Sunday, November 6


Dick Morris has written a provocative, well-thought column for Jewish World Review in which he points to the failed second administrations of past presidents of the 20th Century and offers prescriptions for President Bush in order to recapture the lost momentum of his successful first term.

President Bush, of course, is suffering a significant downturn in the polls, continues to be savaged by the rival no-ideas' political party and its allies in the mainstream media, and faced a near revolt by his conservative base over the nomination of cipher Harriet Miers.

Dick Morris writes:

What Bush needs is a new agenda to capture control of the nation's politics. Here are some suggestions:

  • A fence along to border to stop illegal immigration and a vast expansion of our capacity to apprehend, hold and deport aliens who overstay their visas.
  • A tough new drug policy focused on reducing demand by mandating drug testing in schools and incentives for employers to require testing at the workplace.
  • A national crusade to free America of oil dependence including promotion of hybrid cars, production and distribution of hydrogen fuels, nuclear power, the installation of recapture mechanisms to make coal burning clean, and expansion of biofuels, solar power and wind energy.
Bush will not recapture the initiative by a battle over Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. Why he did not choose to nominate Judge Janet Rogers Brown, who had already been ruled non-filibusterable by the group of 14 senators who hold the balance of power, is a mystery.

I'm pleased to see that Morris points to border security as a key linchpin in a second term political turnaround for the president. I wholeheartedly concur. I'm not so sure, however, that Morris' series of prescriptions should have made no mention of the war in Iraq and the global war on terrorism. While I support the president and the GWOT, I believe the president has failed to communicate clearly and actively what America's goals are, the requirements for eventual troop withdrawal in Iraq, and the ability of the Iraqis to fight for their own freedoms and liberties. More compelling, the president hasn't made clear where the other serious threats are (as if discussing Iran and Syria is too much for Americans to digest) and what Americans can and should expect down the road. Indeed, the communication process has been poor and continues to put reliance more on careworn cliches and bromides (e.g., "we're going to stay the course and not cut and run"), rather than on hard, sobering information.

So Iraq and the GWOT would be my second bullet point, rather than a war on drugs.

My third would be fiscal restraint -- a clarion call by the president and the GOP to reign in the spending and to identify clearly the offsets. The highway and energy bills were unconscionably pork-laden and so indicative of a Congress out-of-control that it's hard to make the case that a Republican-controlled Congress is any more prudent fiscally than a Democratic-controlled.

As for Dick Morris' observation vis-a-vis Janice Rogers Brown, she was always my choice for the SCOTUS and one can only hope that if President Bush gets another opportunity during his second term that he will nominate her.