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  1. #1
    tommywho70x Guest

    Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term

    This is a very interesting report that asks a really important question about how G-dubya will respond to these mid-term crises:

    Will he be like Nixon and like his predecessor, go down with the ship or like Reagan, who cleaned house and replaced people that were able to help him salvage the rest of his term.


    Posted 10/31/2005 12:20 AM

    Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term
    By Susan Page and Judy Keen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON An aide slipped President Bush a note during a staff meeting in the Oval Office on Friday morning with the news: Vice President Cheney's chief of staff would be indicted in the CIA leak case the terrible end of a very bad week.

    President Bush hopes to regain equilibrium by focusing on issues he believes Americans outside Washington care most about.
    Susan Walsh, AP

    After fumbling the nomination of a Supreme Court justice and defending an unpopular war that has now cost more than 2,000 American lives, Bush finds his presidency at a new low. A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows that a solid majority of Americans, 55%, now judge Bush's presidency to be a failure. (Related: Complete poll results)

    But his comeback strategy begins Monday.

    Bush left Friday for Camp David with his mind almost made up about his next Supreme Court pick. An announcement as early as Monday aims to win back conservatives dismayed by his failed choice of White House counsel Harriet Miers. On Tuesday, he's scheduled to unveil a plan for combating a threatened pandemic of avian flu, an effort to demonstrate that his administration learned lessons from its faltering response to Hurricane Katrina.

    But some outside the White House including senators from both parties and veterans of previous presidential staffs question whether Bush is prepared to order the far-reaching changes that presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton made after encountering serious setbacks in their second terms.

    "The real question for President Bush is going to be: Is he going to be like (Richard) Nixon hunker down, get into the bunker, admit no mistakes," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on CBS' Face the Nation, "or, like Reagan, who actually admitted mistakes, did a mid-course correction and brought in new people, bipartisan people, people above ethical reproach, into the White House."

    Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, a Republican, said on Fox News Sunday that Bush should be on the lookout for "new blood, new energy, qualified staff, new people in the administration."

    White House aides say Bush hopes to regain equilibrium by focusing on issues he believes Americans outside Washington care most about: the economy, Iraq, immigration and the bird flu.

    "A lot of the issues that we're going to be dealing with ... affect the day-to-day realities of people outside the Beltway," says Nicolle Wallace, the White House communications director.

    "We'll be going around the (media) filter to communicate directly with the American people about the things they care about."

    Four presidential aides say there are no plans for dramatic policy shifts, staff shake-ups or public mea culpas. The aides declined to speak on the record because they aren't authorized to discuss internal affairs. Two described the scene at Friday's meeting when the president learned what special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald would do.

    "An investigation lasting for almost two years is the equivalent of having a dagger dangling over you," Bush counselor Dan Bartlett says. "We are all saddened (about the indictment of Cheney aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby) and understand the seriousness of the charges brought forth by the special prosecutor, but it does give us an opportunity now to look forward."

    But the skeptics note that Bush's plans to focus on immigration reform and a tax overhaul and to win confirmation of a conservative Supreme Court nominee would be difficult even for a president at the apex of his strength.

    And they caution that rebuilding support among the public will take more than rhetoric and resolve. It will, they say, take results.

    "It's difficult to know where President Bush goes for a major national or international initiative right now an initiative he can actually achieve," says David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents. He calls the situation "a Category 4 storm for the Bush White House."

    Second-term curse?

    Every second-term president since Dwight Eisenhower has faced some sort of catastrophe. But analysts describe Bush's quandary as harder to fix than the scandals that raised questions about Reagan's White House management and Clinton's personal behavior.

    "With Clinton, people said, 'I may not want to be married to him, but I think he's doing a good job,' " Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says. "In Bush's case, they're saying, 'The job he's doing is what I'm having trouble with.' "

