Skip to comments.Unhappy W.
Posted on 11/12/2005 2:22:16 AM PST by paudio
WASHINGTON -- President Bush was furious with the staff preparation for last week's inter-American summit in Argentina where his trade proposals ran into unexpected opposition.
The president was reported as particularly unhappy with the work by his National Security Council staff in getting ready for the meeting. That added to Bush's distress in Buenos Aires, dealing with violent street demonstrators and hostile fellow presidents led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and including Argentina's Nestor Kirchner.
The crowning indignity for Bush was the Friday night state dinner starting at 10 p.m., an hour when the president normally is in bed. He left the dinner early, but it was midnight by then.
(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...
I speak out, less afraid to offend, and make phone calls, write letters, and confront folks who spread disinformation at every turn.
A major stumbling block to my never being able to get that diplomatic assignment was my uncanny ability to irritate and otherwise offend.
On the other hand, it serves me well, for like you I am able to harass, with relative impunity, those that would insult my limited intelligence so openly and arrogantly.
Like Darth Vader, there is nothing left of the original man, only political machinery.
G Wills an etablishment RINO who spends most his time sniping at his own side instead of advancing the agenda
Should a journalist/columnist be advancing an agenda? Could "sniping" be considered engaging in legitimate, concerned criticism? And couldn't good criticism be part of advancing an agenda?
Just some thoughts this quote brought to mind. What do you think?
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Negroponte last Tuesday wrote Senate leaders pleading with them to confirm White House lawyer Benjamin A. Powell as the DNI office's general counsel. The unexplained Democratic hold on Powell, wrote Negroponte, "is hindering necessary transformation" of the Intelligence Community.
Checking his archive, it seems he generally does not.
Bush gets the blame. In the days immediately preceding Tuesday's elections, Republican committee chairmen in Congress grew increasingly contemptuous of their president. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, dismissed Bush's Social Security plan as something to be shelved until after the 2008 presidential election. Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, opposed Bush's requested $7 billion to fight bird flu. Thanks to Virginia, the president can expect more of the same.
The carefully wrought Democratic master plan to stave off a conservative Supreme Court is in ruins. Massive filibustering of appellate court nominees, instead of intimidating Bush in Supreme Court nominations, resulted in the formulation of tactical means (the "nuclear option") to counteract filibusters.
The Democratic dilemma is intense. While pro-choice pressure groups are so important to Democratic fund-raising that the party cannot be seen retreating on abortion, many party strategists admit privately that the issue has been a net minus for them. Kate Michelman obscuring the issues will not help.
Many New York contributors to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign were reluctant to attend this year's event. The fact McCain will be 72 years old for the 2008 presidential campaign was cited to explain lack of enthusiasm, as was the senator's support for the Iraq war.
George W. Bush's chances of engaging the country with a dynamic second-term initiative were sabotaged this week. His own tax reform advisory panel Tuesday reported two plans exceeding the worst expectations. Not only would they be dead on arrival if actually sent to Congress, but they probably stifle President Bush's hopes for seriously reshaping how Americans are taxed.
At the same time Miers was twisting in the wind, Bush created a parallel situation at the Export-Import Bank that is the talk of the bureaucracy and Capitol Hill. The three-year term as the bank's CEO for Philip Merrill, an experienced government official and businessman, expired Jan. 20 and was extended six months to July 20. The post has been vacant since then because Bush's choice, April Foley, has had difficulties getting through the clearance process and has yet to be formally nominated.
Foley is a former Ex-Im director, but her resume shows no executive experience, either corporate or governmental. Her last available campaign contribution disclosure form, in 2002, lists her as "housewife." But she was one of George W. Bush's girlfriends when they both attended Harvard Business School.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), supporting maverick Sen. Lincoln Chafee for a second term from Rhode Island, is waging an attack campaign against his challenger, Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, 11 months in advance of the primary election.
The $150,000 advertising buy accuses Laffey of profiting from oil stocks while he complains about oil companies in his campaign. Chafee, who has lagged badly in fund-raising, has not tried to stop the anti-Laffey attack ads, drawing criticism from the Rhode Island news media.
A footnote: Laffey's fund-raising mailer misspells his name as "Laffe" and inexplicably directs donors to "CainforUSSenate.org" -- the defunct website of 2004 Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herman Cain.
Chinese who visit Japan "will find out for themselves there is no militarism in this country," the prime minister said. But "because of years of education in China, there is a strong perception in China that the regime of 60 years ago still exists, that Japan must be hostile to China. That is far from reality."
