Saturday, July 21, 2007

30 down - 18 to go

A few days ago I noticed that last month's title was mistakenly 1 month early - obviously an example of wishful thinking. At this point in his tenure, Bush is very clearly a lame duck lacking the ability to pass any meaningful legislation - the failed immigration bill being his last gasp attempt at a 2nd term legacy. Given how front loaded presidential campaigns are now, it will be interesting to watch if future presidents encounter the same problem - the entire year before the actually election year is dominated by the presidential debates. Add that to the polarization of the parties, and it appears that all future presidents will actually only have 6 years, not the 6½ that Bush/Rove thought they had.

For the rest of Bush's tenure, the legislative/political battles on Iraq will dominate. This past week's all-nighter proved that the GOP can block any Dem withdrawal amendments, so the battle will center on whether the Dems have the cojones to defund the war. My prediction is that they do not, so expect to have at least 75k troops in Iraq by the end of Bush's tenure.

It's fun to psycho-analyze Bush for his motives. Some on the left have used the 4-corner's offense analogy which is apt, and the speculation I've read has been that Bush wants to state that Iraq was not lost on his watch, but on Hillary's. I go with the analysis that Bush wants the US to have troops in Iraq 50 years from now as we do in S. Korea. That reasoning ignores the enormous differences - have there been any US (hostile) deaths in S. Korean since 1953? - but Bush is a true believer on this issue & not stalling just for blame game reasons.

Wagers - it's amazing how the nomination process has morphed earlier & earlier in my lifetime. In 1968, Bobby Kennedy had not decided to run until Clean Gene upset LBJ in New Hampshire. By 1988, Bush effectively wrapped up the nomination with his victory in New Hampshire. In 2004, Kerry's win in Iowa locked up his nomination for all practical purposes. Now Hillary has snared the nomination months before Iowa, over 1 year before the election itself. Obama has shown his lack of seasoning & Edwards his lack of hunger and political judgement (choice of bloggers to hire being a classic example).

There is still some suspense in the GOP as there is actually a 2 man race - Rudy & Romney - which should last another ½ year. At this point, I'd predict Romney, as his sucking up to the social conservatives appears to have worked, and will predict Hillary over Romney though do not have a high degree of confidence there - JJ offered another wager that Hillary would lose the general election, but not ready to lose 2 wagers on Hillary.

Can only hope that President Hillary will shut down Gitmo, free Padilla, rescind many of Bush's onerous executive orders concerning secrecy. Probably too optimistic as she is obviously hawkish, but she is also an opportunist who will make certain concessions to the left wing base.

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