After he won the 2004 election, President Bush boasted, credibly, "I have political capital and I intend to spend it."
But what has he spent it on? The Iraq War remains a disaster, sucking up more a billion dollars a day. The US, and NATO, appear to be sinking quickly into the kind of prolonged, demoralising and civilian heavy conflict that helped destroy the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Compassionate conservatism lies rotting in the sun as a political theory, and practicality. His cherished Immigration bill is gone, it being the last grand policy of his presidency. The Bush dream of using democracy to supposedly bring freedom to people crushed by dictatorships, cruel regimes and despots has failed, monumentally, and sadly.
His political capital has all been spent, the US Treasury is growing chillingly bare, and tens of millions of American people are sinking under horrendous levels of personal debt, as they watch the value of their homes, for many their only real asset, blow away like dust on the wind.
It's a shocking state of affairs for the leader of the free world, and even the most optimistic of right wing American columnists and opinion makers see nothing between now and the end of the Bush presidency, that will transform any of these monumental failures back into gold.
Or even capital.
Bush is being steadily, systematically, abandoned by his own party. Bush is the Titanic, but the passengers can see the iceberg, and they're getting off now.
From the New York Times :
After a string of Republican defections this week — on Iraq, immigration and domestic eavesdropping — President Bush enters the final 18 months of his presidency in danger of losing control over a party that once marched in lockstep with him.For Republicans who want to want to keep their seats in Congress, and for those who think they've still got a chance at winning the White House in 2008, pulling as far away from Bush as possible is now seen as a good, and solid, strategy.
First, two prominent Republican senators broke with the president on Iraq. Then, Mr. Bush’s party abandoned him in droves on the immigration bill, sending the measure to its death in the Senate, despite the president’s fervent lobbying for it.And when Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to issue subpoenas to the White House for documents related to its domestic eavesdropping program, three Republicans, including a longtime loyalist, Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, joined them, and another three did not take a position.
With the nation turning its attention to who will succeed Mr. Bush — and Republican presidential candidates increasingly distancing themselves from him — even allies say it could become increasingly difficult for the president to assert himself over his party, much less force the Democratic majority in Congress to bend to his will.
...for a president who once had almost absolute control over his own party and a proclivity to employ his power expansively if not audaciously, the last week was a reminder of how much things have changed. Republicans who came to office brimming with optimism just a few short years ago now sound as if they fear a long slog ahead.
....Republican support for Mr. Bush (is) dwindling across the party spectrum. Among moderate and liberal Republicans, 52 percent currently approve of Mr. Bush’s job performance, down from 63 percent in April, he said. Among conservatives, his job approval stood at 74 percent this month, down from 86 percent in April.
With 2008 looking like a tough year for Republicans, Mr. Jillson said lawmakers would look back to their districts, rather than to Washington and the White House, for guidance on how to vote. That was abundantly clear on immigration, when even Mr. Bush’s closest Republican allies — including two Texans, Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison — openly opposed him.
“When John Cornyn defects from the president,” Mr. Jillson said, “you know the president’s mojo is completely gone.”
Nearly all the Republican presidential candidates in recent debates did not not even mention their president. It was as though they feared that even saying the word "Bush" out loud would cast them immediately into a poll dungeon.
Bush is on his way to becoming the invisible president.
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