Skip to comments.Bush Goes Back to the Basics
Posted on 12/07/2006 5:28:53 AM PST by Small-L
President Bush has a new mandate: Its back to the basics.
Over the next two years Bush will focus on winning back Republicans and Congress by returning to basic Republican principles, Karl Rove is telling White House allies.
Bushs political strategist is saying that as part of that process, the party must reevaluate itself.
Down to Business
We need better candidates, stronger organization, and a sharper, clearer message, Rove said in a post-election debriefing. We need to have the courage to say to members who have misbehaved or have overstayed their welcome that it is time to consider retirement.
At the same time, Rove has stated flatly that Bush does not want to alienate the GOP. One of Bushs goals has always been to build the party, and he wants to recapture the majority in Congress as part of his legacy, Rove is saying. Bush, Vice President Cheney, and first lady Laura Bush are committed to helping raise money toward that end.
Rove provided plenty of details on Bushs agenda: The economy and Iraq will dominate the agenda until the end of Bushs presidency. Given the new circumstances in Congress, achieving results in those and other areas requires good relations with Congress. Bush is committed to reaching out to members of both sides of the aisle. He wants to repair relations and build alliances.
In adhering to basic Republican principles, Bush will not yield on spending issues. More than ever, the White House must reel in Republicans and restrain Democrats when it comes to spending. That means forming majorities that will sustain a veto if required.
As outlined in a Nov. 8 NewsMax story, Bush Policies Will Not Change, Bush will not yield on any effort to emasculate tools like the Patriot Act or National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts needed by the FBI and CIA to protect the country from terrorist attacks. While the White House knows Democrats will be launching investigations, a mechanism has been set up to deal with them without allowing staff to become consumed by these events.
One way or another, the situation in Iraq has to improve in the next six to 12 months. In that regard, Bush hopes Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki will be able to produce the results he has promised. Malaki has said he believes Iraqi forces will be able to take full control of security by June of next year.
Steadfast and True
Rove is saying the White House must avoid triangulation, a term used by political guru Dick Morris to describe the strategy Morris advocated when he was an aide to President Clinton. As generally understood, Morris approach, which Clinton adopted in getting re-elected in 1996, meant appearing to favor policies that appeal to the right and the left to win as many votes as possible. Instead, Rove is saying the party must operate on principle and remain true to its beliefs.
While Bush will tilt more to the right, he will not abandon key programs that illustrate his compassionate conservative approach, a way of helping people by developing government programs and policies that allow them help themselves. Under this approach, Bush does not see government as an enemy, as traditional conservatives do.
He also does not believe the solution to problems is to throw money at programs that do not achieve results. Instead, Bushs philosophy has favored adjusting existing programs, discarding cumbersome procedures, energizing bureaucrats, or supporting the efforts of faith-based and other volunteer groups to achieve results while saving taxpayers money. Reducing taxes, in turn, is yet another way to help people help themselves.
The No Child Left Behind Act, which seeks to reintroduce phonics, or sounding out letters to reading instruction, is the best example of Bushs approach. As described in an Oct. 3 NewsMax story, Margaret Spellings: Media Star, Bushs strategy is to get kids to read so they will not wind up in prison, on drugs, or on welfare.
While federal education spending has more than doubled under Bush, according to Bushs vision, the investment will be worth it because enabling kids to read will strengthen the country and the economy in the long run, not to mention garnering votes.
Programs like No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug benefit use conservative means to achieve liberal ends. Rove told me for my book A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush.
Conservative Means for Health Care
In the case of the Medicare drug benefit, The liberal end is quality health care for seniors, Rove said. The conservative means were going to use is the market, choice, innovation, and empowerment of the individual and incentives for savings and for taking personal responsibility to try to achieve it.
Now Rove is saying the emphasis will be on holding the line on spending. In talking to Republican strategists, Rove has been saying that Bush will be advancing an aggressive policy agenda that will start to become public in the weeks ahead and will be highlighted in his State of the Union address.
Efforts to restrict illegal immigration and re-authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act will be the top priorities.
Social Security Reform
Bush will also be pushing Social Security reform but will not yield when it comes to raising taxes to fund Social Security. He also will not yield on his proposal to offer personal accounts, which was always envisioned as voluntary.
In developing these proposals, Bush will work with the Republican leadership. He recognizes that the White House will not be successful with a go it alone strategy, Rove is saying.
Almost from the beginning of the administration, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been critical of Bush for not seeming to recognize that fact. Longtime Washington Republicans complained the White House made no effort to reach out to them.
White House aides would say Bush operates like the Harvard Business School graduate he is and is simply focused on achieving results. Rove would point out that he maintains an intricate system for obtaining feedback from political leaders throughout the country, from governors to members of local school boards.
But Margaret Spellings, when she was White House domestic policy advisor, told me, My perception is a lot of those people want to say, I was at the White House this morning. They get to trade on that and have cachet. Were not here to puff up the reputations of people who want to trade on their access.
Spellings has gone on to take an inclusive approach as Education secretary, and Rove is now asking insiders to let him know of members of Congress who need extra love and attention from the White House. In the same vein, since August, the White House has opened up more to the media.
As Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor in charge of communications, told me long before the more open policy took effect, Bush wants results. Too much contact with the media can lead to leaks as occurred during his fathers presidency and can undercut the presidents efforts by forcing his hand and allowing aides to push their own agendas in the press.
Laying the Groundwork for Greater Appeal
As Bushs poll numbers began to drop, he and his advisors began to recognize that, while his press policy was based on high-minded principles, it simply will not wash in this media-driven age. Without a higher approval level, Bush was in danger of losing his effectiveness.
Reporters are human, and even if they are not pushing a liberal agenda, they will take it out on Bush if the White House does not return their calls and does not feed them tidbits for their stories. Sen. John McCain, in contrast, has enjoyed good press because he gives the press access.
As with the new policy agenda recently outlined to insiders by Karl Rove, Bush has reversed course on his press policy, the subject of an Aug. 17 NewsMax story, New White House PR Pro: Who is Kevin Sullivan?
They should have gotten tough with the MEDIA and the DEMOCRATS!! Bush is a Christian and turned the other cheeck ALWAYS......the media needed to be PROSECUTED for alll the leaks and so did the Dems!
Individually with humility, the effective weapons fielded in the future will be prayer.
Or not. Lines are already drawn.
Yeah. Right. THE MEDIA is the reason Bush has trashed every conservative principle on the books.
Totally agree. The elected republicans turned their backs on republican voters...didn't listen and took conservatives for granted. IMHO they still have learned a thing from the last election. Good solid conservatives stayed home.
Let's wait and see if Bush can find his veto pen. Heck, even pocket vetos would do.
President Bush has done all that he could in the fight against "Islamofascists". He had to fight them as well as the dems and the press. He should be remembered as a great President. I will remember him as such.
He might be a Christian but he is also a flamming liberal of the Rockefeller sort.
Open your eyes. We were had by "W". His friends are in charge of congress and he can now govern as he wants to, from the left.
Bush never had an appropriate exit strategy (like Bush Sr) which is the first rule of war and now we're paying-not only financially but through policies and elections. Republicans should be leading the charge against Bush's failures and going back to sound fiscal government. Republicans have no one to blame but themselves if they follow Bush and Hillary ends up in the White House.
Well that's it the amnesty bill is done for. Now you can post the, "Ahahahahaha", again.
Apparently we now need a massive federal bureaucracy funded by billions of taxpayer dollars to teach phonics. All so "kids" don't wind up as failures or in jail. When I learned to read (not exactly eons ago) all it took was one teacher, a workbook, and a few teaching aids.
This illustrates W.'s fatal flaw: He sees a problem and immediately posits a big government program as the only solution. A true conservative ( one without "compassion," I guess) would view government as the last possible solution, if at all.
Oh pleeeeze. Just resign Karl. After 6 years of Bush spending like a drunken Democrat, I think it's a little late.
Secure the border !!! The amnesty plan isn't going to help any.
Do you have another pair of those rose-colored glasses?
Reading scores in this nation are abysmal. Much of this is due to the crummy "sight reading" method and a lack of phonics. I think we can all agree that it is in the best interest of this country to have a literate populace.
Fifty years ago school boards looked at curricula and set goals. Local control worked well, and I attended a school that, while overcrowded due to the baby boom, had a very advanced and strict set of expectations. I learned phonics, history, handwriting, spelling, arithmetic, etc. with no time wasted on self-esteem, social justice, and diversity education.
Today, however, local schools districts are up against the NEA and leftist schools of education. Reading instruction is ineffective, and any attempt to go back to phonics is shouted down by the NEA union representatives and university education "experts."
The standards set in the No Child Left Behind Act are federal standards which districts must meet in order to get federal money. It's sort of a carrot and stick approach. Those standards are set, and no matter how much the nEA gripes, school boards now have ammunition to fight the union's no-teaching policy.
Whether this will work or not is something we will have to wait and see.
However, given that abolishing the Department of Education is almost an impossibility since the public equates that action with being against education, it seems to me that getting the department to actually DO something and that there is now a way to fight the NEA, it isn't necessarily such a bad thing.
I would prefer that education be handled the way it was in my childhood, but leftists have taken control of the education establishment, and until the NEA is disbanded and universities throw the communists out of their education departments, this is probably the only way to counter the failing achievement of the nation's students.
I might also add that inviting muslims to the WH and observing Ramadon appeared as a joke while he was fighting ISLAMOFASCITS.
Also, taking our bordor security as another joke doesn't show much seriousness on the above-mentioned "fight". I wonder how many terrorists have already walked in from Mex.?, not to even mention gang members, unknown diseases, drug dealers, rapists, murders,......
Bushs philosophy has favored .... energizing bureaucrats...
Huh, could've fooled me - I thought public stonings were illegal?
(the ONLY way to energize a bureaucrat is to tell them one of their union mandated coffee breaks was abolished)
Screw you, Karl... you had your chance.
I'll go even further -- it's solely due to Rove that Dubya's poll numbers tanked. It is HE who came up with the seditious idea of pandering to the fricking illegals for the 'Hispanic' vote. It is ROVE who gave the House and the Senate to the RATS.
He should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail. And it would have been better if he WAS indicted.
BTW, what happened to the school vouchers that Bush and his crowd campaigned on?
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