Reporter James Coomarasamy (henceforth to be called JC, thankfully) begins by reading George Bush’s mind and asserting he is delusional.
When President George Bush famously said on the day after his re-election that he had earned political capital and was now going to spend it, he was already succumbing to that classic second-term delusion of infallibility.Not he “seemed to be” succumbing, or he “might have been” succumbing, mind you. No. JC knows W, and W was succumbing to it. But what about this “classic” delusion, anyway? This must be one of those “classics” that’s cropped up in the 13 years I’ve been out of the country, because I’ve never heard of it before. I would have thought, though, that if it was so much a “classic”, Google wouldn’t have such a difficult time finding a reference to it.
With approval ratings at their lowest level of the presidency - over the situation in Iraq and an unpopular domestic agenda - it may be that Mr Bush had earned less capital than he thought.Now that sounds more likely than the delusional theme. But I’m sure that I remember talk of Bush’s approval ratings plumbing new depths last year. Is it really true that he’s sunk even lower? Alas, no. It appears that JC got that one wrong, too.
He has encountered unexpected cross-party resistance over some controversial nominations, such as John Bolton's for UN ambassador, in a Republican-held Congress unwilling to roll over.I sometimes wonder whether I share the same language with BBC reporters. I mean, “cross party resistance” is hardly the term I would use to characterize a situation in which a single Republican senator joins forces with 37 Democrats to obstruct the passage of a nomination. But then again neither would I hold out a filibuster organized and implemented almost exclusively by Democrats as an example of a Republican congress “unwilling to roll over”. Is it me?
When the Republican leadership tried to force through the appointment of judges by threatening to end the Senate tradition of filibustering, seven Republican senators struck a deal with seven democrats.Ah yes. That long held Senate tradition of filibustering federal judicial appointments that has been implemented all of once in the approximately 220 year history prior to Bush’s term in office. Again, we seem to have a language problem. By “Senate tradition” JC obviously means “nearly unprecedented action”. Interesting, isn't it, that Republicans attempts to have a vote are "forcing" but Democratic obstructionism is an exercise in "tradition".
And who does JC go to get a bead on what Republican’s in the Senate are thinking? Why, none other than Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chaffee, the man who refused to vote for Bush in the last Presidential election and around whom speculation has swirled since 2001 regarding a possible switch in parties . He must be kidding, right?
To be sure, Bush’s ratings have seen better days, and he faces big political challenges in the coming months. But if things are as dire as Coomarasamy tries to present them, you have to wonder why he goes about telling it to us in such a misrepresented way.