Bush Is Said to Have No Plan if GOP Loses
Some Republican strategists are increasingly upset with what they consider the overconfidence of President Bush and his senior advisers about the midterm elections November 7a concern aggravated by the president's news conference this week.
"They aren't even planning for if they lose," says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush's final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock.
"The Bush White House has had no relationship with Congress," said a Bush ally. "Beyond the Democrats, wait till they see how the Republicansthe ones that survivetreat them if they lose next month." GOP insiders are upset by Bush's seeming inability to come up with new ideas or fresh approaches. There is even a heightened sensitivity to the way Bush talks about advisers who served his father.
At the president's news conference on Wednesday, allies of his father complained that the president seemed dismissive of former Secretary of State James Baker, who remains close to his dad and is cochairman of a bipartisan panel studying the war in Iraq.
"I think it's good to have some of our elder statesmenI hate to call Baker an elder statesmanbut to go over there and take a look, and to come back and make recommendations," Bush said. Baker fans felt this made the former secretary seem part of a bygone era. There is also considerable criticism of Bush for making little or no news in his 63-minute encounter with the press.
"He had nothing to say at the press conference," says a prominent GOP insider. "My question is, why call it?"