I was truly excited at the start of Bush's new term as president. Here was a man who had a mandate, who talked about spending the "political capital" he had earned. Talked about reforming the fractured systems we endure, from a failing social security system to a obsolete education system.
Goals are great. But right now, Bush's second term's starting to look a lot like Clinton's. While the president's ethics have not been personally questioned, his aides and teammates are being battered. As I write this, Libby's joined the roster of injured players - soon after DeLay went down for questionable fund-raising. Karl Rove and Bill Frist look shakey. Harriet Miers withdraws her nomination. Bush's own approval ratings are sinking!
Is there hope for a new push forward? Don't count on it. Miers' fall is one of the worst things that could happen to our government, whether you are Republican or Democrat. Her qualifications may be questionable, but right now, Bush is in a quagmire. If he chooses a not-conservative-enough candidate, he can kiss his political future goodbye - his base will eat him alive. But a candidate who wins approval from them will face filibusters from the Democrats. In short, don't count on a new face on the bench anytime soon.
Why did Bush follow the brilliant nomination of John Roberts with such a disasterous choice? Did he not realize how charged an atmosphere he was stepping into?
Either way, let's look at momentum going forward on other issues. Will things improve in Iraq. Probably not. As countries which have dealt with insurgencies would tell you, you can't fix a place overnight, not even with the wonderous gift of democracy. It's a long and slow process, and I dare say that if the US is truly concerned about Iraqi stability, they should be prepared to hang out there for 10 years or more.
The legal woes for the Republicans are not likely to go away anytime soon. One of the problems with a party in power for too long is the arrogance that comes with it. The Democrats have been guilty of the same problem before.
And then add in candidates trying to distinguish themselves for elections in 2006 and the the Big One in 2008, and you have the death of unity in the ruling party. Add in an opposition that is confused and lost, struggling to come to new economic realities under the grips of powerful interest groups (yes, a union is a freaking interest group!) and you have chaos in Washington!
If anyone can find a way things might improve, and we see real change, positive change, do comment on it. Could even be far-fetched. After all, as I have been convincing some friends, the secret to happiness is delusion.