Skip to comments.Bush's Trouble Ahead
Posted on 11/06/2004 8:47:22 PM PST by neverdem
GUEST OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Washington While President Bush would like to think that the voters gave him a mandate last Tuesday to push his "compassionate conservative" agenda through Congress, the wish may well be father to the thought. The truth of the matter is that barring such virtual clean sweeps as Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972 and Ronald Reagan's in 1984, political mandates are usually in the eye of the beholder. And there is no certainty that the Republican Party will remain unified when the choice is not between Mr. Bush and a Democrat, but between accepting or rejecting his policies and proposals.
Yes, the president did better than many expected and, yes, he picked up 51 percent of the popular vote, winning by about 3.5 million votes and carrying 31 states. That was a good and unchallengeable victory, made more so by the narrowness of his margin in 2000. But still, his real margin of victory was not much greater than it was in 2000; then, needing 270 electoral votes, he received 271; this time he received 286, not exactly an overwhelming victory.
The president and his people are deluding themselves if they think his victory signified general approval of his record, even within the Republican Party. It was fear of Senator John Kerry's liberal record that brought many critical Republicans back into the Bush camp on Election Day even though they were decidedly unhappy with his record of deficit spending, his increases in the size and scope of the federal government, his lax immigration policies and his handling of postwar Iraq.
In reality, the president can thank Republican gains in the Senate and House for giving credibility to his claims of a mandate. The defeat of the Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, was, next to Mr. Bush's own win, the Republicans' most significant victory. For all his soft-spoken ways and claims of wanting to work with Mr. Bush, Senator Daschle was a consistent, effective and highly partisan obstructionist who blocked not only legislation but also presidential appointments, primarily those of conservative federal judges.
With Mr. Daschle gone and with the addition of four Republican senators giving the party a 10-vote margin in the Senate, Mr. Bush will probably no longer have to contend with Democratic filibusters preventing the Senate from voting on his judicial appointees.
This is especially significant because during the next four years many expect three or perhaps four Supreme Court vacancies. It is a stretch, however, to think that the Senate will view the election results as a mandate for Mr. Bush to appoint whomever he wants to the courts. For one thing, the new Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will be the liberal and unpredictable Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. And while some may think that Senator Daschle's loss will serve as a warning to Democrats hoping to defy the president, it seems clear that he lost not because of his record of opposition but because he lost touch with his constituents.
Finally, the increased Republican margin in the Senate doesn't automatically assure the president of easy approval for his legislative proposals. He still must contend with half a dozen senators from the party's liberal wing on social and tax issues, and with several small-government conservatives on others. Even in the House, where the Republican margin is greater and the discipline stronger, the president cannot expect a rubber stamp.
Conservatives like Representative Mike Pence of Indiana and his 85 colleagues on the House Study Committee are already girding to protest any spending measures and bills that would increase the size and scope of government. If they get their way, the president's major successes may amount to little more than getting a permanent extension on his tax cuts and making progress toward modernizing Social Security.
This is a long way from an across-the-board mandate. The fact is, such a mandate will come about only if and when the president can figure out how effectively to wield his clout against recalcitrant fellow Republicans or, failing that, prevail on the public to help put the heat on those who otherwise are prepared to buck him on the issues.
Lyn Nofziger was an aide to President Ronald Reagan.
C'mon, Lyn - - that's a partial truth and you know it. Neither Nixon nor Reagan had overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate like Bush does. In fact, with the exception of the Senate for two years, Nixon and Reagan both had full-blown Democrat Congresses to deal with. Bush and the Republicans today have the clearest "mandate" since at least 1964.
Many of the Bush proposals, particularly on the budget and social security, and taxes, will have difficultly, because the numbers don't add up. But this piece is just pounding the keyboard. The writer doesn't have a clue how things will go. But Bush will get a serious and respectful hearing for his proposals, and will have a majority of Congress with an inherent bias to help him succeed. But some of his proposals will die, or emerge in a highly mutated form, because of the inherent difficulties attendant in implementing them. Watch, and you shall see.
