One year ago at this time the White House was claiming they had a mandate after the November 2004 elections. A series of legislative proposals were lined up (starting with Social Security reform) and all Congress had to do was insure that the troops were ready to cast their votes. All was well in the land of George Bush.
But history got in the way of “the mandate” and the wheels came off the cart. Most amazing of all is the fact that the problems were all self-inflicted by Bush as he mixed hubris, a disdain for the long hours of hard work reading background papers, and contempt for the process of government all together and walked into the Oval Office.
Second terms are not kind to Presidents, which makes me wonder often why there is such a relentless urge to be re-elected. In Bush’s case all the excesses from his first term will be dealt with by the public and Congress that either has had enough chicanery, or knows a lame duck when they see one.
As soon as Congress returns in January the wheels of a massive investigation will start to ferret out the truth behind the government eavesdropping on the American public. Republicans understand the issue, and some sense the time is at hand to show independence from the Bush Administration. With the 2006 elections looming Bush can expect few friends to cover his rear flank.
But Congress needs to be mindful that they too have a very exposed side and face many bad days as Jack Abramoff makes a deal with the federal prosecutor, thus insuring a lighter sentence for himself but also indictments of powerful members of Congress. Most will be Republicans, but Democrats were also lining up at the famed lobbyist’s money trough. Tom Delay will not be alone with his famous mug shot, though I doubt any others will be quite so oiled up when posing for their photo.
In addition the White House knows that the CIA leak investigation is still ongoing and Karl Rove is still in the center of a legal storm. His indictment (and I have to think from the information we now know) is forthcoming.
And these are only a few stories that the White House will have to deal with this year. All of them are the results of excess and over-reaching beyond the Constitution and legal parameters that all office holders promise to uphold. It is amazing that old lessons are never learned.
Really, why watch Law and Order in 2006 when we have George Bush and his cronies every night on the news and every morning above the fold in our morning papers?
But how sad, once again, for the political process and for those who do play by the rules and hope for a better America. America and the world need a strong and sure-footed president. We all suffer when that is not the case.
Together we will watch it all unfold in 2006.