Fred Barnes said it last night on Fox News: Bush may be low in popularity but high in power in Wash. In today’s WSJ Opinion Journal, he spells it out.
Mr. Bush knows how to win elections. And he knows how to drive his agenda, especially in Congress. Last winter, bills curbing class-action lawsuits and reforming bankruptcy law--both favorites of Mr. Bush--were enacted. Then, during a two-week span in July and August, he won congressional approval of the controversial Central America Free Trade Agreement, overdue energy legislation and a highway bill slimmed down to meet his specifications. The day Cafta passed, thanks to aggressive lobbying by Mr. Bush himself, his job rating was at 44% in the Gallup Poll, the lowest point of his presidency.
He has reason now to “feel burdened but still optimistic . . . politically bruised by his administration's response to Katrina but hardly crippled.” Supreme Court appointments that effect or restore a conservative, non-collectivist tilt; estate tax abolition that puts profits where they belong, at home and not in Washington; overall tax and immigration reform, etc.
Wash Post’s Dan Balz has a different “take,” as they say in Hipsville:
When terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, Americans came together in grief and resolve, rallying behind President Bush in an extraordinary show of national unity. [Blah blah blah] But when Hurricane Katrina hit last week, the opposite occurred, with Americans dividing along sharply partisan lines in their judgment of the president's and the federal government's response. [Blah blah blah]
His headline is “For Bush, a Deepening Divide — Katrina Crisis Brings No Repeat of 9/11 Bipartisanship.” Is the wish father to the thought here?
Hey, it’s all about bipartisanship, smooth sailing, COOPERATION WITH THOSE WONDERFUL DEMOCRATS. But can’t wonderful people be misguided too? There’s “deepening polarization of the electorate” that has left him “with no reservoir of good will among his political opponents.” RESERVOIR OF GOOD WILL? WHOM IS THIS FELLOW KIDDING?
He takes 1,029 words for this analysis. Barnes takes more but says more, going lighter on the grand fluffy statement. Anyhow, take a look. We (I) report, you decide.