I don’t believe it for a minute but that’s Dick Meyers’ opinion. First his accusations:
Short of another disaster on the scale of 9/11, George Bush no longer has the power, credibility or ability to effectively govern for the rest of his term in office. Contrary to what you hear on television, governing remains more important than campaigning. Government is more important than elections, to the extent the two can be differentiated anymore.
Now for his predictions:
The tax cuts that oozed through Congress last week may well be his last “significant” piece of domestic legislation; I put quotations around significant because they are, in fact temporary. The entire menu of Bush tax tinkering is set to expire in 2010 on someone else’s watch, an apt metaphor for this administration. The Bush administration is now locked in a triple-hammer hold that would defeat Houdini.
That’s a bad prediction, Dick, especially with immigration reform likely to pass the Senate this week. Once it gets to conference committee and the differences are ironed out, expect it to pass the House and Senate and a signing ceremony every bit as grand, if not more extravagant, as this morning’s tax cut signing ceremony.
Earlier today, I wrote that OPEC was expecting oil surpluses for the rest of the year. If that happens, gas prices will come down, though not dramatically.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is introducing his cabinet to the Parliament this weekend, too. al-Maliki has promised to crack down on the militias causing the sectarian violence as his government’s first priority. If the training keeps picking up steam and they get the militias reigned in, that means meaningful troop withdrawals become possible.
Factor all those things together and Republicans will be in good shape by November.
Admittedly, there’s been a stagnation in Washington for most of the past year. That’s changing dramatically, partially because the President is leading again. Another component to the rebound is his staking out a logical solid position on immigration reform. While the GOP hardliners are carping about it right now, I suspect that alot of people will like the plan.
Still another ‘component’ of the rebound will be Tony Snow’s performance as press secretary. Tony’s so much different than Scott McClellan. Don’t underestimate the power of clearly communicated conservative goals, which is Tony’s specialty.
After getting more conservative judges confirmed this summer, expect conservatives to be reminded why having George Bush in office is a positive thing. Expect the confirmation fo these judges to be a big lift to the GOP, too.
Faced with his unpopularity, the Republican Party, quite naturally, is fighting. Senate and House Republicans are in almost open warfare. The House is hawkish and loud on immigration policy, the Senate dovish and conciliatory. House Leader John Boehner called Leader Frist’s call for a $100 gas rebate “insulting,” a week after Speaker Hastert dissed General Hayden, the president’s choice for the CIA. In February, the House shafted both the Senate and the House by killing the Dubai ports deal.
Meyer is right that there was a string of issues that caused some intraparty infighting. His mistake comes in thinking that that’s a permanent thing. Now that meaningful legislation is being worked on and judges are about to get confirmed, that infighting will soon be in the GOP’s rear-view mirror.
That isn’t to say that all bickering will be a thing of the past. Clearly, that won’t be the case, especially in the case of immigration reform. Expect that legislation to be finished and off the table by the time the President and Congress take their summer vacations. Once that’s off the table, expect a more harmonious GOP.
The vaunted brilliance and corporate organization of Rove/Bush Inc. has been pretty much blown away in the second term. Rove is fighting off an indictment. From the Dubai deal to the Harriet Miers death march, the White House’s political ear seems to be getting tinnier.
Frankly, this doesn’t give Tony Snow much credit. While Rove is still the Architect, Tony just came from talk radio, where he got in touch with the pulse of the conservative movement on a daily basis. That isn’t to be underestimated, especially right now.
Tony was on Hugh’s show tonight. Here’s the most noteworthy exchange:
HH: Now given that, on the night of the president’s address, no sooner was he done than dozens of blogs were chewing up what he had to say. How does the White House press office deal with a 24/7 cycle that is relentless, Tony Snow?
TS: We are in the process of designating people to sort of do blog work. Because…that is one of the things I am doing at the press office is to get us up on the new media, and so I still haven’t finished that task, but I am going to start designating people to keep an eye out on certain blogs so we can figure out an effective strategy because, as you know, the great thing about a blog is that if you get some information out, the blogs are useful not only for information but also for various analyses. You get it into the bloodstream and boom, people start linking all across the universe and it is like one of those pictures of a crack in the ice, it just spiderwebs everywhere, only it does it at the speed of light…
That bit of news alone should get conservatives’ attention in a heartbeat. This is telling them that (a) their views are being paid attention to and (b) the White House will be responding to the right blogosphere.
Cross-posted at California Conservative