18 June 2005

President Bush achieves lame duck status

It's official. George W. Bush is a lame duck president. He has completely lost control of the leadership in Washington, and even his fellow Republican are throwing him overboard. It looks as though it is going to be a long 3-1/2 years for the president.

Last night, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the Henry J. Hyde United Nations Reform Act, House Resolution 2745, which would gut funding from the United Nations if a certain number of reforms are not made within the international organization. Earlier this week, the Bush administration strongly opposed this bill, arguing that such a vote would undermine the President's ability to conduct foreign policy. Bush urged the House to reject the legislation.

The response from House Republicans - "you're not our leader anymore." Even after taking $23 million in campaign funds from the President during a GOP fundraiser earlier this week, House Republicans rebuffed the leader of their party. H.R. 2745 passed last night by a vote of 221-184, with only 7 Republicans siding with President Bush. Even compromise legislation offered by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California 12th), which would have given Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discretion to withhold the funding, was soundly rejected by House Republicans.

This latest defeat for Bush comes on the heels of other high-profile embarrassments for the White House. The White House was publicly humiliated when seven moderate Republicans, led by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), spearheaded a deal with Senate Democrats on judicial nominees, essentially killing the nominations of at least two Bush nominees. This deal angered conservative activists and embarrassed the president.

Most significantly, President Bush has been forced into a corner over stem cell research, threatening to exercise his first veto on legislation weakening his stringent standards on this area of scientific research. The House bucked the President by passing stem cell legislation, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) has promised a full senate vote by the end of July. Conservative lawmakers, like Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) have pledged to filibuster the bill, but proponents of the legislation claim that they have more than the 60 votes need to end debate. Additionally, former first lady Nancy Reagan is lobbying heavily for the bill to weaken Bush's stem cell research standards.

As right-wing columnist Bob Novak pointed out, Bush has faced defeat after defeat at the hands of his own party. While the president likes to portray the Democrats as the "Party of No," it is actually the Republicans that have torpedoed his legislative agenda and undercut his ability to lead. Despite the president's warning, Senate Republicans passed a highway spending bill that exceed the maximum amount designated by the Bush administration. The nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations was significantly sidetracked by Republican Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Senator Brownback has placed a hold on the nomination of Julie Finley as ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) because of her support of abortion rights. The CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), which must be ratified by Congress, is on life-support and its fate is uncertain. And Bush's social security reform appears to be dead-on-arrival, with prominent Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Congressman E. Clay Shaw (R-Florida 22nd) offering competing proposals, virtually pulling the rug out from under President Bush.

President Bush has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Washington. He gets no respect from anyone. Most of his legislative priorities are doomed or close to it. While the president whines about obstructionism by the Democrats, it is in fact his own party that has turned on him. And based on recent polls, the American people have turned on him too.

2 Comments:

Anonymous tdog said...

Great post. Bush is losing control and that is good news for America. With the Republicans stabbing him in the back, it will make the next 3 1/2 years fly by.

8:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points. The Democrats still need to fight harder. I saw the response on the DNC blog to this post, and he made a good point. Bush still got too many of his activist judges through. Again, the Democrats need to fight harder!

9:22:00 PM  

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