Skip to comments.***George W. Bush: Master Politician and Great American***
Posted on 03/28/2002 2:52:13 AM PST by The Wizard
It was so clean it was un-noticed by his enemies, and decried by his supporters, but GWB has just demonstrated a political ability that no-one on the left, and very few on the right ever saw.....
I always refer to the old Zorro scene with Basil Rathbone as the villian slicing a candle to show Tyrone Power how deft he is with a sword, because when "Zorro" does it the candle doesn't move....(The point is then shown that Tyrone's cut was SOOOOO smooth he sliced the candle so well he cut it without moving it....a truly great scene)
The First Lady did the same thing to Algore with her "...My husband sleeps with a teacher EVERY night..." comment that was so smooth a cut most of the media hasn't picked up the wound even today....
Well good Freeper Friends, that's what Old George did to the left with Johnny McCain's unconstitutional CFR Bill....
He fooled them into passing a billl that allowed more hard money, (something they would never ever allowed because it has NEVER, EVER been raised by anyone like our Commander and Chief) allowing them to include provisions that they thought would give them the edge, while knowing that others would attack and have thrown out all the offending provisions before they ever took effect, but the severably would allow the things not challanged to stand: Outcome
hard money limits have been raised and will stay raised, and the bad parts will be strck down, and we can now see that McCain was always working with GWB and the poor dems never knew it.....
What a political play.......cut to the bone and not even seeing it til after surgery is complete......
Political observers often muse over the apparent incongruence of Bush's sustained popularity even in the face of setbacks -- real or perceived -- in the political arena.
Sure his handling of the War on Terror has been commendable, they admit, but what about the sinking of the Pickering nomination? What about the defeat of his stimulus package, of ANWR oil exploration and other key elements of his agenda?
'How, O how, on earth could Bush remain so popular despite such a string of "defeats"?', his sourpuss enemies mope in frustration.
Back in January, when Enron burst onto the scene, foes of the President were dancing and doing cartwheels. The belligerents, punch-drunk with 'triumph', were confident Enron would torpedo the Bush administration, as surely as Watergate did Nixon's. A hailstorm of grand jury subpoenas, indictments and 'smoking guns' would bury the Bush legacy; heck, the sleaze from Houston might even make Clinton look ethical by comparison -- or so they fervently believed.
In the media, all hell broke loose. Like a pack of hungry Jackals, the presstitutes seized the Enron debacle with demented zeal, sinking their fangs into every delicious jot and tittle of what, they hoped, was Watergate redux.
The Democrats, like sharks, smelled blood in the water. The airwaves were bursting with torrents of innuendo and rumor. From the unabated sludge of ugly media gossip, dirt and hearsay, you'd get the impression Bush was Enron's CEO himself, directing the destruction of documents at Arthur Andersen from the Oval Office.
Democrats went on a rampage. "White House cover-up! White House cover-up!", they howled. Rep. Henry Waxman was handing out hourly press releases like cotton candy at a carnival, larded with every conceivable allegation -- hinting darkly that Bush's days were numbered.
Anyday now, anyday now -- you just wait and see. The presstitutes swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
Yet, after wasting millions of tax dollars persuing the President; after thousands of hours collecting testimony, rummaging through documents, combing minutes of meetings, looking for dirt, what did Bush-haters finally come up with?
A big, fat Nada, that's what.
Rather than embarrassing the President, they only made fools of themselves -- on live television, to boot. Rather than knocking Bush down a notch or two, Democrats plunged headlong into a free-fall. Bush's enemies, bursting with bitterness and rage, went for the jugular, but ended up blindly shooting themselves, instead.
Democrats were incensed even further as poll after poll showed a President still riding a wave of undiminished popularity, even as his spit-angry enemies suffered a backlash.
Nothing else seemed to work, either. Daschle's second-guessing of the war boomeranged; the "Shadow government" grousing and grumbling bombed; the Democrat garment rending and teeth gnashing over looming deficits came-a-cropper; the Time Magazine libel alleging Bush kept New Yorkers in the dark in the face of a brewing nuclear terrorist threat was exposed as a sham and a lie -- a damnable lie.
