Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thanks for the laughs, Mr. President

Bush is lecturing Congress on fiscal accountability.

President Bush said Wednesday he'll submit a proposal to balance the budget in five years and exhorted Congress to "end the dead of night process" of quietly tucking expensive pet projects into spending bills.

So let's see.... by 2012, four years after he leaves office, the budget will be balanced.... and then we can start paying off the $2 trillion in debt Bush has piled up during his term. And then we can get started on the trillions piled up by the presidents before him, most notably Reagan.

I also find it curious that Bush didn't have a problem with pork-barrel spending as long as Republicans were in charge of Congress. But now that the Dems have taken over -- Katie bar the door!

Still, however genuine his (political) deathbed conversion may be, let's hope he means it. Better a reluctant, late and hypocritical convert to fiscal sanity than continued red ink.

Bush tossed in another knee-slapper with a Wall Street Journal op-ed that called for -- get this -- bipartisanship.

If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate. If a different approach is taken, the next two years can be fruitful ones for our nation. We can show the American people that Republicans and Democrats can come together to find ways to help make America a more secure, prosperous and hopeful society. And we will show our enemies that the open debate they believe is a fatal weakness is the great strength that has allowed democracies to flourish and succeed.

Bush has a long history of talking a good game and then doing the opposite. His "I'm a uniter, not a divider" line remains a classic in the genre, along with such hits as "I'm a fiscal conservative" and "I do not want war with Iraq."

It's hardly surprising that his "reaching out" to the Democrats consists mostly of a threat to veto anything he doesn't like. It's consistent with his history: to Bush, bipartisanship means "we'll get along fine as long as you do it my way."

The good news, such as it is, is that the Republicans don't want to be seen as obstructionist, and don't want Bush to still be defining the party in 2008. So if Bush remains Bush, members of his own party will be elbowing each other aside to be the first to tie him to a rail and run him out of town.

It is entirely possible that Washington will devolve into partisan gridlock; such is the political maturity of many of our elected officials. But for now I hold out hope that the forces at play lean toward effective compromise instead.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush was doing that long before these Democrats were thinking about it. Bush worked very well with the Democrats in Texas and got a lot of good things passed in a very bi-partisan manner. He was always quick to give them credit too. So----as he says, IF they are, in fact, serious about passing good bills and not just ones for political show, then they'll have some bills passed under their name. Otherwise, they won't.

JP5

1/04/2007 2:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, if the Democrats are truly serious about getting rid of earmarks and balancing the budget, they'll give Pres. Bush the "Line item veto." The Republican Congress gave it to Clinton during the 90's and that's one reason the budget got balanced. The Democrats blocked it for Pres. Bush for the past 6 years. It's time they grow up and pass the line-item veto for the President. They would get more bills passed that way too.

JP5

1/04/2007 2:40 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

I have no problem with the line-item veto, although it does raise some sticky political questions.

Your history is wrong, though, I believe. The reason there is no line-item veto at the moment is that the Supreme Court declared the Clinton version unconstitutional, and Congress hasn't been able to craft a satistfactory replacement.

1/04/2007 9:25 AM  

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