Monday, November 22, 2004

A consequential president

The US elections were notable not just for the man they returned as president, but also for the position he now finds himself in. Not only do the Republicans have control of both the senate and the congress, but, as Charles Krauthammer points out in an article in Time, “[f]or the first time in a half-century, a two-term presidency will end without sending out its Vice President to seek a mandate for succession at the next election.” Krauthammer continues:

With Cheney's renouncing presidential ambitions, it is known in advance that the Bush Administration will die in January 2009 without an heir. What does that mean? … [E]arly in Bush's second term, the fact that Bush-Cheneyism will never have to seek popular ratification again gives Bush unique freedom of action. Which, in the hands of a President with unusually ambitious goals, will yield perhaps the most energetic — to some, the most dangerous — presidency of our lifetime.

Bush-haters will tremble at this, both with fear (of a hardline conservative judiciary?) and with anger (privatizing social security? How could he?). Conservatives, though, will be delighted, at what could be a seminal period in American history. Libertarians will have cause to cheer, especially if Bush’s reform of the tax codes involves abolishing the IRS in favout of a national sales tax. Krauthammer sums it up by saying, “This is no accidental presidency. Bush intends his to be a consequential presidency.”

An interesting four years lie ahead.

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