What happens when the advocate of a policy is no longer trusted? What happens when it's a President? what happens is you get unexpected bipartisan resistance.
The nation's governors on Saturday launched a bipartisan drive to block a move to expand the president's authority to take over National Guard troops in case of natural disaster or homeland security threats.
At a closed-door luncheon on the opening day of the annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association, the chairman, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), told colleagues that a provision in the House-passed defense authorization bill would end the historic link between the states and their Guard units.
Wouldn't you think a major shift of policy like that would have been discussed on the merits, especially if it's politically sensitive?
Under the provision, the president would have authority to take control of the Guard in case of "a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident or catastrophe" in the United States.
Huckabee said he does not know if President Bush wants that authority, but said "the administration is supporting this."
He and Vilsack said they believe the provision was a reaction to Hurricane Katrina, when Bush debated taking control of National Guard units from Louisiana and Mississippi to end confusion about who was responsible for security in storm-devastated areas.
Vilsack called that a "misguided reaction." He said he had long since proposed an alternative that would give command authority to a federal official at the site of any disaster, while retaining a governor's authority over troops in his state.
That's just not how this president does things.
Calls to a spokesman for the White House National Security Council staff, where the plan reportedly originated, were not returned.
Huckabee, who is considering a presidential bid in 2008, said Congress and the administration -- run by fellow Republicans -- have moved far from what he called the "traditional states' rights position" of conservatives.
In addition to the National Guard, he cited the new "Real ID" legislation, requiring states to ascertain the citizenship status of everyone seeking a driver's license. Huckabee said that, in effect, "they are trying to make every entry-level employee in our [department of motor vehicles] offices an immigration officer, and they're giving us no money to train them or hire them. It is a disaster in the making."
That's how this president does things.