â€œIf power corrupts, weakness in the seat of power, with its constant necessity of deals and bribes and compromising arrangements, corrupts even more.â€â€”Barbara Tuchman
I don’t know where Tuchman wrote the above; I found it in a “quotes for today” column. If anyone recognizes it, please speak up.
Some Republican strategists are increasingly upset with what they consider the overconfidence of President Bush and his senior advisers about the midterm elections November 7â€“a concern aggravated by the president’s news conference this week.
“They aren’t even planning for if they lose,” says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush’s final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock.
“The Bush White House has had no relationship with Congress,” said a Bush ally. “Beyond the Democrats, wait till they see how the Republicansâ€“the ones that surviveâ€“treat them if they lose next month.”
Billmon suggests there is a plan — start a war with Iran. Would this help win the midterm for Republicans? I doubt it; at this point I think it would just make for a bigger rout. However, I think Tristero is on to something:
I believe that Bush will, as he has done since the beginning, continue to play chicken with the US Constitution, daring Congress to force the constitutional crisis he’s created, which has been going on since before he took office, into a full-blown public meltdown. And I believe, just as they did with the filibuster, that Congress will back down to prevent a public meltdown from happening. Congress, either Dem-controlled or not, will prefer to avoid a very frightening confrontation with a rogue presidency – that could lead who knows where – in the hopes that Bush’s insane challenge to the very structure of the US government simply will end when Bush leaves office in 2009.
I’m not saying I like this or that I think it’s a good (or bad) idea. All I’m suggesting is that even if there is a rout, don’t expect much. With Bush in office, the serious danger to the country’s kind of government persists. He will do whatever he wants to do. The Congress, like it or not, will be very anxious to do nothing to exacerbate the crisis, hoping to wait him out.
Yes, indeed, a Democratic House/Congress may raise quite a stink over Bush’s desire for the big Iran Bang Bang he’s planning. But even so, Congress will do all it can not to confront Bush but avoid the confrontation.
That’s right: Even a Democratically controlled Congress may very well go along with Bush’s war plans in order to avoid a catastrophic showdown over who really has the true power in America these days. It may mean that the confrontation over Bush/Iran could devolve into an open clash between Bush and very reluctant generals, with Congress stuck, badly, in the middle. (And I can clearly see the headlines on Fox declaring a ” military coup d ‘etat” and “mutiny.”) But frankly, I doubt it. I suspect that there will be no major dramatic confrontations and, barring the totally unforeseen, that Bush could get away with starting another war. Possibly even a nuclear war – and then watch the fur fly as the world condemns the US and Congress tries to figure out what to do while the bodies of radiated children are displayed on television and Bush demands “loyalty in a time of active war.”
You know that some Dems would give Bush anything he wants — Lieberman, for example, if he returns to the Senate and remains a Dem. You can count on Lieberman and some others to sell us out.
As for the rest of the Dems, majority or not, beginning the day after the November election we must begin an all-out, full-court-press campaign to let the Dems know that, if they don’t stand up to Bush, they will face worse consequences from us.
It’s entirely possible Bush isn’t making any plans because he’s got his head shoved so far up his ass he really doesn’t know he’s in trouble. It’s also possible he will decide to work out some kind of compromise — don’t indict me for war crimes, and I’ll behave. We’ll see. It’s important to remember that, for all his bluster, Bush is a weak man and a weak leader. He doesn’t get his way by leading, but by subterfuge and lies. His weakness is, in fact, his strength — he has no scruples at all, and he might very well force the nation to choose between allowing him to reign as dictator and some sort of coup d’Ã©tat. But weenie that he is, it’s possible there’s someone who can take him into hand and force him to comply. Like, maybe, his mother.