Two clocks running on Bush presidency.By Peter Baker and Michael A. Fletcher WASHINGTON--On desks around the West Wing sit digital clocks counting down the days and hours left in the Bush presidency, reminders to the White House staff to use the time left as effectively as possible. As of 8 a.m. Thursday, those clocks will read 824 days, four hours. But if the elections go the way pollsters and pundits predict, they might as well read 20 days. At least that would be the end of George W. Bush's presidency as he has known it. If Democrats win one or both houses of Congress on Nov. 7, the result will transform the remainder of Bush's time in office and dramatically shift the balance of power in Washington. Ending a dozen years basically passed in exile, congressional Democrats would have a chance to help steer the nation again--following a campaign spent mostly assailing Bush's vision rather than detailing their own. Around Washington, key figures in both parties have been trying to figure out what a Democratic victory would mean. Bush has been meeting privately with Cabinet secretaries in recent weeks to map out an agenda for his final two years in office. The White House says it is not making contingency plans for a Democratic win, but Bush advisers are bracing for what they privately recognize is the increasing likelihood. And Democratic leaders have been conferring about what they would do should voters return them to power. Emboldened em·bold·en
tr.v. em·bold·ened, em·bold·en·ing, em·bold·ens
To foster boldness or courage in; encourage. See Synonyms at encourage.
Adj. 1. by victory, and bitter from grievance, Democrats could use their ascendance as·cen·dance also as·cen·dence
Noun 1. ascendance - the state that exists when one person or group has power over another; "her apparent dominance of her husband was really her attempt to make him pay to block Bush's agenda, force him to respond to theirs and begin a new era of aggressive oversight and investigation. A Democratic victory, analysts in both parties said, could mean that some of Bush's tax cuts would not be renewed, attempts to revive his Social Security investment plan would be doomed and efforts to further broaden national security powers in the face of civil liberties concerns would be thwarted. Most worrisome to the White House is the subpoena subpoena (səpē`nə) [Lat.,=under penalty], in law, an order to a witness to appear before a court. A subpoena ad testificandum [Lat. power that Democrats would gain with a majority in the House or Senate. For years, Republicans have been mostly deferential deferential /def·er·en·tial/ (-en´shal) pertaining to the ductus deferens.
Of or relating to the vas deferens.
pertaining to the ductus deferens. in scrutinizing the Bush administration, but Democrats are eager to re-examine re·ex·am·ine also re-ex·am·ine
tr.v. re·ex·am·ined, re·ex·am·in·ing, re·ex·am·ines
1. To examine again or anew; review.
2. Law To question (a witness) again after cross-examination. an array of issues, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force, the Jack Abramoff Jack Abramoff (born February 28, 1959) is a former American political lobbyist, a Republican political activist and businessman who was a central figure in a series of high-profile political scandals. scandal and preparations for the Iraq war Iraq War: see under Persian Gulf Wars.
or Second Persian Gulf War
Brief conflict in 2003 between Iraq and a combined force of troops largely from the U.S. and Great Britain; and a subsequent U.S. . "It obviously affects things a lot," said Charles Black This article is about the law scholar. For the counterfeiter, see Charles Black (counterfeiter).
Charles L. Black, Jr. (born September 22, 1915, Austin, Texas; died May 5, 2001, New York City) was a noted scholar of constitutional law, which he taught as professor of , a Republican lobbyist with ties to the White House. "History tells you that administrations have a hard time achieving things in their last two years. I think the president wants to be as aggressive as he can with a good menu of ideas. "If he had to deal with a Democratic majority in one house or both," Black added, it makes it that much harder. Steve Elmendorf Steven A. Elmendorf, a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., was a senior advisor to House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt for 12 years, serving as his chief of staff after 1997. Elmendorf was also deputy campaign manager for U.S. , a former House Democratic leadership aide, said of Bush: "He would lose control of his agenda. He would have to make a decision: Does he want to compromise and work cooperatively with the Democrats, or does he want to keep pushing what he's been pushing and lose all the time?" The most salient analogy may be the last time Congress changed hands, after the 1994 election. President Bill Clinton was left trying to assert that "the Constitution gives me relevance" even as new House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and his Republicans seized the initiative. Clinton ultimately recovered through a mixture of confrontation with Republicans, most notably in a government shutdown This article or section may deal primarily with the U.S. and may not present a worldwide view. , and "triangulation triangulation: see geodesy.
