Ummm... can you remind me again what his agenda was for 2005?
CRAWFORD, Tex., Dec. 31 - For six days, President Bush has stayed in nearly complete isolation on his ranch here - just mountain-biking and brush-clearing, the White House insisted daily, with only one guest, his mother-in-law, Jenna Welch. He never even ventured into this little town of about 700, not even to the cheeseburger joint that he often used as a political stage to show that he is in touch with his Texas neighbors.
Nothing like a staged cheeseburger to let us know that the President is in touch with the real world.
"Mr. Bush is scheduled to return to the White House earlier than usual from his break and start a campaign to set the tone for 2006 and, perhaps, the remainder of his presidency."
Sorry George, but your tone for 2006 and most likely the remainder of your presidency will be your efforts to stay in office and keep your inner circle out of jail. Good luck developing anything beyond that.
"As part of an ambitious strategy the White House has mapped out for the next four weeks, Mr. Bush has scheduled two major speeches - one on the economy on Friday in Chicago, another on Iraq - ahead of the State of the Union address, which is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31."
Great! An Iraq speech. Why didn't he think of that before. That'll fix everything. And a speech on the economy. Is that the one where "Treasury secretary, John W. Snow, asked Congress on Thursday to raise the debt limit again, the fourth time"?
"By the time he appears before Congress, Mr. Bush's aides are hoping, two of the immediate challenges the president faces, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. and the permanent renewal of the Patriot Act, will be behind him."
Yeah... I don't think so. The House isn't even scheduled to return until the 31st (in an attempt to save Delay's leadership job) and Sen. Feingold has no intention of backing off from ensuring the Bill of Rights doesn't get trampled on again in the so-called Patriot Act. Alito? You might get away with that one... we'll see.
"It is a theme that his national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, struck in a little-noted speech on Dec. 20 in which he described the "common ground" that has emerged on training Iraqi forces and building a cohesive government there."
Would have been nice if you guys had thought of that one before going into Iraq and destroying civil society there.
"After his days of silence here, Mr. Bush on Saturday began to give the country a taste of the tone he has in mind. In his New Year's radio address he argued that in Iraq, American forces were "overcoming earlier setbacks" - another reference to errors in Iraq since the invasion that he was long loath to acknowledge. But he began to do so last month, a decision that White House officials now boast was the key to reversing the worst slide in his approval ratings since the beginning of his presidency."
Hey guys! Look at what a little honesty did for you. Why don't you try it out in greater measure and see if people start listening and believing what you have to say. I know for sure I can't believe whatever manure you come up with for the State of the Union speech. You might even consider having honesty as a standard policy. Radical idea I know but give it a whirl and see what happens.
"Mr. Bush also said that after the Dec. 15 Iraqi election, whose results are still in flux, the country was on its way to "an inclusive, unified and lasting democracy."
I sure hope so. That would be good for all of us. But, tell me, what about this little story... "Thousands of US troops to oversee Iraqi police"? Is that what you mean by "unified" and "inclusive?"
"Though Mr. Bush avoided the subject in his radio address, some of his advisers and national security officials say the White House has decided in the past two weeks to take a hard line with Congressional inquiries into Mr. Bush's secret authorization of wiretaps without warrants on suspects within the United States."
Take as hard a line as you want Mr. Bush. You broke the law and this story won't die. We the people overthrew a King once and we've no problems making sure that President's that grow too big for their britches get cut down to size. You have serious problems with the right, the left, the center, Congress, and the American people on this one... oh yeah, the Judge's aren't too happy with you either. There is also that little problem you are having with the Jose Padilla case too. Really boxed yourself in an unconstitutional corner on that one.
"Mr. Bush's aides and intelligence officials say they plan to refuse to offer more details in public on why they believe the technology of the program made it necessary to bypass the secret court designed to authorize wiretapping efforts inside the United States."
Which is a point that doesn't matter even if it is true. The law exists. You broke the law. You've been caught. Now you get investigated and charged. If the law was insufficient to the task it was your obligation to go to Congress and get the law changed. You did not do that. You have failed to live up to your Constitutional obligation to ensure... that the Laws be faithfully executed.
"They are preparing to dispute vigorously and quite publicly the broader legal critique, offered by some Democrats, the American Civil Liberties Union and some Republicans, that the president acted beyond his authority as commander in chief."
Excellent. Because you did act beyond your authority as commander in chief. John C. Yoo's argument that you had such authority is utter hogwash and an incredibly flimsy argument.
This is your agenda for 2006. Defending yourself from impeachment.
"In interviews over the past week, Mr. Bush's aides said they were convinced that Mr. Bush's decision to admit that he authorized the program - and then to say little about its details - would be enough to keep an increasingly fractious Republican majority in line."
Are you guys really that divorced from reality?
"Some of Mr. Bush's advisers say they believe that revolt was partly the result of weak leadership in the House, where Representative Tom DeLay has stepped down from his leadership position while under indictment, and in the Senate, where Mr. Bush was abandoned by leaders of his own party on the McCain amendment."
Hope you aren't counting on that getting any better. Congress has it's own problems. In 2006 several of them have concerns about getting indicted themselves and all of them have concerns about how you, your war, your trampling on the Bill of Rights, and the rising cost of gas and living and how that affects their chances of getting re-elected. Your wants and needs aren't even secondary to these folks this year.
And Jack Abramoff hasn't even started talking yet.
Oh, and by the way, wasn't that Senate vote something like 90-9? That sounds like a lot more then your weak and ineffectual hand-picked leader Sen. Frist abandoning you.
"The notion that Bush could or should unveil a new domestic agenda at the State of the Union speech is really ridiculous," Mr. Kristol said. "He has to play the cards he has been dealt and play a winning hand with those cards" on issues including the war in Iraq, the linked debate over the Patriot Act and wiretapping at home, and the Alito nomination.
While Bill Kristol is often full of horse hockey and always has a conman, uh, conservative, spin, he also tells it like it is sometimes and this is one of them. Bush won't have anymore success in defining or controlling his agenda in 2006 then he did in 2005. This year will be all about Democratic challenges in the House and Senate and Republicans under investigation, indictment, and pressure in courts, Congressional investigations, traditional media, the blogosphere, and the court of public opinion.
Our democracy may be reeling and damaged but it is still in charge. We the people have the power and lots of us are beginning to remember to flex it. The Constitution is the law of the land. Not Dick Cheney, not George Bush, and not the indicted Tom "I am the Federal Government" Delay.