Skip to comments.Newsview: Bush Gets Wins Under His Belt
Posted on 07/28/2005 1:55:30 PM PDT by West Coast Conservative
After a rocky start, President Bush is scoring legislative wins that could be important tests of his ability to push laws through Congress in his second term.
While his centerpiece proposal to restructure Social Security continues to languish, Bush's close victory on a trade bill and his progress on energy and highway legislation are quieting talk that he is a lame duck already.
His nomination of conservative federal appeals court Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court also seems to be on track, despite skirmishing with Democrats over access to papers from Roberts' work as deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration.
With Washington summer vacations looming, Bush and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill were encouraged on Thursday that a few things were finally going their way a welcome break from unrelenting bad news from Iraq and the firestorm over whether Bush aide Karl Rove helped disclose a CIA officer's identity for political purposes.
"I think they've shown themselves to be very resourceful," Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker said of the president's team and other GOP leaders. "Particularly, I think you have to credit the leadership of the House."
On Thursday, the House approved a Bush-backed energy bill loaded with $14.5 billion in tax breaks, designed to boost U.S. production. The Senate was expected to approve it on Friday and the White House said Bush who has been urging a major change in U.S. energy policy for five years will sign it.
The House also moved toward expected approval of a Bush-backed $286.4 billion highway and transit bill, hailed by Republicans as capable of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
In his hardest-fought victory, Bush won House approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement previously passed by the Senate late Wednesday night, on a 217-215 vote, overcoming heavy Democratic opposition and some GOP defections. The win was achieved only after last minute dealmaking and arm twisting by Republican leaders, and a roll call held open for an hour.
While the economic impact of the pact is expected to be relatively small, the political symbolism was large. Bush lobbied vigorously, including last-minute in-person appeals on Wednesday, and portrayed the measure as central to his goal of spreading democracy and freedom to combat terrorism.
Democrats remained combative but outmaneuvered.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California suggested Bush "expended enormous resources" to get the measure through a chamber controlled by his party, suggesting it was a "Pyrrhic victory for him," achieved at too high a cost.
The legislative victories come as Bush's job approval percentage hovers in the 40s. His rating in some polls is near the lowest levels of his presidency.
That's in spite of some positive recent developments.
The budget deficit is smaller than expected, and by most measures the U.S. economy is improving.
Ties with Europe are on the mend. North Korea is back at six-nation talks on ending its nuclear program. And China has agreed to a small revaluation in its currency after heavy Bush administration pressure.
"Bush has had some good things happen," said pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. "But they don't speak to the largest problems the public is having with the administration."
Topping those are the Iraq war and "continued uneasiness with economic conditions, even though the economy by the standards of economists is not all that bad," Kohut said.
Republicans are hopeful that momentum from Bush's legislative successes can carry over after the August recess to his proposal to restructure Social Security.
Polls show six in 10 Americans oppose the president's proposal to add voluntary personal investment accounts to Social Security in exchange for a reduction in guaranteed future benefits. The matter remains in committee in both House and Senate, facing solid Democratic opposition and considerable GOP skepticism.
Still, White House spokesman Scott McClellan spoke optimistically.
"We have been working closely with Congress to get things done this week," he declared.
CAFTA may have been a 'victory' for the White House, but it was a loss for America.
The SELL OUT continues by Jorge.
The SELL OUT continues by Jorge.
I, for one, agree. The U.S. has been shafted again, and most don't seem to care.
I feel like a broken record today.
...er, that's PRONOUNCED. Yeesh, my typing...
The "standards of economists" differ slightly from the "standards of the news media" in that to the media, the economy ALWAYS sucks under Republicans and is ALWAYS booming under Dims.
That's my take. This could well cost the Republican Party its leadership position. All because George was feeling down and needed a win.
The SELL OUT continues by Jorge.
I know. It's terrible.
Bring back Smoot-Hawley. That will save us.
Oh, and post 100,000 machine gun nests on the border with Mexico.
From the state with the highest unemployment in the country I can honestly say "I care".
Yeah, doing nothing while China gobbles up South and Central America is a sell out. Maybe you should investigate real world global politics. Bury your head in the sand behind the border instead of dealing with the threat of Chinese imperialism.
Fight Chinese imperialism, Shop Walmart.
Have you left the Republican Party yet? Please do so as early as possible. Thanks in advance.
Trade is imperative to keep our economy strong but there are always those who see a dark cloud every day of their lives.
I can live with that.
They should call it SHAFTA.
I'm not sure how I feel about CAFTA, but I know the rhetoric coming from some of the people against on this board is the same rhetoic that comes out of the mouths of those I disagree with 99% of the time.
The same people that talk big but lose each election when the GOP gains seats because the majority won't follow them off the cliff. I don't believe in judging the merit of anything completely by who supports or is against, but it's tempting to do so when I hear that nonsense.
This AP article sounds remarkedly like what was posted on The Note this morning. My question is whether they all got the talking point, or if ABC set the tone.
Talk of "lame duck" came from the press. Since the press is always wrong, it's no wonder they were wrong in dismissing this man yet again.
According to RASS the prez's numbers have moderated around 50% on average. The Press evidently thinks we are not aware that they are conducting polls as credible as their editorials these days.
"WHORE-hey" I like that. It fits.
That never happened.
I could be wrong, but, it appears to me that the perpetually pessimistic have taken over FR.
I know. This site is turning into the Art Bell show circa late 1999.
I can live with that.
Yeah, me too. To guage whether it's good for America I just jog over to DU, check the reaction, smile, take a shower, send the GOP a small donation and go on with my life. Almost anything that makes DU unhappy is good for America.
DU is starkers about CAFTA passing, not because of any aftereffects but because it is seen as a Bush victory. :)
"CAFTA may have been a 'victory' for the White House, but it was a loss for America. "
CAFTA Will work as long as companies that are making things in China get incentives to move production to Central America.
I'll be glad in a couple of weeks when the CAFTA stuff fades away.
IN the meantime, I remind the sane republicans that spending capital means you spend it. If you could spend your "political capital" and still have numbers in the 50s, everybody would spend it.
Bush is a president who is willing to USE and SPEND his political capital, in the hopes that the investment leads to success which will replenish the capital.
Anybody know if ANWR drilling survived in the energy bill? I sure hope so, because even if it only has a few drops of oil I'll be happy just to see that stupid issue go away. There is no reason NOT to drill in ANWR.
Its hard to call it a victory. It only passed by two votes after a significant amount of politicking after the vote was over,even though the republicans have a majorty in the house.
Also, if it were called a treaty, which it truly is, it would have had to meet the 2/3 majority, and would have never passed.
Lets make congress constitutional again. Get out of the WTO, and get rid of the USTR trade negotiating power granted to it by the unconstitutional WTO global trading system.
Mr. Bush said that China's investment in South America was a postitive thing. He said that China is an important trading partner, and they need to expand their markets.
So who is selling out whom?
...and they thought this would be a typical 2nd term lame duck president...
No, drilling for oil in ANWR did not survive in the energy bill. One wonders just where the minds of our representatives are. This is just plain ignorance of reality.
Go MICHIGAN!!! YAY
Apparently the caribou...........
It did not survive, nor did imdemnification for MTPB.
ANWR, rumor has it, will be tucked into another bill later this year.
Mr. Bush can't very well come out and say the Chinese are a huge threat that we have to counteract whenever we get the chance now can he? I know that all of us would like for spades to always be called spades, but in real world politics, that would be stupid.
What proposal? His "proposal" is "I'm ready to discuss all ideas but I really think personal accounts are a good idea". That's about it.
The reason it "languishes" in Congress is because they, on both sides, are cowards.