In the opinion of U.S. policymakers, it will remain far from reality so long as the United States lines up with Japan against China in Asia. Washington's nightmare is for Tokyo to decide it must rearm for protection because it no longer trusts the Americans. That is reason enough for the Bush administration not to get excited about the visit to the Shinto shrine.
George W. Bush was not present last Saturday night for the black-tie banquet of the National Italian-American Foundation (NIAF) at the Washington Hilton Hotel for the fifth straight year of his presidency.
That angered Republican members of NIAF, the leading organization of one ethnic group split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. During the eight years of the Clinton presidency, either Bill or Hillary Clinton made every NIAF dinner.
President Bush's aides told NIAF that he does not like to go out on Saturday nights. However, Bush has attended such events of the Alfalfa Club, the Gridiron Club and the White House Correspondents' Association and stayed the entire evening. NIAF would be happy if Bush, like Clinton, just delivered pre-dinner remarks and then left.
President Bush was not originally prepared for the negative reaction from the Republican base when he nominated White House Counsel Miers, his longtime personal attorney. Former Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie, leading the confirmation campaign, over two weeks convinced skeptics that Miers is conservative enough. Whatever her qualifications, dubious Republican senators after hearing from Gillespie decided they could not deny his chosen court nominee to a president on the ropes. Bush has solidified Republican support not because he is strong but because he looks weak.
After the early chaos of looting, law and order has returned (including an enforced midnight curfew). Police are augmented by 2,500 National Guardsmen from around the country who man checkpoints monitoring the slim vehicular traffic into devastated areas.
But other government services are inadequate. Hundreds of refrigerators, filled with rotting food and posing a health hazard, remain uncollected on sidewalks. Electric power has not been restored fully, and many traffic lights do not work. There is no public transportation, and I did not see one taxi during two days in the city.
The 90 to 9 Senate vote Oct. 5 adopting Sen. John McCain's amendment prohibiting harsh treatment of captured enemy combatants followed a closed-door conference of Republican senators who heard emotional pleas for the defeat of the administration-opposed proposal.
Sen. Ted Stevens, president pro tem of the Senate and a longtime supporter of the military, delivered an impassioned address against the McCain amendment. He was followed by Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several other senators making the same points.
Later that day, however, the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the McCain amendment, with all members of the Republican leadership in support. That reinforced a growing belief that McCain today is the most influential senator.
Senate confirmation of President Bush's choice to be U.S. ambassador to the European Union has been delayed for several weeks, and the nominee may not take his post until well into November. Bush's choice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is serving under a recess appointment and may never be confirmed. The reason: the individual whims of two Republican senators.
Freshman Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida last week temporarily blocked the confirmation of longtime Republican stalwart C. Boyden Gray to the EU for petty political reasons. Much more serious because its effect looks permanent, Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio at the same time stiffened his opposition to John Bolton at the United Nations. He apparently swallowed whole the Democratic campaign of personal destruction.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is an old wrestler, and last Thursday night he used a classic move of his sport by quickly reversing positions. On behalf of the Republican leadership, Hastert went before his colleagues to embrace essentially the same package of spending that two weeks earlier he had scourged conservative House members for proposing. The change was a matter of necessity rather than choice.
It was required to quell the first really serious split in House Republican ranks since the GOP took control of the chamber a decade ago. But the rancor was not limited to Capitol Hill. As House Republicans convened their closed-door conference at 7 p.m. Thursday, 1,000 conservatives were in a foul mood eight blocks away at a black-tie dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of National Review magazine. They were outraged by the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, viewing it less as an aberration by President Bush than a last straw.
Freshman Sen. Mel Martinez last week quietly blocked immediate confirmation as U.S. ambassador to the European Union of prominent Republican lawyer C. Boyden Gray, who last year withdrew his support for Martinez in the Florida Republican primary.
Gray was an active supporter of Martinez, who had resigned as secretary of Housing and Urban Development to run for the Senate. But three and one-half months before the Aug. 31 primary, Gray switched to former Rep. Bill McCollum. Gray said then that Martinez, a trial lawyer, had "opposed tort reform" and "taken money from the trial lawyers."
The question recurs: "What was he thinking?" Bushologists figure the president was irked by repetitive demands that he satisfy the base with his Supreme Court appointments. He also was irked by the conservative veto of his Texas friend and Miers's predecessor at the White House, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. So, Bush showed the critics by naming another close aide lacking Gonzales's track record to draw the ire of the party's right wing.
