Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bush's political capital spent, voices in both parties suggest

Bush's political capital spent, voices in both parties suggest
Posted on Tuesday, May 31 @ 09:55:02 EDT
This article has been read 856 times.
Is Bush using up 'political capital' on early second-term battles?
By Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei, Seattle Times
WASHINGTON — Two days after winning re-election last fall, President Bush declared that he had earned plenty of "political capital and now I intend to spend it." Six months later, according to Republicans and Democrats alike, his bank account has been significantly drained.
In the past week alone, the Republican-led House defied his veto threat and passed legislation promoting stem-cell research, Senate Democrats blocked confirmation, at least temporarily, of his choice for U.N. ambassador and a splinter group of GOP senators abandoned the president in his battle to win floor votes for all of his judicial nominees.
With his approval ratings in public opinion polls at the lowest level of his presidency, Bush has been stymied so far in his campaign to restructure Social Security. On the international front, violence has surged again in Iraq in recent weeks, dispelling much of the optimism generated by the widely praised elections back in January, while allies such as Egypt and Uzbekistan have complicated his campaign to spread democracy.
The series of setbacks on the domestic front could signal that the president has weakened leverage over his party, a situation that could embolden the opposition, according to analysts and politicians from both sides. "He has really burned up whatever mandate he had from that last election," said Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of staff during President Clinton's second term....