Filleting the Lame Duck


The Christian Science Monitor surveys a second-term Bush administration sinking into the swamp:

On an almost daily basis, it seems, signs are emerging that the well-oiled Bush machine of the early days is anything but that in the final quarter of George W. Bush's presidency.

From the flap over the firings of federal prosecutors to the exposé over conditions in some parts of Walter Reed Medical Center to a rare public disavowal by a former top campaign aide, President Bush is suffering the slings and arrows that often beset second-term presidents. But because of the intractable nature of the increasingly unpopular Iraq war, his chances of political recovery are slimmer than were those of the most recent presidents to serve two full terms, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, analysts say.

Another reason Bush can be abandoned with impunity?

Paul Light, a presidential scholar at New York University….notes that in the modern political construct, an unpopular second-term president has very little on which to trade, in terms of control over his party or its financial largesse.

"He has no money and a Democratic Congress that's watching every move he makes," says Light. "I would say that people are no longer afraid of him, and moreover, people no longer believe he can help them in any sort of substantive way."

More bad news on the way for the Bush administration: books by both former CIA boss George Tenet and former papa Bush scribe Vic Gold that seem primed to expose him to further obloquy.