Is Bush a Lame Duck?
Jim Rutenburg argues that the collapse of the immigration bill compromise mains that President Bush’s “ability to push his agenda has faded to the point where he can fairly be judged to have entered his lame duck period.” That’s possibly right. Certainly, his approval ratings are dismal and his most important foreign and domestic policy initiatives, the Iraq War and fixing the illegal immigration mess, have created fissures even within the Republican base. And the fact that the campaign to find Bush’s successor has started unusually early hasn’t helped.
On the other hand, the immigration compromise was almost universally disliked and threatened to split the GOP coalition. Maybe its death was a blessing for the president.
Absent a miraculous and sudden reversal of fortune in Iraq, it’s hard to see how the president gets above 50 percent again in the polls. It’ll take some pretty serious miscalculations on the part of Nancy Pelosi and/or Harry Reid to turn the momentum in Bush’s favor. Newt Gingrich provided such a reprieve for Bill Clinton in 1995, so it’s not inconceivable. Still, it’s the war, not his inability to forge a compromise on an immigration bill, that will decide Bush’s fate.