    Previous presidents such as Nixon, Reagan and Clinton have faced serious setbacks in their second terms. They had mixed success in scoring legislative and foreign policy victories afterward.
    President Year re-elected Setback Afterward
    Richard Nixon 1972 Watergate break-in in June 1972; Senate hearings began in May 1973; top White House aides indicted in early 1974. Moved toward establishing formal diplomatic relations with China in May 1973. As impeachment loomed, he resigned in August 1974.
    Ronald Reagan 1984 Secret arms sales to Iran exposed in November 1986; former White House aides indicted in Iran-contra scandal in March 1988. Signed nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union in December 1987 and proposed more ambitious START pact, signed in 1991 by his successor.
    Bill Clinton 1996 Affair with Monica Lewinsky exposed in January 1998. House impeached Clinton in December 1998 on perjury and obstruction charges; acquitted by Senate in February 1999. Balanced federal budget in 1999 for first time in 30 years. Boosted peace process in Northern Ireland. Pushed for and joined NATO military action in Bosnia in 1999.
    Source: USA TODAY research

    For Bush, the setbacks that have eroded his public support and political clout relate to developments that affect Americans' daily lives: Uncertainty whether the government will be there to help if a natural disaster strikes. Violence being faced by 159,000 U.S. troops on duty in Iraq. The price being paid for gasoline and home heating oil.

    Financial pressures and economic unease are one reason Bush's ratings have fallen by 10 percentage points since he was inaugurated in January.

    An analysis of 10 USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Polls six surveys taken between the election and inauguration and four taken in recent weeks shows the drop has been particularly precipitous among the sort of working-class voters Reagan helped draw to the GOP. Bush's standing has fallen by 15 points among those who have only a high school education and by 14 points among those who earn between $20,000 and $30,000 a year.

    In the USA TODAY poll taken this weekend, Bush's approval rating is 41%. That is lower than Reagan's standing at any time during the Iran-contra controversy or Clinton's rating during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

    When Gallup asked in 1993 whether the first President Bush's tenure was a success or failure, 53% called it a success even though he had been defeated for re-election a year before. During Clinton's presidency, a majority never called his tenure a failure. Only once, after the health care debacle in 1994, did a plurality say it was a failure, by 50%-44%.

    In January 1999, after he had been impeached by the House and was awaiting a Senate trial, 71% called Clinton's tenure a success.

    But in August, by 51%-47%, those surveyed by USA TODAY called the current Bush presidency a failure. That proportion grew to 55%-42% in the poll over the weekend.

    The finding is consistent with a survey taken this month by the Pew Research Center. In that poll, for the first time since Bush took office in 2001, a plurality of Americans said that in the long run he will be viewed as an unsuccessful president. Just one in four said Bush would be seen as successful.


  2. #2
    tommywho70x Guest

    Re: Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term


    The USA TODAY poll found little optimism that Bush's turnaround strategy would succeed. By 55%-41%, those surveyed said the remaining three years of Bush's presidency would be a failure.

    He has been on the defensive for nearly three months now ever since he went on vacation in August only to be bedeviled by Cindy Sheehan's anti-war protest near his ranch and then by Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Gulf Coast.

    "He's just had a series of awful bad breaks and bad news," says Charlie Black, a former Reagan aide who is close to the Bush White House. "You work your way out of this a little at a time. You try to stay on a positive agenda, addressing the issues that are on the minds of the average American."

    There were feelings of relief at the White House on Friday, the aides said. Before the indictment was announced, because of fears that they would be called to testify, they held no crisis-management meetings on the probe and were afraid to discuss it among themselves.

    And while Libby was an important figure in the White House, deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, Bush's most influential aide, was not charged.

    Americans want to see their government succeed in addressing challenges such as reforming immigration and preventing a flu pandemic, Bartlett says. Bush's focus on those matters is meant to "demonstrate that the government is fulfilling its essential responsibilities both in execution and emphasis."

    The State of the Union address Bush will deliver in three months is already in the works. Aides say it will give him a chance to reinvigorate his policy agenda before next fall's congressional elections.

    "There is unity within the party about the broad goals we want to accomplish, and we have an opposition which is terribly fractured," says Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee. "The president is the first since Lyndon Johnson to enter his second term with a majority in Congress. There's still tremendous energy in the executive (branch) and an energetic agenda."

    Bush's response when things turned sour in the 2000 campaign indicates he's unlikely to shake up his staff. After his devastating loss to Sen. John McCain in the New Hampshire primary, Bush met with his aides, including several who still work for him, and told them no one would be fired. He asked them to pull together and work harder.

    Bush's team "always steps up to the plate when their backs are against the wall," says Mary Matalin, a former Cheney counselor.

