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Saturday, May 21, 2005

The National Review Has a Dreary Spring

The National Review Online is unhappy with the progress of the Administration’s domestic agenda. Who do you think the National Review blames? While this Kudlow column takes the obligatory jab at Democrats as obstructionists and tries to tie the failure of Social Security and other domestic reform proposals to the filibustering of judges, it is evident that even the NRO is beginning to realize there is a clown show going on in Washington. And they aren’t laughing:

The Dreariest Political Spring, The hoped-for domestic-reform agenda has gone nowhere, Larry Kudlow, NRO: Conservatives were near ecstatic last November when President Bush won handily and the Republicans strengthened their hold in Congress. Hopes were high that little could stop the implementation of a true conservative agenda … But the hoped-for domestic-reform agenda has … degenerated into a hopeless morass of name-calling, scandal-mongering, political-bludgeoning, and relationship-breaking over the seemingly simple issue of giving the president’s judicial nominees an up-or-down vote. …

According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, … Democrats receive a 47 percent approval rating while Republicans get only 40 percent. These are the worst polling data for the GOP since the eve of the Gingrich revolution of 1994. It is not, however, a perfect poll. .... The single biggest problem facing Americans today seems to be rising gasoline prices, with jobs and the economy following suit. Yet seldom does Bush even talk about energy. Another key issue of discontent is immigration. The president seems to want more of it while the public clearly wants less. … pollster Scott Rasmussen points out a real landmine for the Bush reform proposals of Social Security … it’s the age group of 50 to 64 years that is completely opposed to what they’re hearing. ... This group is the most likely segment of the voting population for the midterm elections — not a good sign for GOP strategists.

… Is the White House and its congressional allies selling policy reforms that voters simply are not buying? … will tax-reform commissioners Connie Mack and John Breaux ever get their proposals to see the light of day in the current obstructionist congressional climate? … All senators have dirt on their hands these days. The Senate, if you can believe it, just delivered a budget-busting pork-laden $295 billion highway bill, featuring several thousand special-interest earmarks and a phony tax-transfer from general revenues to the trust fund. Where was the allegedly conservative Republican-controlled Senate? This bill was voted through 89 to 11 … the capital city seems to be disconnecting from the country. ... This is surely the dreariest political spring I can remember.

The reluctance to give the Administration and GOP leadership in Congress their full share of the responsibility for the public’s resistance to reform efforts is evident, and the argument that every problem they encounter is due to minority obstructionism is transparently weak, but the NRO is beginning to acknowledge that the failure of the Administration and Congress is causing the dreariness surrounding the domestic-reform agenda they are feeling this spring.

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