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Monday, November 27, 2006

Presidential Prerogative: VETO

Three words guaranteed to make the far left's heads explode... Presidential Veto Power.

Wapo does an interesting piece about History offering survival tips for the President by offering comparisons.

It took Bill Clinton months to get his feet planted again after the 1994 defeat. But he did recover and went on to win reelection two years later. So too did Ronald Reagan bounce back from the 1986 midterm elections, which cost his party the Senate. As President Bush struggles to recover from a similar thrashing, his advisers are studying the Clinton and Reagan models for lessons to revive his presidency.

Historical comparisons are always fraught with peril, since each president faces his own distinct challenges and brings unique faculties and flaws to the task. But veterans of past administrations see patterns that offer hope even to badly weakened presidents such as Bush. Adversaries who assume that Bush has been permanently crippled by the Democratic takeover of Congress, they say, misunderstand the opportunities still available to him.

Both Reagan and Clinton found that the power of the bully pulpit still gave them an advantage over a Congress controlled by the other party. Both Reagan and Clinton used a mix of cooperation and confrontation, moving to the middle on selected issues to pass legislation while standing firm on others that touched on core principles. Both pounced when the other side overreached.

Later in the article Wapo points out that the Democrats should be careful about overreaching in certain areas.

At the same time, Bush may wait for the right moment to take on Democrats. He has issued only one veto in six years in office but would be eager to veto Democratic spending bills. "The question is if they want to test him on the veto," said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss strategy. "If I were them, I wouldn't. If they're trying to present themselves as the party of fiscal discipline," it would be a mistake to let a spending bill be vetoed.

The end of the article points to more comparisons between Bush and prior Presidents in the same position, as well as the fact that Bush still does and will hold the upper hand until 2008, when his presidency is over.

In the weeks since the Nov. 7 elections, Bush has already started down the paths forged by Reagan and Clinton. Just as Reagan fired Regan, Bush deferred to the Washington elite by ousting Rumsfeld and choosing Establishment favorite Robert M. Gates to replace him. He has left town to focus on foreign policy; he just got back from Asia and leaves today for Europe and the Middle East. By design or happenstance, he will have slept in the White House just 10 nights out of the first 25 after the elections.

Like Clinton, he has identified issues on which he thinks he can meet the opposition in the middle, including the minimum wage, education, immigration, energy and lobbying. But Bush has also signaled that he will fight over issues such as judicial nominations.

"Clinton had an imperative in '96 to get reelected," said Steve Elmendorf, a top House Democratic strategist at the time. "Bush, his imperative is more about his legacy. That gives him more running room to move to the center if he wants to and leave his party behind, because he doesn't have to run for reelection."

And yes, the Constitution gives him relevance. Now Bush's future depends on how he uses it. "You can never underestimate the power of the presidency because the president has the bully pulpit," said former representative Robert S. Walker (R-Pa.), a Gingrich ally. "And no matter how powerful you are on Capitol Hill, you can't really match that."

As I pointed out about the Iraq war, historians will determine whether it is a civil war or not, no matter what we, the news stations, the news papers or the politicans call it.... they will also determine the Legacy Bush leaves.

We can spin our wheels over and over trying to be "right" about things, but history very rarely pays attention to anything but final outcomes.

History will acknowledge the nature of our enemy, who was willing to fight it and who would rather cower in a corner to await further terrorists attacks.

History will determine whether Iraq was worth "winning" or whether it was a waste of our time.

History will determine these things using something that not many people these days understand.... the future. That is the advantage that historians have that we do not. They will be able to see what has happened AFTER all of this, we cannot see that now.

One thing that will determine what historians write about in the future history books will be whether we get attacked again on our soil. What led to it, what could have been done to stop it, who tried to stop it, who didn't, what kind of attack it is and whether we were prepared.

These things will play a major part in how history views us.

Others discussing this:
Blue Crab Boulevard.