Friday, June 17, 2005

Fred Barnes tells Bush to stay the course in the face of his sagging popularity. The thing about Bush, though, is that he doesn't need to be told that.

Things do look difficult now. The situation in Iraq is uncertain, battles over judges and John Bolton continue to be difficult, and Congressional Republicans are backing away from Bush's Social Security proposals. Democrats have as yet to pay for their obstruction and lack of agenda. Bush's agenda is apparently ambitious enough that simply obstructing it is keeping the Democrats in decent shape for now.

It's possible that this stalemate could continue for the remainder of Bush's administration, but if I were a Democrat I'm not sure I'd want to count on that. Bush is one persistent fellow, and it may be that this is precisely the kind of situation in which he excels. The last thing I'd want to do is engage in a battle of endurance with him. He has staying power; he has supreme, unwavering confidence in his beliefs and proposals.

The one important thing that Bush doesn't have on his side is the Constitution. It's now or never, or the next 3.5 years or never for him. His endurance may not run out, but the Constitutional clock will.

Barnes makes a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger who can subvert the republican process and engage in direct democracy by putting his policy proposals in referenda. It's unclear exactly what Barnes thinks of referenda, but he seems to lament that Bush can't do what "the Governator" is doing. Nevertheless, Barnes may want to consider that what we need for energetic government is less rather than more direct democracy. Let's hear it for the end of the term limit, not for California's direct democracy.


Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

The end of the term limit? You'd rather Bill Clinton had been in the White House on 9/11?

9:26 AM  
Blogger John Coumarianos said...

Ah, yes, I was waiting for this question. I don't think Bill Clinton would have been in the White House after the first election following 9/11. Not only would he have been blamed for it, but he would have been blamed for the bad economy and stock market in ways that were difficult to pin on Bush.

Also, the founders didn't want a term limit because it stifled ambition or the office-holder's desire to be reelected. Reelection is reward for a job well done that appeals to the office-holder's pride or ambition. It's generally worse for the country that ambitious presidents can't see large projects through than it would have been to have Clinton in the White House on 9/11.

9:54 AM  
Blogger lindsey said...

I've long considered California's reliance on the referendum system to be evidence of how messed up that state is. Imo it's evidence of failure, not success. Legislators are supposed to impliment the will of the people, but, in order for that to happen in Ca., the people have to pass a referendum.

3:26 PM  

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