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12/22/2004 04:05:00 AM | Nikhil

Bush's Weaknesses
Two bloggers comment on GW's weaknesses (and those of the Republican Party) as the year comes to a close. A post on Andrew Sullivan suggests that Americans aren't actually conservative:
This is why conservative politicians are often forced to resort to deception to advance conservative policy proposals. Take tax cuts, the heart and soul of President Bush’s meager domestic policy. When Bush first came to office, tax cuts were not a particularly high priority for the public. Nevertheless, Bush pressed ahead, and the size and distribution of the tax cuts he proposed were, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have argued, “radically at odds with majority views.” “Crafted language” does the work that ought to be done by argument and persuasion.
Meanwhile, Kos writes that Bush's latest approval numbers are historically very low for a newly reelected President. As Kos argues, what's worrying about the situation is that the Democrats were unable to take advantage of any of this dissatisfaction. In the post quoted above, Sullivan goes on to worry that Republicans are "over-reaching" and that many in the American public may not fully like what they see in the next four years. Indeed, yesterday's Washington Post gives a similar impression with their description of the incoming Congress and how they may behave with a lame-duck President:

Bush will face a new, and in some ways less predictable, congressional environment in his second term. There will be 55 Republican senators, four more than during most of the first term, which should strengthen Bush's hand. But the new crop includes a few such as former representative Tom Coburn (Okla.) who are more conservative than Bush and have reputations for independence.

There will be 232 House Republicans, three more than this term. But House Republicans such as DeLay are telling colleagues that they, too, have accumulated considerable political capital by holding the House majority for a decade and picking up seats in back-to-back elections. The bigger a party's majority, often the harder it is to impose party discipline, several GOP observers said.

At a recent GOP leadership retreat, two participants said DeLay appeared to irritate White House political chief Karl Rove by signaling a more aggressive role in the new Congress.

As much as I'd like to be encouraged, none of this negates last month's election results and the fact that Democrats have ceded a great deal of ground on national security issues which, with the help of fundamentalists everywhere, seem destined to remain a central issue for the next few years.




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