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Lame Duck Musings

Bush Is Now A Lame Duck
Some readers agree that President Bush is now a lame duck and blame it on the press. Others say it's his own fault he can't get anything done. Still others are glad about his status. And for some reason, two readers suggest I commit suicide. I don't think I'll try that.

To have a president run and sit for two terms is so yesterday. It's never been proven in recent history that a two term president is more effective and as well-liked in his second term vs. his first (exception: Roosevelt). So it appears that the best way to solve this problem is to have a one-term, 6 year Presidency. One term — 6 years! That's all. The president in the first year wouldn't have to campaign while in office and could concentrate solely on getting the job done in one term, 6-years, the same as a senator.

I do not understand why in this day and age there is a second election for the president when it's evident he/she has run out of steam, not to mention power, the second term.

But it shows just how backwards this country is. We still don't hold elections on the weekends as other countries do. We still haven't figured out how to vote on the internet.

L. Wright, Chicago IL

While it is not unusual to have a lame duck president, what is significant (if I may borrow a word) is that we have a bunch of turkeys waiting in the wings (so to speak). (A little exaggeration, too.)

I cannot believe Hilary Clinton holds any kind of numbers to be a viable candidate. John Kerry, while being remade, I don't think will garner enough confidence from the public especially in this fickle political/media environment. Joe Biden comes across strong and leader-like, but I don't think he has the kind of broad base support and awareness among Americans. In fact, no one really has. John McCain is now politicking again and smooching up to the Christian right; a strategy and tactic that will cost him. And he may be too hawkish as we look toward an end in Iraq. I think we are tired of war as a political tool for change. We have witnessed its lies, its destruction, its sapping of all our resources. And it hasn't produced any tangible results…except bitterness and more war.

We are a fractured country. We cannot expect a "messiah" or media-idol to emerge because we've become too caustic, too critical, too cynical. We don't have any statesmen-like leaders. Our national image is so shot in the world that none of our current government persons seem to be able to engage our worldly neighbors constructively. And our politics is so rife with corruption that it's a wonder we have any kind of government at all.

So what are we to do? If we want change, we must change what we have. Not just political leaders, but how we do politics, how we engage governing, how we work as a people. It is a crisis and an opportunity.

Dave Murray

But does Bush still have the power to nuke Iran? If so, how could he be restrained?

Bill McCulloch

I, for one, am somewhat relieved that we are not being governed. While I would prefer to be governed by a President Gore, or a President Kerry, or a President Feingold, it is a comfort to believe that we are not being governed by this President Bush.

Sadly, his fellow partisan democracy-haters in Congress and at every level of the executive branch will continue to do their best to make sure the most repressive, right-wing policies of the GOP are passed and enforced for as long as possible. That is hardly comforting.

H. Modell, NY

Why are you now only getting around to recognizing that George Bush has "...none -- none -- of the tools presidents have used to turn bad situations around: public support, party support or skilled statecraft." The man has always been a dufus even when he was Governor. Frankly, I think it took an extraordinary amount of cooperation from the Democrats for anyone as grossly incompetent as George W. Bush to be elected not just once but twice. None of this bodes well for the future of this country.

Richard Rosenwald

Sounds like Dick Meyer should commit suicide might put him out of his misery. If he did at least I would know he wasn't just a big blowhard.

Mike Svenson, Alaska

As a staunch supporter of the military (my kid is in the Army and served 15 months in Iraq) and a die-hard opponent of the administration's invasion of Iraq, I have no joy in reading your article this week. Bush in trouble? Yep. Should I be cheering? Yep.

But, I'm not.

We are not governed. You're right. And I wish you were wrong. It's not that President Bush is a poor leader; he just and never has been a strong one. An arrogant bully, yes. A leader, no.

But, the Dems are little better because they are do-nothing blowhards and I distrust politicians more now than in any of my previous 58 years.

What's gonna happen in the next two years? Like you, I don't know, but I fear you're right: nothing short of another attack - which is very likely - will "save" this president.

