December 19, 2006

JONATHAN GEWIRTZ HAS HIS DOUBTS about the Bush “legacy” rumors:

I don’t get this. Bush has nothing to lose by obstructing the Democrats’ tax-raising agenda, just as he has nothing to lose by continuing to try to win the war against the Islamists. Who cares about his “legacy,” at least as that term is interpreted by shallow thinkers in the media. Surely history will not look kindly on any tax-raising deals he makes with Congress, or on half-measures taken in fighting a war. Weren’t these the main lessons of his father’s presidency?

It’s as if Bush believes himself obligated to obey the spirit of the recent elections, in which Democrats gained majorities in Congress. But he isn’t so obligated. We have temporally staggered elections, and presidents have longer terms than do House members, in part to insulate presidents from the shortest-term political considerations that would impede the pursuit of long-term agenda. Bush has lost significant power since the election, because he cannot run for the presidency again and the new Congress will block most of his plans. But he also has two more years in office, veto power and nothing to lose. I hope that he will show more conviction.

Read the whole thing.

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