Matt Spetalnick writes in Reuters:
With George W. Bush struggling to stay relevant in his final 22
months in the White House, his administration is looking more and more
like the incredible shrinking presidency.
He finds himself increasingly hemmed in by public approval ratings
stuck in the low 30 percent range, a hostile Democratic majority in
Congress and an unpopular war that has eroded his credibility at home
“The real danger is that the president becomes politically irrelevant,
that he presides instead of leads,” said Terry Madonna, a political
scientist at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.
As I see it, what Madonna fears has always already been the case. From the beginning of his presidency Bush has acted more like a monarch than an elected representative of the people of these United States. Unlike Truman, who understood the role of president was something more like a caretaker, a temporary trusteeship that, when concluded, will be returned to the hands of the people he was elected to serve, Bush’s regal triumphalism looks far more like that of a crowned head of state than an elected president. Perhaps this is, in part, due to the fact that he was not the peoples’ choice in 2000, rather he was the selection of the magistrates of the Supreme Court. As president select it is not hard to imagine how or why Bush worked all the harder to solidify his very shaky position. The problem, as nearly 70% of Americans now believe, is that he got it all wrong. His policies on education, welfare, and war have been disastrous. The Bush spending policy has turned a Clinton budget surplus into the greatest deficit this nation has ever faced. My grandchildren will be paying the price for the Bush budget for many years after I am long dead. What more harm can come to this nation while Bush retains his authority.
Last week we got a glimpse of his continued arrogance. His appointment of two ambassadorships using the recess appointment when it was clear that the Senate had clear reservations about these appointments is just another case of Bush disregard for the Constitution. Oh sure, the recess appointment is a loophole but isn’t it the Republicans that are on the warpath to close these loopholes? Oops, I forgot, only when the loopholes cause grief to Democrats. When they reward Republican friends of the president, now that must be a different story.