With President Bush's approval ratings languishing below 40 percent, and with only 30 percent in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll saying the country is on the right track, this administration appears lost in the woods.
National Journal, the popular Washington policy wonk weekly, quotes Republican consultant Charlie Black saying "I don't think there's anything on the horizon that gets them out of the ditch they're in."
Reaching for a sports metaphor, I would say the game Bush is now playing is more like golf than football. There is no opponent here. The Democrats have no ideas or proposals that are countering anything the president has put forward. No lights are on at all in the Democratic Party. The Bush administration is losing a battle with itself and, if I may be so bold, I think this struggle is taking place in the Oval Office.
The president laid a wreath in the Capitol Rotunda at the historic public viewing of Rosa Parks' casket. I wonder if he considered then that there might be something in the story of this great and humble woman that might help him in his current political struggles.
I think there is a lesson and that lesson is that one person with courage, motivated by principles and not by fear, can change the world. If this was true of a poor black seamstress in Alabama in the 1950s, how much more so must it must be true for the president of the United States.
Where the president is showing conviction, in our mission overseas and in Iraq, the nation is generally weathering the storm and supporting him.
However, the domestic front is a disaster. In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 83 percent of Republicans say that Bush's policies have been positive for national security. But on domestic issues, there is not one area that garners 50 percent support from members of the president's own party.
Many pundits have been questioning the president's conservative beliefs. Don't include me among them.
My proof is that his first instincts on big issues have been generally correct. The problem has been, for whatever reason, an absence of will to fight for these convictions.
The beginning of a string a cave-ins started in the first term when the administration allowed choice and vouchers to be stripped out of the No Child Left Behind legislation.