Here we have yet another sign that President Bush’s tactic of reaching out with his fists may not be having the intended results.
This article from the Post says Democrats from Bush-leaning states don’t seem particularly intimidated by his pushy visits to their states. And a number seem like they’re getting pissed. Word is also that John Breaux, the Senator from Louisiana, is miffed at Bush. He apparently feels that the Bushies played him for a fool, trotting him out as a symbol of bipartisanship, and then pursuing a partisan, uncompromising agenda.
I’ve also gotten the impression, from a number of recent conversations, that the White House is increasingly looking at this whole effort on the Clinton 1993 model. That is to say, rely on near total support from your own party, little or no support from the opposition, and ram it through with only a vote or two to spare.
Democrats half fear that Bush will offer them a compromise later on, bring over a bunch of Dems, and then claim political credit for an improved bill. But they may not be figuring on how little room Bush has to compromise — given the importance the tax cut has for keeping members of the conservative coalition in line and quiet about policy priorities he’d rather they not bring up.
To Bush, Rove, et. al. this is simply not a fight they can afford to lose or a struggle they can afford to give on; and that argument is one they’ll be making VERY strenuously to wavering Senate Republicans a couple months from now.