President George W. Bush is getting desperate, as he hits the campaign trail, not for himself, but for his party. The Republicans are sinking fast under a staggering rise in the number of US soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq and the all-consuming 'Foleygate' scandal, which seems poised to explode and drag down some of the most powerful senators in the United States.
Actually, Bush's campaigning jaunt, where the rhetoric is reaching absurd levels of hysteria and fear-mongering (even for him) is essential to keep the president's last two years in office from becoming an endless head-butting competition with a revived and powerful Democrat-
Bush still has plenty he wants to achieve before he exits the White House in January, 2009, and he also faces the possibility of being impeached for any number of offences the Democrats are slinging at him. Worse yet, without the full power of the Republican house behind him, virtually backing his every move, Bush will find himself having to resort to more and more of the dictatorial powers he has already assigned himself.
In this way, his grip on power may be covered, but only to a point. If Bush spent most of 2007 and 2008 using his signing statements and veto power to over-ride the demands of a Democrat-dominated house, even the Murdoch media would start tagging him as dictator-in-chief.
If the Republicans lose control in early November, then the last days of President George W. Bush are going to be very, very grim indeed. Not only for the president, and the Republicans, but for all of the United States.
From the New York Daily News :
...the political winds have turned bleaker for Republicans - and President Bush's private mood has blackened accordingly.
Just two weeks ago, as gasoline prices plummeted and his tough-talking terror counterattack began moving poll numbers his way, Bush turned bullish on the November elections.Now, however, friends, aides and close political allies tell the Daily News Bush is furious with his own side for helping create a political downdraft that has blunted his momentum and endangered GOP prospects for keeping control of Congress next month.
Some of his anger is directed at former aides who helped Watergate journalist Bob Woodward paint a lurid portrait of a dysfunctional, chaotic administration in his new book, "State of Denial."
In the obsessively private Bush clan, talking out of school is the ultimate act of disloyalty, and Bush feels betrayed from within.
"He's ticked off big-time," said a well-informed source, "even if what they said was the truth."
Moreover, Bush's personal disgust with the GOP sex scandal involving ex-Rep. Mark Foley has exacerbated his already-strained relations with congressional Republicans.
"There's steam coming out of his ears over the Foley thing," someone who talks to the President regularly said. "The base is starting to get turned off again."
For all the misery, Bush remains defiantly resolute. He will campaign relentlessly in the next month and has told friends he's determined to prove his Democratic and media enemies wrong on Election Day.
"He's remarkably optimistic," a Bush insider said. "Like Ronald Reagan, he has a gift for looking beyond the morass in front of him and sticking to his goals, even if it's not popular.
This cover story in Time Magazine is one of the best summaries of how the 'Foleygate' scandal threatens to tear down the Republican Revolution that began in the early 1990s.
This feature from Newsweek examines how Bush could lose Congress over the scandal, and supplies ample background on how the 'Foleygate' drama got so far out of control.