I read this and could hardly believe it was Nofzinger. But something is nagging at me - - I think maybe the guy went a little looney back in the Clinton years with some stuff he wrote. I seem to remember having the same thoughts back then, like, what happened to Lyn?
I can. He had the job of herding the Congressional cats under Reagan. All he's saying here is that it will be a b*tch, even among the Republicans, because ultimately you've got 350 Big Egos over there, all pointing in different directions.
I guess the libs at the NYT got tired of heaping abuse on President Bush, so they had to find a disgruntled Republican to do it now. Nofziger had his day in the sun with President Reagan. It seems he didn't learn Reagan's 11th Commandment of Thou shall not attack another Republican, or something to that effect.
Hey, NYTIMES, my trousers are around my ankles, now kiss my big behind. Guess what, we don't care if it's a mandate or not, we're going to act like it's one and Dems will resist the president at their own great risk. And, talk about deluding oneself, you've been doing that for years in the bizarre belief you publish a real newspaper.
I have heard Dems still talking about a 3 million vote win.
I don't think these people have been updated.
I guess the fall of the "Times" when it happens will be the only convincing factor for them that their folly is no longer palatable.
Yet the Dems have to go all the way back to 1964 to set forth any 'mandate' they won. The Carter, Clinton victories were just pluralities...yet the Dems in those eras set forth how they needed to 'do the work of the people'. Odd how slanted, how skewered their selective revisionist memories are.
Bush had it right---he has political capital and he's going to use it. Everybody get it? He won. That's it. He reminded everyone it's NOT about the PROCESS (listening, black caucus?)--it's about RESULTS.
He told use what the War on Terror was going to look like in his speech before the Joint Houses in late September 2001. No one should be surprised that he went after Iraq 18-mos later because he had laid out the entire plan. With Bush, we better write it down because, regardless of what the press says or how people spin it, it's all out there.
His press conference this week was the same way. We KNOW what the President is going to do; he's already told us.
For a man who's "verbally challenged", he sure seemly to send out a clear messager, if anybody's willing to listen.
Lyn, Lyn, watch and learn.
Exactly, and with good reasons as he explained. While the House pubbies present their own problems, the Senate with clowns like Schumer wanting to filibuster judges, and the RINOs, his ability to horse-trade in order to advance conservative objectives is fairly limited, especially while the budget has a deficit. As far as I'm concerned, Nofziger only said wake up and get real.
You are absolutely right. It's been there all the time. The MSM's and the deluded never let that stop them before this. What makes you think they might take note now at the hieght of their DENIAL?
The MSM, especially the NYT, has lost all credibility. It's nothing more than a shill for liberal elites.
Some of you guys should find out who Lyn Nofziger is before painting this as a clear example of liberal media bias. Of course, the NYTimes is using this to bash the President and I don't understand Lyn's reasoning for writing this. Maybe he's just an old grouch (he's obviously unhappy with W's fiscal policies, which I hope all of us are).
But there seems to also be a little disdain from former Reagan operatives towards this Republican administration. There was always a bit of Reagan/Bush rivalry between the former presidents' administrations anyway. And there seems to be a bit of the older guys not wanting to tip the hat to the young upstarts here.
I remember shortly after the inauguration when Peggy Noonan made the statement on Hannity and Colmes that Bush was not "our guy" in the Republican primaries ("our" meaning the Reagan Regiments). Of course Noonan is one of Bush's biggest supporters now and it is clear that W has won the heart of the evangelicals just as Reagan did before him. Now he needs to work more on the fiscal, small government conservatives (redundant) and he will truly be Reagan's heir apparent.
Try to show a little compassion, everybody. Mindless morons are people too. I'm sure they're doing the best they can.
No, he was Reagan's most trusted advisor from before he was Governor all the way through his presidency and you should show a little respect for your betters.
Reagan and his guys paved the way for all of us. Without them, there would be no Republican revolution, Bush presidency or mandate. Remember that.
Senator-elect Thune sent me the *nicest* thank you letter for my contribution. He will add much-needed class from South Dakota to the U.S. Senate.
For me, I now wish that I'd sent him ten times as much money. Such a nice man.
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