But Democrats, even after their myriad of blunders, aren't yet hoisting the white flag. No, not quite. Their animosity and spite towards the President is just as searing today as it's ever been. Their flubs and stumbles only fuel it.
Indeed, with the economy fading as an issue and elections looming, a veritable siege mentality now grips the Democrat ranks. The sans souci giggling and twitter of January's Enron euphoria has now given way to trepidation and panic.
Fearing they're headed for a shellacing in the fall, Daschle et al have escalated their dirty war on the White House, bottlenecking, thwarting, choking, shackling the Bush agenda at every turn.
Stoking Democrat ire even further, President Bush has effectively neutralized a slew of hot-button issues Democrats traditionally use to inflame their base and frighten them to the voting booth. Even Social Security, once called the Third Rail of politics, lacks the walloping punch of yesteryear. It's no longer the bugaboo it used to be.
In short, the Democrat strategy (per the Carville memo) of carving out a niche on domestic issues, leaving War and foreign affairs to Bush has turned into a miserable failure. The war's smashing success has essentially back-burnered their issues. The new upsurge in confidence on the economy has, for Democrats, only made matters worse -- infinitely worse, in fact.
Against this backdrop, with Enron having fallen off the radar screen, enter Campaign finance "reform", a glaring euphemism if there ever was one.
Basically, Democrats thought they were calling the President's 'bluff'. Surely, surely, Bush would never sign it, they reasoned. A veto would send shock waves across America, spark a withering backlash in the press and hogtie Bush to Enron for the rest of his days. Bush would be beaten to within an inch of his political life. Democrats would reap the windfall.
Nope, no way would he sign it.
Democrats believed this issue was a win-win. 'We've boxed him in this time, haven't we'?, they probably chortled among themselves.
Stick a fork in him, he's done.
Democrats could smell victory, at long last.
Instead, Machiavelli was spinning in his grave.
The White House announcement of Bush's intentions sent shock waves, alright -- across Democrat cloakrooms and their media outlets.
For Democrats savoring the chance of running on Enron, Bush had just gummed up the works -- big time. They thought they were playing Bush for a fool, he checkmated them instead. Bush's signature scrambles their plans -- and their brains, too. Democrats are now left with nothing to run on in the fall.
That's the politics -- but is this the right thing to do? Bush has qualms over certain aspects of Shays-Meehan on constitutional grounds -- he's said so publically. But isn't he, therefore, by signing this document, plainly violating his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States"?
If that's the standard, then every president in our history was guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanors -- and, therefore, worthy of impeachment. Presidents, from time in memoral, have knowingly put their John Hancock on bills of dubious constitutionality.
With President Reagan, it was the so-called Boland Amendment, which hamstrung his policy of aiding the Freedom Fighters then battling the Communist Sandistas in Nicaraqua. It was a flagrant breach of a President's constitutional powers to conduct foreign affairs.
He signed it reluctantly, but never vetted its constitutionality in court, a decision which drew fire from many conservatives. Democrats later used the Boland Amendment to hammer Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair.
But was the Gipper, by signing the Boland Amendment, openly violating his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" -- and, therefore, worthy of impeachment? Of course not.
The federal budget is another illustration of this principle. Arguably, most of what's in there is unconstitutional -- on its face. You don't need to be a lawyer to know this. Yet budgets get signed year in and year out.
So what's the basic rationale for signing CFR, you ask? More than likely, Bush is convinced the best way to kill it to sign it. The myriad of lawsuits and challenges will test its constitutionality in the courtroom, before a mostly conservative judiciary. Bush wants the matter settled, once and for all. As he sees it, a veto settles nothing, and may only invite trouble down the road; a future (more liberal) Congress could send up an even more brazen version a future (more liberal) President might be willing to sign. And if, in the interim, the courts' ideological balance tilts leftward, CFR might enjoy better odds for survival.
On the other hand, the popular notion that Bush opted to sign for fear of sparking a backlash is pure hokem. Outside the Beltway, CFR isn't even a blimp on the radar screen. In polls, less than 2% even care about this issue.
