Skip to comments.Bush is seeking to turn 'thumping' into a 'great opportunity'
Posted on 11/11/2006 4:08:13 AM PST by MadIvan
On the morning after the mid-term elections, a humbled President George W Bush called it "a thumping".
But yesterday he described the disastrous result for the Republicans, when Congress turned from Republican red to Democrat blue, as a "great opportunity".
His aides were briefing that he now had the chance to build a domestic policy legacy and use his final two years in the White House to prove that politicians could get things done in Washington.
After a White House coffee meeting yesterday, Mr Bush chuckled as Senator Dick Durbin, part of the new Democratic leadership in the Senate, joked: "I do want to say thanks personally to the president and vice-president for their conciliatory gesture by wearing blue ties today.
"From our side, we think that is a symbolic indication."
Conservative Republicans and wary Democrats fear that Mr Bush might indeed try to steal the Democrats' clothes. "They talked about issues that people care about, and they won," he told the senators.
As a lame-duck president after years of poor relations with Democrats who were bitter about being frozen out of the decision-making process, turning opportunity into legislative reality will be one of the biggest challenges of Mr Bush's political career.
The message from the voters was that they rejected one-party rule in Washington and wanted to see whether divided government could lead to the kind of results Mr Bush was unable to achieve when Republicans were the kings of Capitol Hill.
Having been swept into power on the backs of their condemnation of a "do-nothing Congress", there will be pressure on Democrats to demonstrate that they can do business with Mr Bush. The president will want to leave office with achievements under his belt and use his power of veto sparingly.
"The Democrats should adopt a good government strategy rather than a take-no-prisoners strategy," said Senator Birch Bayh, a Democrat who served in the Senate for 18 years.
He believed that Republicans in Congress would adopt a new approach. "They've gotten the signal that people didn't like what was going on, that the well was poisoned. They're not going to be bomb throwers."
In 1996, President Bill Clinton and a Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives introduced a welfare reform Bill that became a landmark piece of social legislation. Both parties claimed credit for it. Republican presidents have also signed legislation sent to them by Democratic houses of Congress.
To the dismay of conservative Republicans, Mr Bush has already indicated that he agrees with the Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage. But the centrepiece of his last 24 months in office could be a comprehensive overhaul of America's immigration laws.
His desire for tough border security measures combined with opportunities for many of America's 12 million illegal immigrants to become citizens is shared by more Democrats than Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Gardner Peckham, a senior aide to Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House after the Republican takeover of Capitol Hill in 1994, said: "Democrats will have to be very careful not to appear like they're looking backwards and wanting retribution.
"They won't want to look like they're the source of the problem. But they're not going to want the president to look good on any of these issues. The prize is the White House in 2008. Control of Congress is great, but without the White House you can't control the agenda."
Immigration, he suggested, would be "an interesting test" of whether genuine cooperation was possible.
I don't remember reading that anywhere. If so, G.W. is wimping out big time.
He's not wimping out, he's going forward with the same aganda he's had all along. It isn't a conservative one either.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
Ivan my good FRiend, 'divide and conquer' is what has happened to the Republican Party, which is why I fear we are about to see our President unmasked as the Commander-In-Chief of all the RINOs that ever lived.
I hope I'm wrong, but I expect to see Articles of Impeachment introduced in the House before the end of 2007.
It's going to be a long two years.
He's been wimping out?
I think we will see big time wimping on the part of Bush. Just a matter of time. I voted for him twice...stuck by him thru all the shi'ite with overspending, Iraq rebuilding, open borders and so on...but enough is enough. No more compassionate conservatism and no more Bush family.
Time for conservatives to regroup...we win when sticking with principles.
Impeachment for SPP (The Security and Prosperity Partnership) would be fine with me.
OK, but I'll take the twins, Barbara especially.
I agree, he should be privately meeting with the conservative democrats.
It's really amazing... the new, convivial tone of the DBM.
Instead of blaming the President why don't you make arguements to your fellow voters against the minimum wage.
Like it or not the minimum wage is popular with voters and gets huge margins when put to the voters.
The New "conservative" democrats are too busy meeting with nancy pelosi.
If you read as carefully as I would think a FReeper should, you would see that I wrote, "I don't remember reading that anywhere."
Go have some coffee.
And try spellcheck.
You mean the 9/10 Bush who let Fats Kennedy write the education bill? And doubled the hemorrhaging at the Dept of Education just to go along with it? That Bush? Nah.
I don't think we're going to see the actual Articles. There are only two years, and the Dems won't want an impeachment proceeding to suck all the wind out of their campaigns, primaries, etc. I think 2007 will be investigations, and then the Dems will announce that they think they have enough to impeach, but for the good of the American people they won't. Then they'll use the investigative "findings", proven or not, in the 2008 campaigns.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.