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HISTORICAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK - "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

PRESIDENT BUSH AND THE 110TH CONGRESS

The new Democrat controlled Congress is in the midst of the much touted , "100 hours, " in which the House is passing their agenda without following usual Committee procedure by sending legislation directly to the House floor thus preventing debate or revision by Republicans. As the 110th Congress begins the 2007 legislative term there is a considerable amount of talk and speculation as to whether President Bush and this Congress will be able to achieve anything or complete gridlock will occur because of the difference in ideologies. Much of the capability of achievement will depend on several factors not the least of which is the ability of the President to shape policy with a Congress that is in many ways polar opposite to his agenda. The question of whether the President will compromise in order to get along with House and Senate leadership or will he work the Congress in order to press for his agenda is one that is hanging heavily on policy that is developing and will be developed during the course of the next two years and especially 2007 as the precedence will be set by actions taken early in this Congress. Can Bush get anything passed ? There are several possibilities and several more obstacles that will determine whether he is a President who is politically viable in his last two years or a two year lame duck.

The Reagan Example - With the exception of the Senate for the first two years of the Reagan Presidency, President Reagan had to contend with a Democrat Congress yet despite this fact was able to pass much if not most of his agenda during his eight years in the White House. Reagan faced a very partisan Congress with the likes of , "Tip, " O'Neal as Speaker of the House and Robert Byrd as Senate Majority Leader. Most Democrats viewed Reagan as an inept President and as such greatly underestimated his leadership and his political savvy which gave him an advantage early in his Presidency but as time continued they learned not to take Reagan for granted and fully understood his steadfast commitment to policy and the Reagan agenda along with his excellent leadership. President Reagan not only steadfastly stood his ground with Congress but he put together a coalition of moderate to conservative leaning Democrats in both chambers of the Congress who agreed with much of his agenda and with the Republican Minority used this coalition to push, "Reaganism, " through an opposing Congress. Does President Bush have the strength of leadership to do the same with the 110th Congress ? One thing that Bush has proven over the last six years is that he is a man of principle and does not waver from his convictions and his ideological beliefs. On the other hand like his father he has a tendency to compromise in certain situations to express a spirit of bipartisanship which has also come back to bite him with Democrats that go back on their word. One prime example is the , "No Child Left Behind, " act that Bush sponsored with the help of Ted, "the swimmer, " Kennedy. Since the passage of this bad legislation Kennedy has used its failure to lamblast Bush on education though he was just as responsible for its passage and implementation. If Bush on the other hand can follow the Reagan example and court the so called, "blue dog Democrats, " who campaigned on a more conservative platform such as, anti abortion and pro gun etc, creating a coalition for passage of his agenda his last two years can be productive. If he believes that his only course of action is to work with the present leadership who have made it clear that they disagree with virtual all that the President has done and wants to do he will find himself either having to continually compromise or constantly use the VETO stamp causing gridlock and nothing will be accomplished over the next two years. Either way the last mentioned course makes Bush a two year lame duck President.

The Obstacles - The two main obstacles to a Bush Congressional, "blue dog, " coalition are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Both fully believe along with the rest of the new leadership that the 2006 election was a mandate for their agenda rather than what it truly was a vote of disappointment in the GOP. In other words the voters fired Republicans but did not actually hire Democrats but since voting for a Democrat was the only way to fire a Republican the Democrats took over. Because they believe they have a mandate they will try to do as the House is doing in the first 100 hours and force through their liberal agenda. If the President can put together the , "blue dog, " coalition then he should be able to a certain extent shape legislation but that is also where the next Pelosi/Reid obstacle comes in. Both shaped the course of the 2006 election for Democrats. With a combination of their obstructionist actions,( in the Senate especially), to all GOP legislation, their working of the liberal media with falsehoods and exaggerations and fielding candidates that the voters would see as more conservative, both Congressional leaders are expecting payola and loyalty from the rookies they helped to elect. Pelosi and Reid will make it very clear to the new crop in both chambers that they owe their seat to the leadership and as such they will be expected to vote accordingly as legislation is put forth by the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. Whether these, "blue dogs, " are more interested in their political future or actually fulfilling campaign promises that are somewhat different than the agenda of the leadership will greatly determine whether Bush can create a coalition that will allow him to shape legislation his direction.

Presidential leadership on the part of Bush will be necessary to drive any agenda that Bush wants to field. Pelosi has already arrogantly threatened Bush concerning the addition of more troops in Iraq as she stated on one of last Sunday's talking head shows that he had better have good justification for the increase because Congress held the purse strings and while they, "support the troops, "( which includes by the way providing the necessary funds for their mission and protection), she intimated that she would use a lack of appropriations for the war to force the hand of the President. Strength of leadership reminding her that he is the President and not cowing to threats like this one will also go along way in allowing the new crop to vote their conscience and not just follow the herd because the leaders tell them they must. Working with an opposition Congress does not mean compromise nor gridlock. President Reagan proved it in the eighties and President Bush has an opportunity to repeat Reagan's success if he will but do it!

Ken Taylor

6 Comments:

Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post!

Looking at the overall picture, the Democrats who occupy the House and Senate for the next two years need President Bush as much as President Bush needs them if they want to get anything done at all.

I am guessing both are going to comprimise.

Of course as usual there will be alot of grandstanding, and rhetoric slung, but at the end of the day the Democrats dont want to look "Weak" or they know they wont be around 2 years from now.

As for Ted Kennedy, he is a lower life form. Almost non-human. He will be making most of the noise on Capitol Hill, but there are ways to get around that fat ass, drunk, murdering, bastard!

Oh, did I mention I dont like Teddy?

6:30 PM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, thousands dead in Iraq for no reason whatsoever, no link to 9/11, war without end, instability threatened to the nation's oil supply, and Ted Kennedy is the problem.

R-i-i-i-ght....

12:50 PM, January 11, 2007  
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