You simply must read this article by David Broder in today’s WashingtonPost. The headline reads “On 1st Look, [Bush’s] Approach Earns Praise.”
That’s funny, though. Because just about every word in the piece reads more like “On 1st Look, Bush’s approach makes people think he’s an arrogant a$#h@le.”
How did Bush open his first ever meeting with Senator Minority Leader Tom Daschle? “I came here to ask for one thing: I hope you never lie to me.”
That’s a good start.
Is he for real with this stuff? I wish Daschle would have slapped him around a bit for that one. But Daschle, wisely, is probably content to let Bush fall on his face.
The theme of the article is that Bush comes in with little sense that his questionable victory has any implications for how he should begin his presidency. He seems intent on swaggering it out, or, as his dad once said in a different context, ‘kicking a lil’ ass.”
“His determination to press for the agenda on which he campaigned was clear,” says Broder, “his readiness to adapt to the power-sharing implicit in the near-parity of party strength in Congress was less visible.”
Here’s some more:
Yet in his meetings Monday on Capitol Hill, Bush hardly behaved like someone who was sneaking into the White House by the back door. One Republican, watching him for the first time, was struck by the “Texas macho.”
“There’s some swagger to him,” he said. “He swore a couple times just for emphasis.”
“His body language was good — very good eye contact,” said one Democrat with whom he met. “He certainly doesn’t lack for self-confidence.”
A senior Bush aide who sat in on some of the sessions said he thought it “important that they heard from the man himself how seriously he takes the issues he campaigned on.” And that message came through, according to auditors.
(Is Broder telling us to read between the lines? Or did he himself fail to do so?)
Thus far the wise buzz on Bush’s seeming intransigence on the $1.3 trillion tax cut has been that he’s just setting forth a good negotiating position – from which he knows he’ll have to fall back. But this article makes it sound a bit more like he thinks he can get most of what he wants if he just sticks to his guns, kicks a little butt, and tells a few dopey stories about how he handled business in Texas.
Can you say â¦ smack-down?