Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Voters throw Bush a lifeline, he may make an anchor

Regular readers of this blog may be shocked at the opinion I am about to give, but I'm just telling it like I see it here.

The nation may have just voted to toss this President a lifeline on his legacy. Consider the following. Through four years of a Republican controlled Senate and 6 years of House control, the Bush administration had managed to govern in a singularly hideous manner. Getting everything he wanted (with few exceptions) led to approval ratings hovering around 40%, quagmire in Iraq, and a deeply divided nation. Is there anyone who believes that staying the course after this election would have led to an improvement in this situation? Two more years of rubberstamp, Iraqi quagmire partisanship would have spelled doom to Bush's legacy.

Do not misunderstand me. I believe there are several good reasons this President ought to be impeached. The example of how America treats leaders who intentionally break the law, lie us to war, and condone the torture of adversaries should be harsh. I welcome the airing out of all this business and will never give an inch in my determination of the criminality that has led this nation to this point in history.

BUT... (and you had to know that was coming) regarding governing going forward, beyond the question of the hearings and possible impeachment, I am convinced that Bush owes the voters a hearty thank you. He now has the crutch to get us out of Iraq. He now must stop the swaggering bluster that has so grated our allies and his political opposition. He must govern to the center now or be relegated to defiantly vetoing Democratic measures during two years of being a lame duck. He must now come to understand that he is not the infallible servant of God in Washington and stop acting like he is. There is a shift in the balance of power and to be relevant he must stop being the Bush we have all come to know and loathe. In response to this election he must reinvent himself and this can only be good for him. The Rumsfeld resignation was the first sign of this, and that decision was manifestly good for the country.

Of course he may decide to finish his term kicking and screaming to the end. Kos readers have seen the stories passed along about how administration insiders were promising Armageddon if Dems took control and started handing out subpoenas. I contend that if the White House chooses this path that they will make a grave error in judgement. They will further cement the perception this administration only considers politics and not national interests in the policies they pursue. The facts will still come out, and Democrats will look like the champions of open Government and oversight. The rubberstamp congress is gone, and one of the reasons they were swept from power is because they were rubberstamps. It would behoove the President to get with the program on this or watch his legacy as the worst President ever be set in stone.

If the value in tossing Bush a lifeline is not spending another $150,000,000,000 in Iraq (money that will end up as debt service), I can live with it. Let him have the minor uptick in his legacy.
Good post. Fresh perspective. Nice.

I still loathe the man, tho.
as much as i would like to think that bush, after being hammered to a pulp, is going to turn reasonable and take advantage of the huge losses to move to the center, i think it's highly unlikely that will happen... as a matter of fact, i think the worst is yet to come...

glenn greenwald made a prediction yesterday, prior to bush's press conference, that turned out to be precisely and unequivocally correct...
The President is going to include all sorts of flowery odes to the beauty of bipartisanship in his upcoming speech this afternoon -- much to the inevitable delight of the wise Washington pundit class, which will excitedly take him at his word and demand that Democrats "work with" the President rather than oppose and investigate him.

But what the Bush administration really means by "bipartisanship" -- as they are already making quite clear -- is that the Democrats in Congress do nothing to stand in their way and, most especially, that Democrats recognize that there will be no looking into what the Leader has done or subjecting his Decisions to any scrutiny.
i watched the whole thing... bush did a reasonably good job of tossing out the bait... now we get to see who swallowed it... i believe, along with glenn, that what's coming is NOT going to be pretty...
To this administration, "witch hunts" means: refusing to allow them to rule in total secrecy and, instead, trying to find out what has really been going on in our Government.

This is a confrontation which the country desperately needs. The anonymous boasting to Time that "the executive usually wins those battles" and that they "think [they'll] consolidate [their] gains" is pure bravado that they don't believe. They just lost exactly that type of battle when the Supreme Court in Hamdan all but ruled that they were war criminals who had no right to act -- even with regard to how they detain and interrogate suspected terrorists -- in contravention of the Congress.

It is vital to remember that we already have a constitutional crisis in our government. The choice is not whether to create one (since it already exists), but whether to confront and battle it, or acquiesce to it (as the Republican Congress has done). While it is nice that Democrats have taken over the Congress, it is vital to remember that we have a President who has repeatedly made clear that Congress is irrelevant in our system of government and cannot limit the President in any way. Re-establishing the rule of law -- and the principle that the President is not above it -- is still the most compelling priority for our country.
take glenn at his word... the real ugliness is coming down the pike, at autobahn speed...
Unfortunately I agree with Prof on this. The news of this morning tends to confirm this. The President intends to push the confirmation of Bolton to the U.N. during the lame duck session of the current congress. If they had any intention of working across party lines they would leave the very partisan type issues behind rather than rubbing the Dems nose in their minority status one last time.
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