President Bush is a lucky man. Seldom has a president found himself in more political trouble that he substantially has the power in his own hands to fix than does President Bush currently.
While the vagaries of the Iraq war are not likely to respond to any quick presidential actions, the president can promptly and dramatically reverse the growing alienation of his conservative base -- both in Washington and around the country.
Those who claim that it is only Washington eggheads and activists who are disillusioned, misunderstand and underestimate the consequences of such Washington-based problems. The current Washington Republican negativity to President Bush is as a stone thrown into a lake -- it will ripple outward until it causes waves on the distant shores of the heartland.
The problem is not merely with us obstreperous and self-important conservative columnists and pundits -- though even our unloved tribe can cause measurable damage.
More importantly, the president is perilously close to duplicating the estrangement his father experienced from his congressional allies when G.H.W.Bush raised taxes in 1990. Just a year out from congressional elections, Republican congressmen and senators are in the process of making the practical judgment whether to distance themselves from the president to save their skins. I don't blame them. (After all, it's not as if he is currently championing their principles and policies domestically.)
If they decide in the affirmative, their constituents will hear criticisms rather than support of the president for the next 12 months. The most dangerous time for any politician is not when his opponents say rude things about him, but when his own partymen do. They will start out respectfully disagreeing, but will build to more flagrant rhetoric as their Democratic Party opponents start raising and spending more money and start rising in the polls.
The time for the president to bring his worried allies back into the fold is now -- and bold action is required.
Of course no actions are without their dissents and downsides. But I believe four actions could rally the troops to a year of loyal and mostly principled partisan battle on behalf of their president.
First, withdraw the unfortunate nomination of Miss Miers. Not only is there almost no enthusiasm for her nomination, I have never seen as much outright hostility and even anger at an appointment from a president's own party. Replace her with a highly qualified, full-blooded, proven conservative nominee (any number of his appointments to the courts of appeal will do).
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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