Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We constantly hear that Bush is losing support on Capitol Hill, that Republicans there are in a rebellion against him. A Novak column some time back, the source of extensive gloating in the left blogosphere, stated, "In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment." An opinion piece in yesterday's WaPo, repeating what seems to be conventional wisdom these days, said:
Although congressional aides and GOP strategists said it was unfair to blame Bush alone, the collapse of the immigration bill late Thursday was a reflection of the weakened state of his presidency. Those aides said the bill's troubles were exacerbated by Bush's deteriorating relations with congressional Republicans and his inability to combat an unexpectedly fierce attack on the bill by grass-roots conservatives.
"This is sort of what his life is going to be like for the rest of his term," veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins said. "There are Republicans defecting from him now. He's not going to have any great success on anything that's controversial."
And yet we still see almost no effects of this in actual voting behavior of Republicans in Congress. In yesterday's Gonzalez vote, only 7 GOP senators crossed the line. Four of them [Sununu(NH), Coleman(MN), Smith(OR), Collins(ME)] are running in 2008 in states where their party label is likely to be a liability. The other three [ Hagel(NE), Specter(PA), Snowe(ME)] are in the very small club of Republicans who regularly avoid traveling in lockstep, although that's generally just where they can be found when it really matters. Indeed, with McCain having quit and Chafee gone, they are the whole club. From the core of the party, not even one defection. And party loyalty was even more solid in the recent votes on Iraq.
Novak's latest column is again about Republican anger at Bush, much of which he blames on the choice to keep Gonzales. There aren't even key graphs to quote, the whole thing rips Bush and insists that Republicans are furious. Not so furious they're willing to vote against him (except by going to his right, as on immigration), but mighty furious. Clearly a pattern is emerging of Republicans claiming 'distance' from Bush because they're now ready to criticize him publicly, although they continue to vote as loyal Bushies.
The crunch point will be the votes on Iraq coming in and after September. For all the talk that there will be a revolt and Bush will have to compromise or have his vetoes overridden, I think the votes will stay for Bush to do just as he likes.