For President Bush, the new spirit of bipartisanship lasted just long enough for two photo ops with the new Democratic leaders in Congress.
We should have known. It is always the decider, not the unifier, in the White House. On most issues, Bush remains stubborn and relentless.
First, the president stuck his thumb in the eyes of the Senate by renewing a call to confirm John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. Bush had to recognize this was a nonstarter, leaving him looking for a new fight.
Bolton has done nothing at the U.N. to justify his confirmation. He hates the international body, and his public persona is always snarling and uninspiring. On diplomacy, he gets a huge F.
The president then extended his hand of friendship by calling on the Senate to confirm a number of right-wingers to the federal judiciary. Some friendship.
Again, he knew that the incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, was unwilling to go along. It was another bid for a fight.
Also, Bush seems bent on pushing through an eavesdropping bill he says is essential to homeland security. However, he realizes there is strong opposition by some to a lack of safeguards against snooping on U.S. citizens.
All of this makes a joke out of his summons for reaching across the aisle after the November 7 "thumpin'" from the voters.
Finally, Bush's words on the war in Iraq indicate he doesn't want to hear that message. His calls for a victory seem lined up with a prolonged war rather than a way to get out of a mess. His definition of victory is a blur.
He continues to act like nothing has changed since the voters delivered that message on Election Day. He just doesn't get it.