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April 16, 2005


The press, and even too many discouraged Democrats, bought into the idea that Bush was enthusiastically re-elected, but, in fact, his barely-there margin of last November should have indicated all along he was on severely thin political ice (the other two presidents re-elected by such small margins -- Truman and Wilson -- saw their parties defeated in landslides in the next presidential contests). A weakly supported president is not likely to get benefit of doubt, and, as we see, there's plenty to be doubtful about.

I didn't buy into such negative thinking, but there was a school of thought last Fall that Dems would be luckier to lose, because circumstances foreign and domestic were not yet at the crisis point but were clearly headed there -- and voters were likely to blame whoever held the helm when things struck with full force.

Friends and I have been pointing to the economy for weeks as teetering on the edge. Yesterday seems to be the first time that view has been adopted by a significant number of professionals. Meantime, Iraq, as you point out, is once again failing to live up to "Mission Accomplished" declarations. (Actually, if the polls are right, this past time only the pundits, not the public, bought into the "things are improving" cry)

Beneath it all, I think a problem Republicans have -- Bush and DeLay, in particular -- is they're not very well liked by the permanent establishment. I may have mentioned this at some point last year, but a close relative of mine -- a senior executive in a well-known company -- told me their chief DC lobbyist said you can't overestimate the degree of contempt for the administration throughout official Washington. When the fires start in earnerst, these folks will be more likely to pour gasoline than water. It's not dissimilar to Nixon's situation post re-election -- and Nixon's electoral base was obviously considerably stronger than Bush's to begin with.

Good to see you posting, demtom. Your insight, as always, is much appreciated.

Those who questioned what you questioned post-November were at times called 'cheerleaders' and at times worse, but reality is reality. For whatever reason (fear, access preservation, laziness) the press can't be totally relied on to tell which way the wind blows, but it sure is annoying when they don't see what we see.

GWB was not well-liked before the 2000 election, and it's impossible to see how he's going to have a Deaver-like Reagan legacy when he's gone.

...saw their parties defeated in landslides in the next presidential contests...

Let that be so. House, Senate and White House. From my own perspective, I hope that landslide includes a hard-core Democrat in the White House with ideas (and a legislative agenda) as fresh as those FDR stole from the left side of the Popular Front.

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