Since Judith Miller was let loose to wander and watch the aspens turn, Sheryl Gay Stolberg has become the New York Times’s official Bush Administration sycophant. In an embarrassing front page article, she lets us know that Bush will spend his last year in office doing the warm fuzzies.
As President Bush looks toward his final year in office, with Democrats controlling Congress and his major domestic initiatives dead on Capitol Hill, he is shifting his agenda to what aides call “kitchen table issues” – small ideas that affect ordinary people’s lives and do not take an act of Congress to put in place.
Over the past few months, Mr. Bush has sounded more like the national Mr. Fix-It than the man who began his second term with a sweeping domestic policy agenda of overhauling Social Security, remaking the tax code and revamping immigration law.
Isn’t that sweet? She tells us it’s kind of like what President Clinton did, omitting the part about President Clinton actually getting things done. She says Bush went to Maryland to announce protections for a couple of types of fish, he asked lenders to help homeowners refinance, he gave the FDA new powers to recall foods, and he had the military open more air space, to enable faster domestic air travel. What a guy!
With a Mideast peace conference planned for the coming week and a war in Iraq to prosecute, Mr. Bush is, of course, deeply engaged in the most pressing foreign policy matters of the day.
That’s nice. Because his refusal to engage in any Mideast peace process, upon first taking office, is part of the reason the violence and land-grabs exploded, in the last several years, while both sides elected their most extreme governments ever. And then there’s that pesky war. Good thing the man’s still on top of things! But, still, he has this domestic agenda, as an attempt to make nicey-nice with the public!
Stolberg then blithers for several paragraphs, quoting Republicans talking about Bush remaining relevant, sprinting to the finish, and being aggressive. There’s also another comparison to the way President Clinton used smaller initiatives to help people.
“People in Washington laughed when Mr. Clinton would talk about car seats or school uniforms,” said John Podesta, Mr. Clinton’s former chief of staff. “But I don’t think the public laughed.”
Nor does the public appear to be laughing at Mr. Bush.
You have to love that last sentence. No, people aren’t laughing at Bush; they’re too busy loathing him. You see, President Clinton pursued smaller issues because he cared about people, not because he was trying to distract people from a disastrous war, war crimes, domestic spying, the complete politicization of government, a flagging economy, and every other level of presidential failure possible.