With the public's attention riveted firmly on the war, the President could veto CFR with little, if any, downside risk. In short, the theory that Bush is a coward, frankly, doesn't square with the facts.
Sure, McCainiacs will scream bloody murder, the presstitutes will have a field day, but so what? Bush got pounded over Enron day after day, week after week, yet his polls didn't budge.
This issue, notwithstanding the gobs of ink and airtime, doesn't resonate -- not with real people.
Let's face it, folks. Bush is a good man, a decent man. No, he's not perfect. But who is? There isn't a politician on this earth with whom I will agree 100% of time. Sooner or later, there are bound to be letdowns and disappointments. It goes with the turf.
Bear in mind that George W. Bush isn't merely head of some think tank on policy wonk avenue in Washington D.C. He isn't President of the American Conservative Union or the Heritage Foundation, much as I admire both institutions profoundly. And he isn't just President of American conservatives -- he is President of all the people.
As U.S. President, his constituency is infinitely broader, encompassing all of the citizens of this great and wonderful free republic of ours. Writing a position paper is one thing, but Bush will be judged by results from his actions -- by policy, not words.
Bush is a serious man, as well as a shrewd politician who plays the hand he's been dealt -- a squeaker election, a razor-thin House majority and a Senate in the clutches of leftist militant hardliners.
But is Bush conservative? I'll let you be the judge.
On foreign affairs, Bush is arguably one of the most conservative Presidents in American history. In his first year, alone, he unceremoniously dumped the Kyoto protocol, catching flack from every conceivable direction. Day after day after day, he was pummelled, lambasted and thrashed in the press as an enemy of the environment -- public enemy number 1, in fact.
But Bush never relented, he never backed down. He made no apologies, he stood firmly by his decision.
Also in his first year, he jettisoned the Cold-War era Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. Again he was hammered mercilessly, here and abroad.
As President, one of his first acts was to scrap, by executive order, all taxpayer-funded overseas "family planning" promoting abortion. The screams and howls of protests bellowing from radical feminists and surrogates in the media were deafening.
Again, Bush made no apologies.
On Taiwan, there is no question where Bush stands, and mainland China knows it. On North Korea, Bush rightly condemns it as a rogue state, as part of an 'axis of evil', in which he includes Iran and Iraq.
After a midair collision involving an American EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese jet fighter, Bush in short order secured the release of our crewmen and brought them home safely -- all without an apology and all without igniting WWWIII.
Bush has pushed hard for a National Missile Defense, even against protestations and caterwauling over "unilateralism" from NATO "allies".
Bush's record in Afghanistan and the War on Terror speaks for itself.
Regarding a U.N. global tax, Bush said 'forgeddaboutit'!
On the home front, President Bush told the ABA 'hasta la vista, baby'. No pack of left-wing lawyers will vet Bush appointments to the bench, not if he has any say in the matter. Speaking of which, his judicial nominations have, with few exceptions, been solidly conservative.
By the stroke of a pen, he repealed a host of last minute Clinton EOs, including egregious OHSA regulations.
On energy, he's campaigned to reduce America's dependency on foreign -- particularly mideast -- oil, pushing for more nuclear plant production, off-shore oil drilling, and ANWR oil exploration.
On Social Security, Bush is for partial privatization -- a gutsy stance critics said would cost him the elections.
On public assistance, he's offered faith-based alternatives to traditional welfare, in line with his 'Compassionate Conservative' philosphy.
On taxes, his campaign-style, criss-crossing the heartland moved Congress to pass a $1.35 trillion, across-the-board tax cut for working families. Getting a tax cut -- any tax cut -- through this Congress wasn't exactly a piece of cake. Democrats weren't quite beating a path to the White House door to hand Bush tax relief legislation he could sign. Daschle et al pulled every conceivable, cynical parliamentary maneuver to delay -- and ultimately kill -- its chances in the Senate.
His decision on stem-cell research earned him plaudits from pro-lifers, and rightly so.