In today's polarized climate, both parties have contributed to the criminalization of politics. But Democrats, losers in both elections and the world of ideas, have turned to using the criminal process over the last two decades. That means depicting DeLay not as a mere reactionary politician but the cause of national corruption. This resolve was furthered by the reckless DA in Texas and a retreat by House Republicans.
The decision to reinstate the resignation requirement was the subject of Wednesday's closed-door conference of House Republicans. Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana declared that the Jan. 3 decision had empowered Earle. He complained that moderate members of the conference had forced the reinstatement. Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida said it was like putting a red cape in front of a bull.
Moderate Republicans, referred to as "weak sisters" by their House colleagues, are poorly equipped to deal with the politics of 2005. On this issue, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who through his long career has been all over the Republican spectrum, was the strict interpretation ethicist supporting the resignation rule. DeLay decided he could not subject his members to this kind of pressure, and restored the rule.
Hastert and DeLay are described as pondering whether the speaker himself should temporarily take over the majority leader's duties. Hastert's friends say the idea of Dreier originated with DeLay. Dreier as an interim leader would have eased the way for DeLay's eventual return. Hastert's allies also contend the speaker decided to name Majority Whip Roy Blunt as DeLay's temporary successor without being urged to by conservative House members who opposed Dreier.
If DeLay does not return to the leadership, House Republicans will vote on a permanent majority leader. That might not happen until after the 2006 election, whose outcome will affect the leadership question. Rep. John Boehner, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, might challenge Blunt for the post.
Fear has enveloped Republicans who see themselves handing the banner of fiscal integrity to the Democrats. The GOP is losing the rhetoric war, even though Democrats mostly push for higher domestic spending, because Republicans, while standing firm against tax hikes, have also declined to cut spending. Fearing the worst in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republican senators who would not be expected to do so are looking to McCain to lead the party back to fiscal responsibility.
The "emergency" Medicaid bill is a classic case of how government grows and spending soars. Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, concerned by health problems of evacuees in her state of Arkansas, introduced a bill increasing Medicaid funds to the states. The Senate Finance Committee's Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley, and its ranking Democrat, Max Baucus, drafted the scaled-down, $9 billion substitute and marked it for quick passage. No hearings, no debate, no trouble.
Pence and the RSC's heresy was to propose that massive federal outlays resulting from Hurricane Katrina be offset by reduced spending elsewhere. Specifically, they requested offsets to cut highway projects earmarked by individual House members, and a delay in implementing President Bush's new Medicare prescription drug subsidy. The negative reaction by the leadership was reflected when Pence, offered a seat at a later meeting, explained that he would be more comfortable standing because House Speaker Dennis Hastert had just tanned his hide. ...
Neither President Bush nor congressional leaders will tolerate tampering with the drug subsidy, the president's least popular initiative among conservatives. While the White House would be happy to see some highway pork eliminated, the House leaders absolutely refused. At stake here is a basic disagreement over the philosophy of government within the Republican Party as it nears the end of its 11th year controlling the House of Representatives.
During a contentious closed-door conference of House Republicans last Tuesday in which the party leaders clashed with conservatives over federal spending resulting from Hurricane Katrina, universal high marks went to an outsider who addressed them: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
For two full days, George W. Bush was bashed. He was taken to task on his handling of stem cell research, population control, the Iraq war and, especially, Hurricane Katrina. The critics were no left-wing bloggers. They were rich, mainly Republican and presumably Bush voters in the last two presidential elections.
The Bush-bashing occurred last weekend at the annual Aspen conference sponsored by the New York investment firm Forstmann Little & Co. Over 200 invited guests, mostly prestigious, arrived Thursday night (many by private aircraft) and stayed until Sunday morning for more than golf, hikes and gourmet meals. They faithfully attended the discussions presided over by PBS's Charlie Rose on such serious subjects as "global poverty and human rights" and "the 'new' world economy." The connecting link was hostility to President Bush.
Schumer said at the beginning of the hearing he would accept Roberts as a "mainstream conservative" but not an "ideologue." Is Roberts more of an ideologue than Justice Antonin Scalia, who was confirmed with 98 votes? Is Roberts more of an ideologue than former American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) general counsel Ginsburg, who got 96 votes? Chuck Schumer did not make his case.
Republican senators are divided on whether former Texas Supreme Court Justice Owen is vulnerable because she underwent a filibuster for the appellate seat and was confirmed under the compromise agreement. Frist is known to believe Owen can be confirmed in the face of a filibuster.
Republican Senate strategists believe Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is the only possible Bush nominee to replace O'Connor who would not face a filibuster.
