Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bush in the WSJ: Is he all talk?

President Bush took his message to the pages of the Wall Street Journal today. While it is a message that has been consistent over the last six years, the question remains over how much stands behind the words.

Bush used his article in the Journal to reach-out to Democrats in hopes of salvaging his legacy over the next two years. Justified or not, the President's legacy now rests on war in Iraq. Bush's problem is not with the consistency of his message, but with producing results.

Mr. G (over at Peer Review FL) is correct in challenging Bush on his record over his first term and a half. Though Peer Review takes a little harder stand against Bush than I will, his dismay over the President's desire to hold Democrats to his standards is on target. After all, Republicans managed to carry the party from the Republican Revolution of 1994 to the point of mimicking the big-spending Democratic liberals that collapsed in '94.

Bush is correct to ask for the line item veto, though he will never get it. But where was the veto pen over the last six years? Rather than waiting to lecture Democrats on the importance of principled leadership, Bush should have been demanding principled leadership from his own party over the last six years.

So, what should he do now?

Like Mr. G, I have appreciated the President's commitment to his tax cuts, and to the fight to make them permanent. From this he should not waver. His promise to deliver a plan to balance the federal budget is admirable, but long over due. Bush is right to demand the same commitment from the new Congress.

On Bush's call to tackle issues like immigration and health care, compromise with this Congress will mean abandoning conservative principles. He should not count on Democrats moving to the right on these issues. So principled leadership here will probably mean pulling out the veto pen.

My biggest problem with the President's article is that it's about two years too late. For now, we'll just have to wait and see if this is just all talk.

To read the President's entire WSJ piece click here.

1 comment:

Anon. said...

The war and some judicial appointments excepted, the President has been a disappointment. That said, imagine where we would be if he had not won the Presidency! Here's to a conservative in 08..