On national defense, Bush proposes the largest boost in military spending since the Gipper. For the men and women who serve, he's delivered a promised -- and much-needed -- pay raise, lifting morale.
I could go on, but suffice it is to say that's not the record of a shilly-shally, dithering "moderate". Not by any stretch.
At the same time, this is a President who knows compromise isn't always a dirty word. Better to get half a loaf than no loaf at all. Progress often comes in bite sizes.
It's called politics, the art of the possible. He is a master tactician, but he never loses sight of the big picture -- his ultimate vision.
Some contend we should look at the glass as only half-empty -- weigh only the wrong decisions he makes in the balance, and ignore the right ones. Right decisions -- decisions we agree with -- don't count. In evaluating his record, only decisions and policy choices we disagree with count.
In Bush's case, however, this standard means ignoring an overwhelmingly conservative record. Shrugging off his list of impressive achievements is cutting off our nose to spite our face.
But, most important of all, George W. Bush has restored honor, dignity and trust to the office he holds, a solemn promise he made repeatedly in the campaign.
One of the most astonishing things about this President -- one that borders on enigma -- is the maturity he displayed so far beyond his modest years in politics. It's what drives his opponents up the wall, and leads them to underestimate the man, again and again.
Conventional wisdom says George W. Bush is impossible: No one with so little political experience could ever rise to such stunning heights of success so quickly in so demanding a job. Yet, where many Presidents before him stumbled, George W. Bush excels in ways transcending all explanation.
In this sense, Bush restored our faith and confidence, not just in the office of President, but in ourselves as Americans. From the depths of national trauma and anguish on September 11, Bush helped rekindle our 'can-do' spirit; we were soon back on our feet again.
He made us feel prouder than ever to be Americans.
Indeed, Bush is uniquely suited for these times. George W. Bush is our War President.
Ultimately, history will judge him not by campaign finance "reform" or the Dow Jones Industrial average nor the size of the deficit.
He will be judged by success in the War on Terror. Period.
And judging from his stellar performance thus far, this President is headed for greatness.
My two cents.....
When should a president veto a bill?
...especially a president of principle and integrity
Political move or not, he has urinated on the Constitution, the people, the law, and we, his supporters. And I cannot abide that. I will not vote for him. I will not support him in any other way than as Commander in Chief.
Instead, Bush may have played shrewdly and boldly, I'll grant him that... but it wasn't for an inherent desire to serve the American people. If it had been so, this bill might as well have been DOA to his desk, for all the shenanigans that McCain et al pulled. It wasn't a "service" thing, and the long term will show it for what it is: a "political" move, which is always about gaining/maintaining power... a very boring, useless thing really.
Bush should have studied history more. Particularly the story of Alexander at Gordium: Alexander didn't pussyfoot about trying to solve the riddle of the knot. He thought outside the world's view, and cut it. A very wise, bold stroke, it has been said.
Bush had the same opportunity with CFR. He could have sliced through it with his pen. He could have been the president who now and forevermore chose not to think inside that tired, stagnant box.
And he blew it.
And I wonder if we'll ever get a president in the near future who could rise above the mediocrity that plagues both the Oval Office and America as a whole. "Going with the flow" isn't bringing us any new vitality, that is certain.
I agree that you've identified Bush's poker strategy. And I agree that if the courts cooperate, it was a brilliant move. I hardly think though that McCain was 'workig with GWB' at all. He's a punk who just got his CFR shoved down his throat.
Will you issue an apology if the court upholds ALL provisons of CFR?
Now it's up to Ken Starr, Floyd Abrams, plus a host of lesser llights like me, to see to it that the plan works, to turn CFR into constitutional road kill, a political porcupine that is flat on the asphalt. I'll be driving one of the semis in the Supreme Court.
One thing we know from his own comments is that W. loved this bill, begged Congress for it and reaffirmed the other day that if he had ANY problems with it he would not have signed it.
What happenned to the call that he should say - Not over my dead body will they curtail your free speech!" -- President George "Dubya" Bush (what he should say re: CFR)
Let's face it, he should have vetoed it. He's still better than Democrats but he wooosed out on this.
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