The Magazine

Bush Hadta Have CAFTA

The lame duck wins again.

Aug 8, 2005, Vol. 10, No. 44 • By FRED BARNES
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Two Republican leaders played significant roles in passing CAFTA. Bill Thomas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is an ardent free trader and a genius at drafting legislation that only he understands fully. Thomas is also pragmatic. He allowed a vote on a bill requiring the monitoring of China's trade practices to come before CAFTA. It passed, dissipating some of the anxiety over China. The other Republican who mattered was whip Roy Blunt. He promised all year that he could produce enough votes to ratify CAFTA, and he finally persuaded the White House. Better yet, he delivered.

For all the media chatter about Bush as a diminished force in Washington, he and congressional Republicans have put together a string of impressive victories with more to come. With John Roberts as his nominee, the president is on his way to transforming the Supreme Court into the conservative body that Republicans have dreamed about for decades. Meanwhile, the economy is so robust that Democrats rarely mention it. Is Bush a lame duck? He sure is. He may be the most energized and successful lame duck in the history of the modern presidency.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.