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January 03, 2007

Funny How That Happens

This morning's Wall Street Journal boasts an op-ed by George W. Bush calling for comity and compromise with the new Congress. Lucky for them, he's got a common sense, broadly agreeable agenda in the offing: Escalation in Iraq, continuing his tax cuts, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, passing a line-item veto, and ending earmarks. Truly, the man's talent for consensus is boundless. As is his knowledge of high school civics. "Our Founders believed in the wisdom of the American people to choose their leaders and provided for the concept of divided and effective government," he "writes." "The majority party in Congress gets to pass the bills it wants. The minority party, especially where the margins are close, has a strong say in the form bills take. And the Constitution leaves it to the president to use his judgment whether they should be signed into law."

It's good to see Bush so suddenly concerned with the rights of the minority party. After sitting up so many nights worrying over whether the Democrats felt marginalized and insufficiently consulted during the first six years of his presidency, he can finally direct that expansive compassion to the GOP. Again: What a mensch. And it was particularly interesting that he chose The Wall Street Journal from which to make his statement. The Journal, after all, is not a general interest newspaper. It's aimed almost exclusively at businessmen and financiers, its website is subscription-only, and its readership is among the most elite in the world. Bush could've gotten op-ed space at USA Today, The Raleigh News and Observer, or any of a number of publications that serve a wide cross-section of Americans and offer easy online access. Some bumbling communications intern must really be regretting the accidental spectacle of having the president announce his virtuous intentions on the most conservative, elite, and controversial op-ed page in the country.

Update: Tomboy notes, in comments:

From wikipedia: In 2005 the Journal reported a readership profile of about 60% top management, an average income of $191,000, an average household net worth of $2.1 million, and an average age of 55.

Also at Tapped

January 3, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

From wikipedia: In 2005 the Journal reported a readership profile of about 60% top management, an average income of $191,000, an average household net worth of $2.1 million, and an average age of 55.


Everyday americans.

Posted by: tomboy | Jan 3, 2007 1:24:54 PM

Impeach Bush. Destroy the Republican Party. I was opposed to Pelosi's unilateral generrosity before she was elected to Congress.

Mark Thoma ..with his usual extensive quoting, plus some commentary from Robert Reich

"If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate."

Political statements are the only safe and sane routes. Bush will veto anything and everything that does not include either major concessions or horrible symbolic precedents. He has little to lose anymore, and you can't negotiate with a madmen. The goal, and it will be tough, must be to demonize Bush, and tie his party to him.

The letter was in the WSJ as a call to arms. Bush expects, and will no doubt receive, massive support from the Beltway and Wall Street. Remember, Greenspan turned Clinton from social welfarist to deficit hawk. The money men have a ton of power.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 3, 2007 2:18:59 PM

I know the conventional wisdom is that the impeachment hurt the Gingrich Congress, but I disagree. They could not pass their agenda, and compromising cost too much. So the went for demonization. It got Bush close enough to steal the election.

And Bush deserves demonization.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 3, 2007 2:24:46 PM

Bush wants a line-item veto (as other Presidents have). The Dems should offer a counter-proposal called the Real Democracy Restoration Act.

I'm a great believer in the value of offense, and the Repubs have shown the electoral value of proposing 'get out the vote' amendments to the Constitution.

So, how about this approach:

The Dems propose to pass an amendment to the US Constitution to lower the votes required to override a Presidential veto in each house to 55% (instead of 2/3 or 66%) and specify that the President has no authority to modify legislation signed into law by issuing signing statements - and that they are null and void if issued. For good measure, the proposal should also eliminate any presidential authority to move funds from one appropriated purpose to another purpose.

It is well past the time that the executive branch be reminded who makes the laws (the people's Congress) and who is only charged with faithful execution of the Laws (the Pres).

Now, since the Amendment process takes a 2/3 majority to pass in each house (but is not subject to the Pres. veto), it is unlikely that this amendment will pass, but having the Repubs and Pres having to argue why it shouldn't pass won't do the Repubs any electoral good, or the Dems any electoral harm.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jan 3, 2007 2:33:43 PM

The essay is laughable - indeed it reads like "now that my party lost with the agenda I proposed, I plan to propose it again. And if Democrats don't follow my lead, boy, will they be in trouble..."

Let's see how that works out, shall we? :)

However, I have to quibble with your dismissal of the WSJ as somehow too elite to count. It's a good paper with great reporting and yes, an editorial page off the right edge. I think getting that alternative viewpoint is helpful, even though I usually never agree with it (I liked it better when Paul Gigot was a columnist and not its editor, and Dan Henninger is lame, but it's still a vital read), and I still expect well rounded people to be aware of what's in The Journal. It's folly not to.

Posted by: weboy | Jan 3, 2007 3:16:47 PM

"If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements..."

What was the anti flag-burning amemdment? What was the "keep Terry Schiavo alive" bill? Most of the stuff the repub congress (and GWB) have done for the past 6 years are political statements.

Posted by: CParis | Jan 3, 2007 5:02:48 PM

Most of the stuff the repub congress (and GWB) have done for the past 6 years are political statements.

If only that were so. We'd be so much better off.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 3, 2007 5:39:56 PM

I suppose there's a way you could see the Iraq War as a political statement that unfortunately had a gigantic policy proposal attached.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jan 3, 2007 7:03:04 PM

Keith Olbermann points out that at the bottom of the essay, the WSJ editors helpfully remind us this: Mr. Bush is the President of the United States.

Posted by: litbrit | Jan 3, 2007 9:14:36 PM

How is the WSJ editorial page any more controversial than the NYT editorial page? Says who?

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Posted by: judy | Sep 26, 2007 10:11:06 AM

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