Monday, October 23, 2006

Not My President

Aside from one brief moment after 9/11, I have never considered George Bush to be my President. It's not that he is a Republican and I am a Democrat. I voted against and disagreed with Ronald Reagan, but never doubted that he was my President. Because he thought of himself as the President of the entire country, and governed that way, he enjoyed the affection and support of many people who disagreed with his policies. But George Bush has never thought of himself as the President of the whole country; he has never sought to represent the interests of more than half of the electorate, at most. From today's Los Angeles Times:
With a few exceptions, such as education and immigration policy, he has targeted his central initiatives — tax cuts, judicial appointments, the unilateral projection of U.S. power abroad — primarily at the priorities of conservatives while conceding little to interests outside his coalition.

In Congress and across the country, that ideologically polarizing agenda has helped Bush unify and excite Republicans. But it has come at the cost of antagonizing Democrats and straining his relations with independent voters.

This strategy has rested on the calculation that if Bush generates enough turnout on election day from Republicans and conservative-leaning independents, he can survive unease among moderate independents and intense opposition from Democrats.
There has never been a moment in his presidency when he hasn't been campaigning and governing for his constituency. This is why it took him only a matter of months to destroy the bipartisan goodwill the country experienced after 9/11. He immediately set about using it as a wedge issue to win the next election.

I look forward to the day when the whole country has a President again, be he or she Republican or Democratic.

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