    "This president doesn't dance in the end zone when things are good, doesn't throw in the towel when things are bad," says Mark McKinnon, media director in Bush's presidential campaigns. He predicts: "Most of the madness is behind us."

    Bush's decision not to make wholesale changes among his top advisers could be a mistake, says Leon Panetta, who was brought in as Clinton's chief of staff during a crisis in his first term, over his health care plan.

    "He needs to take action, to shake things up," Panetta says of Bush. Particularly during a second term, when the advisers who have been with you from the beginning may be battered, presidents need "new people with some new ideas and new energy," he says.

    Rove's presence could be problematic, Panetta adds. "This cloud is still going to be over his head."

    History provides some comfort for Bush: Modern-day predecessors have managed to recover during second terms. While Nixon resigned in disgrace, Reagan ended his tenure with an approval rating of 63%, Clinton with one of 59%.

    Landscape could improve

    For Bush, the landscape may also improve, even in time for next year's congressional elections.

    "You can imagine a scenario where the economy perks up, gas prices come down a bit, the rebuilding gets underway in the Gulf Coast," says Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego. His study of Bush's presidency, A Divider Not a Uniter, is being published in February.

    "Maybe Osama bin Laden is caught. The Iraqis have another election and seem to have a government in place and some progress seems to be visible on the war front."

    But there's no assurance of that, Jacobson notes. After second-term setbacks, none of Bush's modern predecessors managed to score major victories on the domestic front. Reagan's biggest domestic achievement of his second term, tax simplification, was enacted before the Iran-contra scandal erupted. Clinton's hopes of reaching a deal with Republicans to ensure the long-term solvency of Medicare were abandoned when he was forced to rely on liberal Democrats to defend him during impeachment.

    All of them turned their energies to foreign policy. Nixon built on his opening to China. Reagan negotiated nuclear arms agreements with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Clinton made a major effort to broker an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on settlements, though he ultimately failed.

    And Bush? He has little choice but to focus on the situation in Iraq. And he leaves town again on Thursday. Destination: South America.

    Copyright 2005 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

  3. #3
    umdkook Guest

    Re: Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term

    i think teh only things that can change his presidency to be considered a success, at least as a whole in these types of polls, are things that are not in his control.

    osama bin laden caught, Al queda goes down in flames, US pull out of Iraq in relative peace, gas not rise up over 3 dollars again.

    of course, Americans have extremly short memories, so maybe something as simple as catching Bin laden would be enough to overshadow high energy prices and CIA leaks from teh white house.

  4. #4
    tommywho70x Guest

    Re: Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term

    From the looks of this White House pronouncement: http://news.yahoo.com/fc/us/bush_administration
    Title: White House Rebuffs Calls for Shakeup (2005 AP)

    dubya is going to play it like Trickie Dickie and keep himself surrounded by a whole flock of albatrosses.

    perjury and obstruction of justice tend to come unraveled under the scrutiny of a good prosecutor and staff aided and abetted by investigative journalists.

    with the FREE Internet W3C (XML RSS) News feed BLOGGING DOMAINS and discussion forums like this coupled with all the micro-broadcasters entertaining both wings, like Matt Drudge, Alex Jones and Jack Blood, it really would be in the best interests of his administration to lay the blame on some underlings and hire some new staff before something traces back to his signature.

    Any non-cabinet level players are totally expendable and any of them with their fingers the least bit dirty ought to be replaced.

    Cheney makes Spiro Agnew look like an amateur at diverting public funds for personal gain.

    Never mind his performance as (SECDEF), Rumsfeld has skeletons in Skokie at J.D. Searle, a pharmaceutical and food additive manufacturer that has used the FDA to get approval for many substances with known dangerous side effects and is currently somehow keeping the SDS (Sudden death syndrome) being linked to it's product "Nutra-sweet" real quiet.

    Gonzalez should also be replaced. The 'torture memo' is just one of many irksome papers drafted by the man and there is a not quite completely buried trail linking him to government corruption in the South Florida drug trade.

    The Republican party, regardless of what Scam's resident cheerleaders think, is in a shambles and divided deeply along ideological lines due to apparently demon-possessed ultra-conservative Christians promoting decidedly agendas that not only are un-Christlike and un-American but are extremely unhealthy for this entire planet's human, animal, plant and mineral 'population(s)'.

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