Dubya thinks he's Truman. We could use Give-'em-hell-Harry's steel right now.

But, nothing could be further from reality.

Oh, yeah, reality. A word not present in the White House.

Steel? No. Tin? Yes.

We're adrift and who's gonna come in and really lead?

Gordon E. Apons

Mr. Meyer plays right into the Republican's election strategy by stupidly claiming:
"Will all this lead to a Democratic field day in November?
Who knows; and not to be flip, but who cares? Polls show Congress is held in low esteem similar to the president's. Democratic gains would simply lead to continued do-nothingism. And the ramifications for 2008, I believe, are nil. 2008 will be about two people, not the performance of congressional Democrats in 2007 and 2008."

A democratic Congress would curb the reckless tax cuts, curb the assaults on the environment, raise the minimum wage, do something about the absurd Medicare program and initiate Congressional oversight of the unprecedented sleaze and corruption. On virtually every issue there are sharp differences that have been reflected in the votes on these issues. The Republicans rely on a lazy and cynical new media to allow them to stay in power on the theory that both parties are the same.

Mr. Meyer also fails to address the media's complicity in the public's view of Congress generally. By hiding the fact that it is Republican corruption, Republican lobbyists, the Republican "K Street Project," Republican Congressmen, and Republican Governors (with a couple of exceptions) that have engaged in corruption on an unprecedented scale, and stupidly repeating untrue Republican talking points like "Abramoff gave to both parties," Mr. Meyer and his cohorts have contributed to the problem and the pervasive cynicism. Leaving out the wrongdoer's party affiliation is not being fair and objective, it's being a played for a patsy.

A democratic Congress would make a real difference to a lot of real people.
Mr. Meyer, you were being both flip and thoughtless, and I would encourage you to give some serious thought to the issues you raised. I find it very troubling that you are editorial director of, but hopefully the paragraph above was not reflective of your normal analytical abilities.

Steve Jung, California

Thank you for your intriguing statements about Bush's lack of power in the current government. I am especially appreciative of your observations that governance is more than just winning elections, and that his "lame duck" status impairs his ability not just to win elections but to actually govern in-between elections.

However, I was worried to see you make the statement that they need another crisis of 9/11 proportions to bail them out once again, just as the original 9/11 gave Bush a miraculous overnight recovery from abysmal poll numbers and also gave him carte blanche to seize executive powers, as we have seen.

Your observation that they need another crisis might encourage them to fabricate just such an event, if they have not already begun thinking in those terms. Be careful of what you wish for or of what you suggest this "we're above the Constitution" administration might want to do to regain its control.

Rebecca Young

I think it is interesting that in this piece the president is conflated with the government - as in claiming that because the president is a lame duck we "are not being governed." The president is not the government, nor was he ever intended to be. That has been a consistent problem with this administration - the president acting as if he were all three branches of government rolled into one and that only his word counts.

This would be distressing enough if the man in the office were singularly talented and blessed with generous gifts of intellect, integrity, and competence. Instead we have a spoiled rich kid, a mediocrity who has amply demonstrated a lack of intellectual rigor, a careless disregard for inconvenient facts, and a truly unbelievable level of incompetence in everything he has touched. That he is a lame duck and cannot really act is probably a blessing. It may be the only safe period ordinary citizens have experienced in this new century.

Doug Vaughn

CBS continues to be the voice of the anti-American, the ultra left wing, basically all the democrats who, whether you admit it or not, want to bring this country down. You dribble on about polls and public support, even though is has been established that you taint the polls, you bias the news and in general will do anything to bring down the Bush administration, even to the point of being a traitor to America.

I think you are going to be shocked, maybe even to the point of committing suicide (hopefully), when Republicans keep majority control over the government. You continue to try to convince yourselves that your distorted view of the world is held my many other people, when in fact it is just your little circle of traitors. I hope that the Homeland security finds a way of rooting your enemy of state asses out and sending all of you to jail for your traitorous acts against this country.

Les R. Porter

If you still want to send in an e-mail, you'll have to read a real column to find the address.

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