Matt Towery
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What a wacky world is politics. Just a few weeks ago it looked like the Bush administration and the U.S. Senate would be the drag on Republicans this November because of their tepid approach to immigration reform.

Then President Bush suddenly awakened from his zombie-like political sleep to post the best week of his second term so far.

Al Qaeda's Middle Eastern "bureau chief" was dispatched. Perhaps now he is off to enjoy the lovely host of virgins he and his ilk had said were promised him by his warped brand of Islam. It was a huge coup for the president.

Then Bush secretly winged his way to Iraq, where his well-received visit with troops was followed by a massive counterattack on Baghdad insurgents.

He even provided hope on illegal immigration by quickly mobilizing forces along the US-Mexico border.

Wouldn't it be fair now to expect the same overnight "flash" polls on President Bush's approval ratings that are a dime a dozen when he stubs his toe? Alas, they seemed nowhere to be found.

Such publicity may not matter. The clouds over the Bush administration have hung so dark and heavy for so long it's almost inevitable that they must lift to some degree and at some time, with polling numbers ascending with them.

Even the touted "big scandal" of the administration supposedly "outing" a former CIA "operative" is losing steam with the clearing of Karl Rove by prosecutors.

Could it be that George W. Bush's luck is finally turning around?

If so, his recovery in the polls will likely come in fits and starts. In war, good news is no news and most news is bad. It will remain the predominant sentiment of news-gatherers and pundits that a president with overall bad approval ratings is a man well worth keeping on the canvas.

But a sustained political recovery for Bush is possible. The key is for him to react to newfound popularity by reverting to the pre-9/11 humble Bush rather than remain the cocky, smirky chief executive he has too often seemed to be.

Just as the president looked to be rising from the dead, House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois announced that immigration reform will come only after a torturous negotiating process between the competing bills of the House and Senate. The GOP base prefers the House version, and the president likes the Senate one.

Most observers believe Hastert's decision means immigration reform with teeth probably won't bite its way into law in this election year.

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Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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