At George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch last Thursday, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe told President Bush he needs more U.S. aircraft to replace losses in his country's war against narco-terrorism. According to sources, Bush turned to State Department officials and said every effort should be made to give Colombia whatever it needs. Implicitly, he was asking: Why aren't the Colombians getting all they need?
The answer is not opposition from Congress. House Republican leaders the past two months have been pressing for an additional $147 million, a package that Uribe requests of every congressional visitor to Bogota. The aid has been stopped cold by the State Department, perhaps the victim of bureaucratic inertia rather than conscious obstruction. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may change that soon.
George W. Bush, usually early to bed, was on the phone past 10 p.m. Wednesday talking reluctant Republican House members into voting for CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). GOP congressional leaders credit President Bush with doing more personally to pass this measure than any other proposal.
Bush did not begin his lobbying Wednesday night. For weeks, House members have been brought to the White House to talk about CAFTA with the president. When GOP congressmen arrived at the Capitol Wednesday morning, they were told Bush would address them on the trade agreement at the weekly 9 a.m. closed-door caucus.
A footnote: House Republican leaders had hoped to give Rep. Robin Hayes freedom to vote against this bill, but they ultimately needed his "yes" to pass CAFTA by two votes. The agreement is not popular in Hayes's North Carolina Piedmont district, which contains a heavy textiles presence.
Supporters of John Bolton, U.S. ambassador-designee to the United Nations whose confirmation is stalled by a filibuster, are urging a recess appointment enabling him to oppose global taxes in the UN.
French President Jacques Chirac has suggested an international tax on airline travel, and the UN recently considered taxes on arms sales, currency exchanges or a global lottery. The House last Tuesday approved a proposal to require any U.S. envoy at the UN to oppose global taxes.
The measure, sponsored by House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, was passed by voice vote. Several Republican House members, however, would have preferred a roll call vote to reveal who supports a global tax.
Last Wednesday Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin entered a Republican Study Committee meeting, including the most aggressively conservative House members, with important news. Ryan reported that Rep. Bill Thomas of California, the powerful, secretive chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had agreed this year's Social Security reform should contain neither tax increases nor benefit cuts.
That evoked a sigh of relief among Republicans who have -- without much help from the Bush Administration -- come up with a Social Security plan that establishes personal accounts and ends siphoning payroll tax revenue into general use by the government. Hopes of getting this reform through the House on a party-line vote would be doomed by provisions to raise taxes or cut benefits, as bundles of Republican members would fall away.
If Smith is too independent to be a Republican committee chairman, a consolation prize might be a little commendation from the administration. None has come so far. According to all sources, the shortfall fiasco was not discussed at that Fourth of July chat between Chris Smith and Jim Nicholson. An orderly Republican Party does not dwell on mistakes, even to figure out what went wrong.
Conservatives who have spent more than a decade planning for this moment to change the balance of power on the Supreme Court are reeling from blows delivered by two dissimilar political leaders: Edward M. Kennedy and George W. Bush. Sen. Kennedy has succeeded with the news media in establishing a new standard of "mainstream conservatism" for a justice. President Bush has put forth "friendship" as a qualification for being named to the high court.
Bush is by far the bigger obstacle in the way of a conservative court. While Kennedy's ploy presents a temporary problem, Bush's stance could be fatal. The Right's morale was devastated by the president's comments in a USA Today telephone interview published on the newspaper's front page Tuesday: "Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine. When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it." Bush is a stubborn man, who sounded like he might really nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the face of deep and broad opposition from the president's own political base.
President Bush's statement Wednesday to Republican congressional leaders acknowledging that he should do a better job handling immigration followed a report to him by aides that the conservative base is deeply concerned about that issue.
Republican House members returning from the Memorial Day recess last week told the White House that their constituents are most concerned about two issues: fiscal responsibility and immigration. In both parties, elite leadership does not appreciate rank-and-file worries about the flood of immigrants and government aid to them.
A footnote: Republican voters' concern about fiscal responsibility is mainly directed at reducing spending. However, Republican senators last week informed President Bush he will be overridden if he vetoes a highway bill whose spending levels exceed his specifications.
THE NEXT CONFIRMATIONS
The next two Senate test votes on judicial confirmations are likely to be cast on White House aide Brett Kavanaugh and U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle of North Carolina, both named to federal appellate courts.
Kavanaugh and Boyle are not included in the bipartisan compromise on confirmation. If Democrats refuse to end debate on them, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is expected to invoke the "nuclear option" to confirm them by majority vote.
I don't want to hear from Novak again unless he tells who told him about "Mrs. Wilson".
What I want to know is .. who's leaking this stuff to Novak??
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