Mudcat Café message #1592609 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1592609
Posted By: Amos
28-Oct-05 - 04:23 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From, in an article entitled "How Low Can Bush Go?"

How low can Bush go?
The president's retreat on Miers leaves him and his party in a lose-lose situation.

by Helen Searls

"...The failure of the Miers nomination came in the middle of what the New York Times described as Bush's worst ever political week. Bush's stock is already very low; he has never recovered from the slump he faced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina at the start of September. The grim reality of his failures in Iraq was brought home clearly this week when the death toll of US soldiers in the conflict reached the 2000 mark. With news bulletins peppered with heart-wrenching stories of loss, coupled with grief-stricken mothers questioning their sons' sacrifices, nobody seems to be prepared to give a ringing endorsement of the president's foreign policies.

Nor is the domestic arena any refuge. The White House and the Republican Party are awash with scandal. Former house lead Tom Delay has been indicted by a Texas grand jury for the fraudulent use of party funds. Senate leader Bill Frist is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Washington is awash with speculation about impending indictments within the White House. Two leading White House players, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby, are awaiting the pronouncements of the special prosecutor over allegations of wrongdoing concerning their involvement in leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent and the subsequent cover-up.

It is against this backdrop that Bush withdrew the Miers nomination. To back off from a fight, when things are going so badly, just confirms the view that the president and his allies have lost their way.

One need only consider future nominations to the court to see what difficulties have been created. Whomever Bush nominates next, the nomination will have the feeling of being provisional rather than absolute. If a determined section of the Republican Party can derail one nomination that did not fit their plans, what is to stop them or others from doing the same next time?

Indeed, it is difficult to see whom the president could nominate next without coming out weakened and damaged. If he nominates another candidate like Miers, or even a more moderate candidate, he runs the risk that the candidate will be derailed again by sections of his own party. But if he picks a more openly conservative candidate with a clearer ideological agenda, he looks like he is being dictated to by the religious right. Moreover, moderate Republicans may find it hard to vote for such a nominee. The fight that this would provoke might do real damage to the future election chances of the Republican Party.

Despite all the noise made by the conservative right, absolutist conservative policies like banning abortion do not have majority support among the electorate. While anti-abortion politics galvanise religious conservatives, such policies are not election winners at the polls.

Bush has always understood this. When anti-abortionists have pressed him to promise to appoint judges to overturn Roe v Wade (the ruling that safeguards women's right to abortion), Bush has said he thought the country was not ready to take such a step. Throughout his presidency he has been careful to keep the issue on the back burner. While he signed the ban on the so called 'partial birth abortion' procedure - a measure that was not so controversial - he has been careful to remain quiet on the broader issue of outlawing abortion.

The president and the Republicans may now be so directionless and consumed with their own internal difficulties that they no longer recognise how fragile is their own political cohesion. With nothing on the political horizon to galvanise the party, a bitter fight over conservative values in general and abortion in particular is the last thing that either the president or his party needs. ..."