break out into January '98 (one year into Clinton's second term).

ERA responds:

Normally, a President is still useful to his Party into their 2nd mid-term. Normally, a Vice-President and his staff are trying to collect chits and eyeing awhat they can do for incumbents and candidates. Normally, there is tons of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" going on. Normally, there is still a sense of fear or at a minium respect accorded a President until the mid-term. That's not the case with this Adminstration. Nobody fears (we won't get into the word respect) this Adminstration. This Adminstration died with the Transportation Bill. Congress [committed certain unprintable scatalogical acts upon] this Adminstration...and smiled while doing it. Republicans blatantly dared Bush to veto it and HE BLINKED. They know that he needs them FAR FAR FAR more than they need him.

What can Bush or Cheney do that will win the respect or fear of Congressional Republicans back? He has got to veto something BIG or open that Rolodex for a fundraising tour for candidates the likes that has never been seen. But does he have the cojones to do either? If his boy, Tom DeLay, says they have cut all the fat there is, what can Bush cut? He has had 5years to find some fat and found NONE. Can
Bush be seen fundraising for candidates . . . being political when we are all doing this Post Katrina "we are all working together" Kumbayah crap. Did you notice [
Tuesday] that Arnold Schwarzenegger told Bush it might be a good idea to postpone a scheduled fundraiser for October? Even Arnold who could use some good press, doesn't need the President right now.

Instead Bush will probably nominate someone so unbelievably conservative to the Supreme Court in a desperate attempt to salvage his base. It will probably backfire once the nomination gets to an Arlen Specter-led Judicary Committee, but they may bethat desperate. Desperate enough to kowtow to the anti-immigrant crowd and that would be tragic.
The Washington Post has an overview on this shaky period in the Bush presidency with more than a few outside observers providing comments that have an awkward "post-mortem" feel.

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