The New York Times ventures out of the bunker with this bit of analysis from Richard W. Stevenson:
Five months after President Bush was sworn in for another four years, his political authority appears to be ebbing, both within his own party, where members of Congress are increasingly if sporadically going their own way, and among Democrats, who have discovered that they pay little or no price for defying him.
In some cases, Mr. Bush is suffering mere political dings that can be patched up, like the votes by the House this past week to buck him on withholding dues to the United Nations and retaining a controversial provision of the USA Patriot Act.
In others, the damage is more than cosmetic, as in the case of stem cell research, an issue on which a good portion of his party is breaking with him. In a few instances – most notably the centerpiece of his second-term agenda, his call to reshape Social Security – he is dangerously close to a fiery wreck that could have lasting consequences for his standing and for the Republican Party.
The cumulative effect of his difficulties in the last few months has been to pierce the sense of dominance that he sought to project after his re-election and to heighten concerns among Republicans in Congress that voters will hold them, as the party in power, responsible for failure to address the issues of most concern to the public.
“The political capital he thought he had has dwindled to very little, and he overstated how much he had to begin with,” said Allan J. Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington.
And Bush’s answer to all of his troubles? Blame the Democrats.
It’s nice to see that the press is finally beginning to come out from their shell and take a hard look at what we’ve got going on here: a colossal mess of a presidency.