Mudcat Café message #1495963 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1495963
Posted By: freda underhill
30-May-05 - 06:12 AM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Second-term slump
Bush runs into trouble with Congress; maybe he should try playing nice;May 30, 2005; 40 minutes ago

President George W. Bush has hit a rough patch on Capitol Hill. In rapid-fire developments last week, a number of congressional Republicans broke ranks and sided with Democrats, bucking the Republican president on the filibuster in the Senate and stem cell research in the House. So, has Bush contracted a case of second-termitis, that inevitable slide into irrelevance that afflicts presidents as their time in the White House grows short? Well, no. Bush's days aren't that numbered. Not yet. But he is bumping up against the boundaries of the limited mandate voters gave him in November. There's a lesson there that Bush should heed.

Muscling Congress isn't working so well anymore. Neither is rabid partisanship. Emboldened centrist lawmakers are gaining clout. It's time for Bush to consider consulting, cajoling and compromising as better ways to get things done. Clearly, a new approach is called for, given that he hit the rocks twice last week.

On Monday, seven Republican senators joined with seven of their Democratic colleagues in a deal that saved the filibuster as a weapon for the minority party in judicial confirmation fights. Bush wanted nothing less than a guaranteed up-or-down vote for every one of his nominees. One day later, scores of House Republicans voted with Democrats to relax Bush's funding restrictions on stem cell research. And they did it despite Bush's veto threat.

Meanwhile, Bush's signature domestic priority, carving private investment accounts out of Social Security, is essentially dead in the water. Bush hasn't abandoned it yet, but the proposal is clearly going nowhere. What's a president with a full plate of issues to do?

Bush should move away from rote, free-market ideology and search instead for a pragmatic fix for Social Security. He should pay attention, rather than just lip service, to reducing the federal budget deficit. He should abandon the crusade to strip government of revenue by making costly tax cuts permanent. And he should tap judicial nominees who, while they may be conservative, are within the broad ideological mainstream of national legal thought.

That's not a formula for the partisan, conservative, total domination that the White House seems to relish. But it is a formula for making real progress on a number of fronts important to the American people.