John Fund thinks President Bush must get a grip on the Senate to make it do his bidding on domestic issues. While I agree with his contention that Bill Frist blew it in his handling of the tax cut, I am not sure what it is the president is supposed to do about these things. The Republicans have a one seat majority and many of the “Republicans” in the Senate are, at best, nominal. Olympia Snowe has much more power over GWB than vice versa, as the Jim Jeffords fiasco of 2001 proved. Senators, especially those popular in their state, are simply not beholden to presidents, even of their own party. It’s this little thing I like to call “separation of powers.”

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. PoliBlogger says:

    Indeed, the very idea that any president can “get a grip” on either chamber of congress is a tad silly.

  2. Caleb says:

    Now that’s funny, because what seems to go under the radar is CONGRESS’s own incursion of separation of powers by undermining presidential power, like oh say, refusing to confirm his judicial nominations by threatening an unconstitutional filibuster.

  3. James Joyner says:

    I don’t think it’s gone under the radar screen; indeed, I reference it in most post and the post to which I link.

    While I think the filibuster is unconstitutional, since it creates a need for a supermajority in cases other than the handful specified in the Constitution, it is a time-honored tradition that has not been overruled by any court that I’m aware of.