Paul  Weyrich

President George W. Bush set the record by not vetoing a single piece of legislation in his entire first term. Then in the first two years of his second term the President vetoed but a single bill. That, of course, made the record books. Now, it would seem, the Administration is issuing a position paper a day indicating if this bill or that reached his desk he would veto it. Better late than never. The Bush Administration has less than a year to veto bills because Congress will want to adjourn for the 2008 election. My guess is that Congress will stay in session fairly long, especially if it remains unpopular. Should Congress recover its popularity before election day it would adjourn sooner. But should it continue to remain less popular than President Bush it would remain in session, claiming to do the people’s business, until three weeks before the election or thereabouts. That would take the mind of the people off individual Congressmen and focus upon issues Congress would attempt to pass.

This President has a problem. Because he did not veto any bill for so long, he must establish credibility in the minds of the American public. His excuse for not vetoing bills for so long, by the way, was that he did not want to argue with the Republican-controlled Congress. Thus, he permitted Congress to get by with profligate spending. He also allowed Congress to pass other bills regulating the economy which he claimed were against Administration policy. Time and again the President drew a line in the sand and time and time again he kept moving the line to the point at which no one took him seriously. Unfortunately for this President, he no longer has needed credibility and he has a very short time to establish same.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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