Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Will today bring the end of the Bush presidency?

David Corn predicts the end of the Bush presidency if the Democrats can carry either the House or the Senate today. He writes in the Guardian:

If the Democrats win one of either houses of Congress...

• It will be the end of the Bush presidency - ertainly in spirit, if not in action, for George W Bush will still be calling the shots in Iraq and elsewhere. Bush has made the Iraq war the central element of his presidency. It was a choice; this war was not imposed upon him. He has argued (for years now) that the war was essential for the survival of the United States. But a Democratic victory in Congress would signal - as polls already show - that the American public rejects this notion. That is quite a dramatic development: the public disagreeing (strongly) with the commander in chief about a fundamental issue.

The Bush presidency is not entirely based upon the Iraq war. There's Bush's refusal to do anything significant to redress global warming; his reckless mismanagement of the federal government's response to of Hurricane Katrina; his attempt to introduce privatization into the Social Security program; his tax cuts that were tilted toward the wealthy; and his conservative Supreme Court picks.

But this election is clearly mostly about Iraq. A Democratic triumph would undermine the leading raison d'etre of the administration. It would squarely place Bush at odds with the American public and with at least one body of Congress. The White House will no longer be able to act so imperiously - which will truly cramp its style…

• Democrats will get a chance to prove their public image. This election has been a contest of Bush and his war versus Anything Else. In the campaign, the Republicans have failed far more than the Democrats have succeeded. The overall Democratic strategy was simple: when your opponent is going up in flames, stand back and watch. But should the Democrats win, the spotlight will shift toward them.

Though pundits routinely say the Democrats have promoted no ideas this campaign season, that's not quite true. The House Democrats have listed what legislation they would quickly bring to a vote if they come into power. Those bills include measures to raise the minimum wage, set a timetable for a phased withdrawal from Iraq, increase homeland security funding, freeze the congressional pay raise, make college tuition tax deductible, end tax breaks for big oil companies, permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and allow the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

If House Democrats can indeed pass several of these bills - even if the measures are then blocked in a Republican-controlled Senate - they can show the public they do stand for something other than Bush-criticism and possibly shift the political playing field to their advantage for the 2008 elections. …

• Rightwing activists are going to have to decide whether to stick with Bush or to blame him for screwing up. ..

• Leftwing conspiracy theorists - who believe that Bush was somehow connected to 9/11 or that the Republicans stole the 2004 campaign by rigging computerized voting machines - are going to have to rethink their view that the Bush-Cheney crew is an all-powerful, evil cabal capable of thwarting the public will with a snap of the fingers. After all, the White House mounted no true October (or November) Surprise - such as the capture of Osama bin Laden. If the Republicans are not able to win this all-important election to save Bush's presidency, lefties might have to give up their belief that Karl Rove's GOP can - and will - do anything to win, no matter the legality or probity. It might be hard for Bush critics to part with such a firmly held idea, but for most left-of-center Americans, it will be worth it.

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