Over at The Next Hurrah DemFromCt wonders whether Bush's failing Social Security mission is behind the Schiavo furor:
But the 'important' constituency here for Bush and the other Republicans is the Religious Right. Clearly the polls show this is an unpopular decision for Congress to intervene. Nonetheless, the politics appear to be pushing Republicans to take this as far as they can, heedless of the collateral damage done to them and their image as the party of 'small government'.
I can't help but wonder whether impending losses and/or compromises on such matters as Medicaid cuts, Social Security 'reform' or even failure to exercise the 'nuclear option' is part of the equation driving the desperation on the GOP's part to radically alter the relationship between the branches of government that all of this represents.
My feeling is it's more like the other way around: squandering the first half of his effective presidency before lame duckitude sets in on the ill-advised attack on Social Security has given the Congressional radicals free rein a good six months or more before they'd have ever tried to assert it, and Bush had to hop on the Tsunami Express for a quick ride to the head of the parade. I don't think they had a choice, and like the earlier DOMA business I think they'd have preferred to stay on the sidelines and mouth platitudes. Bush doesn't need to rally the religious right anymore; he just needs them on board. They see 2008 as their best chance ever, but don't think for a minute they don't realize that might entail running away from the Bush economy and the wreck of our foreign policy, even if their room to do so is limited.
And while I cringe whenever people on my end of the spectrum treat Unka Karl like he's Goldfinger, I'm not beyond asking the question: was the quick shift into corporate giveaway mode after the inauguration designed to give the radicals a bigger head start? The nomination is still probably Cheney's if he wants it, but he's got serious negatives that go beyond his health. Has he already made the decision? After him, the charisma and political sense is almost all in what passes for the center: McCain, Romney, Bob Ehrlich, Giuliani. Opposed to that there's what? Frist? Gingrich? The freeper wet-dream of Condi Rice? I've thought all along that the theocrats were going to have to start scorching the landscape before '06; I didn't realize it would start this early.