Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Sticky Bush

I have a bush growing in my front yard. It's a damnable firethorn bush I hate and despise for it's name is as apt a name as ever invented. It's showy and tough, and, unfortunately, indestructable. I have tried to kill it in every conceivable way other than pouring kerosene over it and setting it afire and burning down my house, which it butts up against most obnoxiously. It appears to be innocuous, yet if you look at it closely, you will see hidden amongst it's showy red berries, long and dangerous thorns. Reach in and try to trim it back, or shape it into something acceptable, and you will be stuck with a thousand barbs which sting and burn like hell itself. There is only one way to deal with it, and that is with a powerful buzz-saw type trimmer.

I can't think of a more accurate analogy of another dangerous Bush.

However, this column at BBC News does a great job of describing Bush as the velcro President, although it contains a number of inaccuracies. Of course, it is from the BBC. Still, it states that Democrats have no plan, simply echoing the lies of the Republicans. It does not specify that the "robo-calls" are being made solely by Republicans. And, incredibly, it states that Congress has done Bush "no favors" in the last two years. Oh, well. They're Brits. What the hell do they know? Still, I like the "Velcro" President bit. Read it all:

Velcro president faces final test
By Matt Frei BBC News, Washington

If Ronald Reagan was the Teflon president, to whom nothing seemed to stick, W has become the Velcro president, to whom just about everything sticks. Call it the price of decisive leadership.

Only a day before the elections, George Bush was campaigning in Pensacola, Florida - the state his own brother has governed with resounding success - and the Republican hoping to succeed Jeb Bush did not turn up to appear with the president.

The only TV ads that feature the commander-in-chief have been those fielded by his opponents.

The only states where the president, who is a fabulous campaigner, has been allowed to exercise his sleeveless charm on the voters are those places where the audiences already love him, like Kansas.

Either the White House has been asked to stay away, or it has been trying to plug holes which have suddenly sprung up in places where they never thought they would have to spend time or money.

'Political capital

The president's second term was not supposed to be like this.
The day after his victory over John Kerry, with the president's Grand Old Party in firm control of Congress, an energetic George Bush announced he had "earned political capital and intended to spend it".

The president broke open his political piggy bank in an effort to overhaul social security, the state pensions system.

Reform may have been a good idea, even necessary, but the attempt to secure it was a disaster. Within months, the president's hard-to-understand plan was gathering dust on a shelf.

And greater setbacks and indignities loomed, costing whatever pennies of political capital Mr Bush had salvaged from the social security debacle.
Hurricane Katrina produced shocking levels of devastation that were surpassed only by mind-boggling incompetence from government at every level.

And then there was the corruption - financial and, apparently, sexual. The Republican enforcer in the House, Tom "the Hammer" DeLay, was forced out of office. At least three other Republican congressmen came under one investigation or another. One is already in jail and another seems headed that way.

Add Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who sent lascivious e-mails and instant messages to teenage Congressional pages, and you have the making of a Velcro presidency.

Crumbling keystone

The bad news has left the GOP in a bad mood - this campaign has been conspicuous for the amount of back-biting within Republican ranks.
Social conservatives are angry that the president hasn't done more to advance moral crusades like his proposed amendment to ban gay marriage.

Fiscal conservatives are livid about pork-barrel spending in Congress, $250m "bridges to nowhere" and a budget deficit of truly blushing proportions.

Neo-conservatives like Richard Perle and Ken Adelman are, it seems, now apoplectic about the way Iraq was mismanaged and how their dream of creating a democracy in the heart of the Middle East was botched by the administration's stinginess with troops and resources.

If the administration is an arch, Iraq has been the crumbling keystone.
The drip-drip of daily casualties, the spectre of civil war, the aching sense of helplessness has sapped the administration's confidence and the voters' goodwill.

The Democrats should have the most to gain, but they are caught in the headlights of Iraq, much like the rest of the nation.

Their biggest problem is that they don't have a plan.

The Republicans' biggest problem is that the Democrats may not need one - they have been taking the advice of the late brass-knuckled Republican strategist Lee Atwater: "If your opponent is busy shooting himself, don't get in the way!"

Although the entire country is electing representatives on Tuesday, and a third of states are choosing senators, control of the legislature will come down to about seven Senate races and perhaps 25 House seats out of 435.
Nationally, the race has become a battle between the Democrats' anger and the Republicans' organisation.


The latest polling data suggests that the gap between the two parties has been narrowing. After months of solid leads for the Democrats, as the clock ticks down, more Republicans may feel suitably energised, alarmed or guilty to get off their sofas and vote.

From automated "robo-calls" designed to annoy the other party's voters to negative television campaigning, this election has become a textbook case of scraping the bottom of the election ballot box.

Republicans privately admit they expect to lose the House, but they hope to hold the Senate. That could hamstring the president, leaving him a quacking lame duck.

But remember divided government is the norm in the US. In the last century the president has had an opposition Congress twice as often as a sympathetic one. That need not prevent a president from getting things done.

Bill Clinton passed his ground-breaking welfare reform two years after the shock of a Republican tsunami - he learnt how to work with Congress and that made him a better president.

Can George Bush, the conviction politician, become a Clintonian triangulator in his last two years of office?

Some doubt it. And yet it may be in his best interest. After all, the Republican Congress has not done George Bush any particular favours in the past two years.

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