This morning’s OP-ED from David Broder makes some interesting points. He has divided the Bush Presidency into four phases. I think he should have added a fifth.
In trying to gauge where things stand in our government after the political upheaval that has taken place, it helps to think back through the events that have shaped the Bush presidency. This is really the beginning of the fourth distinct phase of his tenure.
Bush I was defined by the equivocal election of 2000, the race between George Bush and Al Gore that lasted an extra 36 days until the Supreme Court finally put a stop to the Florida vote-counting.
I agree with Mr Broder’s analysis that by the summer of 2001 the Bush was beginning to show signs of losing the popularity he had managed to pull together. As I recall the news of that summer, people were pretty…upset might be too hard a word…but unhappy would probably fit. The talk of the political gossips was Bush’s summer “breaks”. The frat boy who never grew up. His approval rating was on the skids…
That changed dramatically — and Bush II began — on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, with the savage attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Bush said he realized at that moment that he had been summoned to answer the challenge of terrorism — and that defeating it was his overriding purpose as president.
Again, Broder hits the analysis on the head as a look at the chart referenced above proves. Bush was able to take the coming together of America after the attacks of 9/11 and turn them to his advantage in the political arena. By focusing almost exclusively on the terrorist attacks and using patriotism as a club against his political critics, Bush was able to enhance his parties standing in Congress.
Bush III began, not with an external event, but with what historians are likely to regard as the most fateful decision of his presidency, the decision to send American forces into Iraq. That war has dominated American policymaking and politics since. And as time has gone on, more and more Americans have come to believe that Bush’s decision was a mistake.
It is at this point that I disagree with Mr Broder. I feel he left out a seminal event in this Presidents history…Katrina. In my mind it was the sinking of New Orleans and the aftermath that started America questioning the compliancy of this President. Watching the Fall of 2005 unfold across the Gulf Coast with storm after storm and the totality of the failure of our governments response left many Americans afraid of more than the terrorist the Bush White House had been using as bogey men. I feel it was this debacle that led to the questioning of the direction this government was heading in all things…Iraq, social services, even health care.
Bush IV, I would argue, began just this month, when voters stripped the president and his party of control of the House and Senate and installed Democratic majorities in the Capitol.
Mr Broder asserts that this election will force the President to change the way he governs. I think Mr. Broder gives Mr Bush to much credit. I don’t think he can change the way he governs. His governing style is all about his lifestyle. He governs because he is entitled to by his heredity. The rules do not apply to George W Bush. He will win out in the end because the family friends and business associates will see to it that George W is taken care of.
Just look at what he has started this week. Re-nominating the same tired names that were voted down when he had a majority. Pushing the same agendas he couldn’t win before. Unable to tell the truth even to himself about the state of the nation and the world.
Do you feel safe now? I don’t, and truth be told I probably never will. But I know I will not feel safe nor will I be safe as long as this President is running this country. Will his successor be better? I do not see any way anyone could be worse for this country. But I am probably wrong on that…
Source: Broder: Hoping against hope for happy ending to Bush tenure | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle