Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Governing by Tantrum

"I veto, therefore I am" is the new theme of the Bush Administration.

In 1948, Harry Truman got to stay in the White House by railing against a Republican "do-nothing" Congress, and George W. Bush is now using the tactic in an effort to remain "relevant" as he prepares to leave the Oval Office.

"Congress has little to show for all the time that has gone by," he complained at his last press conference, a bizarre charge for a President who has vetoed Iraq appropriations bills, S-CHIP health insurance and this week is threatening to send back a water projects bill with enough bipartisan support to override his veto.

There is a kind of spoiled-rich-kid intransigence to the new Bush that is consistent with his behavior for six years when Republicans controlled both Houses and rubber-stamped whatever he wanted. Now, in the face of opposition, he is stamping his feet and threatening to hold his breath if he doesn't get his way.

"He may decide that all he wants to do is veto and stop progress," says Rep. Rahm Emanuel, head of the House Democratic Caucus. "But everybody will know who wants to change things, and who wants to keep them just the way they are."

But if Congressional Democrats are confident that voters will make that distinction next year, they should look closely at their approval ratings, which are lower than the President's.

To dramatize his claims about a do-nothing Congress, Harry Truman had called a special session on what was known as "Turnip Planting Day" in Missouri. His opponents obliged with inaction and made his point.

If today's Democrats want to avoid looking like turnips in '08, they had better start moving now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Dems need to show some spine! Pelosi just rolled over on Bush's AG nominee. Any they wonder why their ratings are so low!

By the way, I read your blog every day and really appreciate your insight and perspective.