Wednesday, September 27, 2006



Interesting opinion piece below, talking about how Republican senators appear to be pulling away from their president, and the never-ending controversy surrounding his backing of CIA torture of detainees, the War On Iraq and just about anything he's willing to put his name to.

Okay, that's a bit of an exageration, but it's abundantly clear that the president is fast becoming pure poison to his own party's chances of holding onto their congressional power monopoly in the November mid-term elections.

The Republicans have got to put up with Bush bringing down the party for another 28 or so months. That's an extraordinarily long time in Amerian politics, particularly considering the news out of Iraq, and now Afghanistan, is unlikely to get any better any time soon, and certainly not without some major crackdowns and confrontations by US Forces, which will result in much higher US Army death tolls.

Excuse the ramble, here's some selections from the story :

From :

In my neighbourhood in Washington, George W Bush's presidency is already over.

You can see it on the T-shirts, such as the one that simply says: "20 January 2009", the day Mr Bush will step down and hand power to whoever wins the 2008 election.

And you can see it on the bumper stickers.

....while his foes dream of the day Mr Bush's term actually ends, it may already be essentially finished for all practical purposes.

...two of Mr Bush's signature proposals of this political season are in trouble.

One dates back to the very early days of his presidency, if not before - a complete overhaul of America's failing immigration system.

As a Texan who has seen at first hand what Latin American immigrants have contributed to the country - and as an ally of business, which likes cheap immigrant labour - Mr Bush wanted a new system that would allow at least some of the illegal immigrants already here to become citizens.

The Senate backed him, but the House of Representatives disagreed strongly, passing a bill that would increase the penalties on illegal immigrants and those who help them.

The two chambers seemed unable to compromise, and by the beginning of September, immigration reform seemed dead, at least for this Congressional term.

More pressing matters had arisen, anyway.

The Supreme Court had struck down Mr Bush's plan to try suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay by military tribunals, and the president spent the final weeks of the summer pressing Congress to pass a law reinstating the commissions and allowing harsh interrogations.

This time, the House supported him, but the Senate rebelled - led by three senior members of the president's own Republican party.

With that issue deadlocked, what should crop up again but immigration? And when that battle was rejoined, all talk was of border controls, not of paths to citizenship: a setback for the president.

Then suddenly a "compromise" on interrogations was in the works - one that looks much more like the rebel Republicans' plan than the president's.

The president's approval ratings are low in the polls, suggesting he is no help to Congressional Republicans.

Congress is even less popular than the president, and pundits are talking ominously of 1994, the year the Democrats were swept out of power after decades of running the legislature.

This past week's agenda shows clearly what is on the candidates' minds. It is not the president's agenda.

It is saving their skins.