Home/Daniel Larison/A Man, A Plan, But No Canal?

A Man, A Plan, But No Canal?

First, the most important issue of his presidency, the war, has not gone as well as people want. Second, the war has sucked all the oxygen out of the president’s domestic agenda. Few today, when they think of the president, even remember faith-based initiatives, the Medicare reform law or even the “Bush tax cuts” that have helped create an almost unthinkably healthy economy of historic low unemployment and 41 consecutive months of growth. ~Tom DeLay

I didn’t realise that Politico was actively trying to live up to its negative reputation as the official online GOP smoke-blower, but then I have seen that Tom DeLay is apparently now a regular columnist for them, which would seem to confirm all the worst thing Politico’s critics have said and then some.  Couldn’t they have chosen an unindicted Republican instead?  I have it on good authority that there are still a few left out there!

DeLay’s column is surreal, which is what you might expect from someone who has inhaled as many insecticide fumes as he probably did in his previous career.  The war “has not gone as well as people want,” he says, as if it were simply a question of a particularly finicky public that demands impossibly high standards for effectiveness in war leadership.  Perhaps if people weren’t so unreasonably demanding, DeLay seems to be saying, they would see how well everything has actually gone.  Next, DeLay says that the war has “sucked all the oxygen out of” Bush’s domestic agenda (which implies that this agenda was full of air), to which the obvious reply would have to be: Bush has a domestic agenda?  Yes, he used to have one, but whatever he didn’t get passed in his first term died on the vine.  Except for amnesty, he already had nothing left on the domestic agenda at the start of 2006, and now even that seems unlikely to go anywhere for the time being.  No one remembers faith-based initiatives because that program was, by and large, a flop, and one derided by several people who used to work in the office for FBIs.  Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, the changes to Medicare are only too familiar to some–those would be the ones who remember the largest expansion of federal entitlements in a generation, the huge cost of the new program and the shameless arm-twisting the administration (and Tom DeLay) engaged in to make sure that it passed. 

DeLay’s advice is for Mr. Bush to now “move past Iraq [bold mine-DL] and return to a domestic agenda that is being hijacked by overreaching liberal Democrats.”  Indeed, in the words of DeLay’s moral exemplar and personal favourite, it’s time for the country to move on.  Why should the Commander-in-Chief (a position about which he never ceases us to remind us) get mired down in the exhausting and tiresome details of the war he started?  There is, in DeLay’s estimation, “nothing more he can do, except report back to the American people about the progress.”  Let’s move along.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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