When President Bush returns to Washington next week he will have to decide where to spend his political capital. The President's approval ratings remain high. He knows what happened to his father, who tried to sit on a popularity lead. He also knows that Demorats and their left-wing media colleagues can't wait to help lower his numbers. But that doesn't mean the President must have no agenda, or actively pursue it.
It is obvious that his get-along with Democrats strategy isn't working. When he managed to get some Democratic senators to sign on to his economic stimulus proposal, Majority Leader Tom Daschle invoked a supermajority rule which says there must be 60 votes, not a simple majority, before any important legislations can be voted on.
The President can attack Daschle on his blockade tactics. He can also join with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who has criticized the senate for holding up the confermation of judges, especially in the war against terrorism. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy says the President could speed things up if he nominated people with a record of fairness instead of ideology. That's code for No Conservatives. Democrats, of course, are all about ideology. A Democrat president would only nominate judges who are pro-abortion, for example.
The public trusts President Bush and he'll need to use their approval to push his agenda and defeat his opponents. Traveling in Northern Ireland, Im Cal Thomas.