The Magazine

The Bush Bounce

He's only part way back.

Jul 17, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 41 • By FRED BARNES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Getting there won't be easy. Bush (and Republicans) could use fresh accomplishments. Winning passage of an immigration reform bill, for example, would be a legislative vic tory of the magnitude Bush hasn't achieved since the Medicare prescription drug benefit was passed in December 2003. A successful fight to cut spending would chip away at Bush's image as a profligate spender. A battle to fill a Supreme Court vacancy with a conservative nominee would cause the center-right coalition that prevailed in the 2002 and 2004 elections to coalesce again.

If all goes well--which it often doesn't in politics--even the media might be forced to give Bush a measure of respect. At his press conference in Chicago last week, the press seemed oblivious to his partial recovery. A local reporter asked if a quote by an aide to Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka had offended the president. The reporter paraphrased the quote this way: "Given your low approval ratings in the polls, they prefer you to come here in the middle of the night." One reason the president had traveled to Illinois was to raise money for Topinka. Bush said he wasn't offended. He should have been.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.