9/18/2005

Newsview: Crisis Overtakes Bush's Agenda - Yahoo! News

You can steal an election but you can't fake the mandate that comes with winning legitimately -- law

"Political capital is limited and the president has overestimated that badly this year," said George C. Edwards III, professor of political science at Texas A&M University. "He thought he had a mandate and he didn't."


Newsview: Crisis Overtakes Bush's Agenda

WASHINGTON - Hurricane Katrina swamped President Bush's second-term domestic agenda, reordering his priorities and changing the political landscape.

His open-ended commitment to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast has become his No. 1 domestic imperative.

Swept away was Bush's pledge to cut the budget deficit in half. His centerpiece proposal to restructure
Social Security — in trouble even before the storm — probably is a casualty, too.

Also suddenly endangered are his proposals to make permanent certain tax cuts, repeal the estate tax, overhaul immigration law and rewrite tax laws.

"Congress' fall legislative agenda has been significantly modified," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn, said last week as the long-term costs of the hurricane grew clearer.

Five years into his presidency and with his approval ratings at an all-time personal low, Bush also is enduring increasing criticism from deficit hawks in his own party.

Conservatives are not challenging Bush's commitment to federal relief and reconstruction spending that could rise to over $200 billion. But they are clamoring for offsetting spending cuts in other areas.

That could further jeopardize a variety of Bush's initiatives before Congress, even though Bush pledged on Friday to cut unnecessary spending.

"It's going to cost whatever it's going to cost," he said.

While Bush sought unity in the storm's aftermath, Democrats are not backing down from their opposition to items in his overall agenda, particularly extending the tax cuts.

"Political capital is limited and the president has overestimated that badly this year," said George C. Edwards III, professor of political science at Texas A&M University. "He thought he had a mandate and he didn't."

Newsview: Crisis Overtakes Bush's Agenda - Yahoo! News

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