November 13, 2004


The man with the mandate: The president plans to push a conservative agenda--aggressively (Kenneth T. Walsh , 11/15/04, US News)

[T]hree of the biggest items on his second-term agenda are pet ideas of the right, which Bush has supported but not yet aggressively pushed:
Allowing young people to invest some of their Social Security funds in the stock market or other private-sector instruments.

Reforming the tax code, perhaps by enacting a flat tax or a national sales tax.

Making permanent the massive tax cuts approved during his first term.

"The nature of what he's proposing is so far-reaching that he's going to get strong scrutiny if not outright opposition," says Rutgers political scientist Ross Baker. "I always fear the triumphalism of the winner. The word 'mandate' is being used pretty freely by people in the administration. I don't think he has that kind of popular support." [...]

"I really didn't come here to hold the office just to say, 'Gosh, it was fun to serve,' " Bush said. "I came here to get some things done--and we are doing it."

The reality, contrary to Mr. Baker, is that those reforms are far more popular than the President is.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 13, 2004 1:37 PM

Ross Baker, a partisan Democrat but a really nice guy, is wrong here as usual. The large, steady margins in both Houses and the virtual impossibility of overturning either until 2008 at the earliest gives Bush precisely the mandate he needs to push forward on many of his reforms.

Americans of all stripes know something is very, very wrong with the tax code, and an appeal to the Dems on an 'end corporate welfare' platform will chill much of the opposition. The tax code is simply a smorgasbord of giveaways to preferred interests, not a smoothly running, easily understood mechanism to raise sufficient funds to undertake the governmental actions most Americans deem necessary and/or desirable.

Posted by: Bart at November 13, 2004 5:24 PM

"I really didn't come here to hold the office just to say, 'Gosh, it was fun to serve,' "

That is exactly why both Bill Clinton and John Kerry ran.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at November 13, 2004 6:17 PM