All the cuddly overtures in the spirit of bipartisanship on the part of the new majority that permeated the immediate post-election period will dissolve before the swearing in of the 110th Congress. In fact, most of that talk is disingenuous in the first place, because bipartisanship in the current usage only means one thing—you must see things my way and move toward my position on the issue at hand. Give me a break! What we have in this country is a major case of what Tom Friedman calls “systematic misunderstanding”, which arises when your framework, or worldview, and the other person’s framework are so fundamentally at odds that the impasse cannot be resolved by providing more information or facts. Since the end of the Reagan era and the Cold War, this nation is essentially a 50/50 split politically and the stalemate will not be resolved in the next eighteen months, which is the length of time before the party conventions, the culmination of the nominating campaigns that have already begun. So it’s on to 2008, which will be the next watershed event and in my estimation will be the most defining election for this country since at least 1980 and possibly since 1932.
What President Bush should resolve to do now is, first, remember that for all the talk on the left about “mandate”, this election was not a repudiation of conservatism; to the contrary, there is abundant evidence that the results were as much punishment for the abandonment of conservative principles as anything else; second, he should establish the following objectives and resolve to “push the envelope” on them with the Democratic Congressional majority at every opportunity:
- Win the war
- Protect life
- Appoint strict constructionist judges
- Shrink government
- End Congressional “earmarks”
- Advance free trade
- Marketize health care and retirement finance
- Control the borders
- Expand the “opportunity society”
Third, he should make the principles that underlie these objectives clear to all and veto any bill that violates them.