Well, I have to say that I thought Bush was foolish to jump right into his second term, with all that momentum going for him from the election, and immediately put all his eggs into the Social Security basket.
Sure, Social Security is broke, but why is it the Republicans' job to fix it? There were more important things to do first.
At that time, everyone was stunned by the power of the social and religious conservatives who turned out in droves to vote. Hillary started saying that she was really a Christian, and that maybe the Dems should compromise on abortion. (Only abort half the baby, and leave the other half in the womb?) It's noticeable that she's since dropped that line, because it no longer seems so urgent.
Now all that momentum has been lost. Conservatives are raring to go with Alito, but then Bush committed another bad move by allowing Specter delay the Alito hearings until next year. Meanwhile Bush is in Argentina, which gains him absolutely nothing but insults from his host. Somebody gave him some bad advice--on Specter, on Miers, on Social Security, on priorities.
Sure, Kristol is a congenital whiner. But there's some subtance to this complaint.
He should come back in January with major personnel changes, starting at the White House with a new Chief of Staff, new Deputy (yes, include Rove in a general shakeup, not alone), bring back Karen Hughes as Press Secretary, and including a new Treasury secretary (NOT Andy Card, PLEASE!!!!), new Energy Secretary, and yes, a new Homeland Security Secretary. Show people he has a new agenda and a new team in place to make it happen.
Bush should also announce a major initiative of some kind with Laura heading it up. Maybe something for the women of Iraq and Afghanistan and Africa. Laura is very popular.
2. President Bush may not make any headway on Social Security. However, he deserves credit for talking about the issue, and I will tell you that in 5 years, when the system is shown to be in increasing trouble, Republicans then in office will be glad to have President Bush's efforts to point to and democrat obstructionism to blame.