George Bush’s Disappearing Political Capital
When President Bush began his second term, he declared that his victory gave him plenty of political capital, and he intended to spend it. Bush laid out a controversial agenda of privatizing Social Security, blocking stem cell research and pushing extremist judges. In the process, Bush spent most of the capital he might have garnered from the November elections. Poll after poll shows that the American people are not happy with the leadership coming out of Washington, yet Bush forges ahead with his unpopular agenda, losing his capital along the way.
The president’s Social Security tour failed to garner support for his plan. Since the beginning of his second term, President Bush spent much of his time pushing his Social Security privatization plan. During March and April administration officials participated in 166 events to promote the president’s plan. Despite their efforts, the American people overwhelmingly disapprove of the way Bush is handling Social Security, and according to a recent CBS News poll, 56 percent of Americans think private accounts are a bad idea.
President Bush found himself on the wrong side of stem cells and the Terri Schiavo case. President Bush flew in from Crawford, Texas, to intervene in one family’s private medical drama. An astounding 76 percent of Americans disapproved of congressional intervention in the case and 54 percent specifically disapproved of Bush's role. And last week, President Bush once again threatened to veto the stem cell research bill that has wide bipartisan support. A majority of Americans support expanding stem cell research, yet Bush is willing to stand in the way of progress.
President Bush continues to stand behind John Bolton. President Bush’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, could not receive a positive recommendation from a Senate his own party controls. His nomination remains uncertain in part due to the objections of Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) and because his administration refuses to release the papers requested by members of the Senate.