The use of two known coordinates to determine the location of a third. Used by ship captains for centuries to navigate on the high seas, triangulation is employed in GPS receivers to pinpoint their current location on earth. " in which he embraced some of their priorities, such as overhauling the welfare system. The difference is that Clinton's presidency was still young, while Bush is heading into the twilight of his administration--and is stuck in an unpopular war. But some Republicans think that Bush could play off overreaching Exploiting a situation through Fraud or Unconscionable conduct. Democrats as Clinton did with Gingrich. Or he could pivot to the more bipartisan mode he promised to bring from Texas and seize opportunities for progress in areas such as immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. , where his proposed guest-worker program has been blocked by his own party. "One of the lessons for President Bush if he loses one or both chambers is the California example," said Sergio Bendixen, a pollster poll·ster
One that takes public-opinion surveys. Also called polltaker.
Word History: The suffix -ster is nowadays most familiar in words like pollster, jokester, huckster, for Democrats. "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (German pronunciation (IPA): [ˈaɐ̯nɔlt ˈaloɪ̯s ˈʃvaɐ̯ʦənˌʔɛɡɐ] at this time in 2005 was considered to be in deep trouble. But now he is a shoo-in for re-election. How did he turn things around? He has gone from a very partisan Republican to somebody who was working with the other party. I wouldn't be surprised if Bush does the same thing." John Bridgeland John M. Bridgeland (b. May 1, 1960) is CEO of Civic Enterprises, a public policy firm in Washington, D.C.  and CEO of Malaria No More, a non-profit launched at the White House Summit on Malaria , a former Bush domestic policy adviser consulted by the White House in recent planning, said that regardless of who wins the election, the president would benefit from cooperating across party lines. "Without doing so, it will be more difficult to get things done that will be lasting," he said. "You can do things by executive order, but they may not survive into other administrations." Bipartisanship, though, has been in short supply since Bush became president. In his first term, he negotiated support from both sides for his No Child Left Behind education law even as Democrats took control of the Senate in June 2001 because of a party switch. But as a practical matter, Bush faced an opposition chamber in Congress for just 98 days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, after which both parties rallied behind him for a time. Republicans won back the Senate in 2002. Bush has had a difficult enough time winning support from a Republican Congress over the past two years, and some expect the party to turn on him even more if it loses, particularly because of the Iraq war, which has been an albatross for GOP candidates. When the voting is done, pressure may rise from within Bush's own ranks to rethink Iraq policy, as evidenced by comments by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., who recently said that Bush should take a new course if the situation does not improve in 60 or 90 days. But presidents have broad leeway to set foreign policy regardless of the legislative branch, and a Democratic Congress may exert more direct influence on domestic matters. Bush has been preparing his post-election agenda in a series of meetings, sitting down one-on-one with nine members of his Cabinet in the past month to review ideas. Bush insists that the sessions not consider a victory by Democrats, participants said. But the discussions have focused on items that could attract bipartisan interest, such as further efforts to rebuild the hurricane-torn Gulf Coast, reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and renewal of farm legislation. "He's fired up for the last two years of his administration," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Michael Owen Johanns (born June 18, 1950) is an American Republican politician. A former Governor of Nebraska, he served as the 28th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He was the fourth Nebraskan to hold the position. said in an interview after meeting with Bush. "He's pushing all of us, pushing himself," Rob Portman, director of the Office of Management and Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), formerly the Bureau of the Budget, is an agency of the federal government that evaluates, formulates, and coordinates management procedures and program objectives within and among departments and agencies of the Executive Branch. , said after his own session. "I don't think there's going to be any letup let·up
1. A reduction in pace, force, or intensity; a slowdown.
2. A temporary stop; a pause.
Noun 1. ." Bush aides recognize that no matter who wins next month, the president has at best a year to push through any last major initiatives before the 2008 presidential race takes over the national political agenda. Portman, a former House member, said he hopes there will be "a time-out on partisanship" after next month's election that can be exploited in 2007. "It's a critical year," he said. The agenda-planning meetings are the brainchild of White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, who handed out the countdown clocks to fellow Bush aides earlier this year. Bolten wants to use the process to develop new ideas and find ways to measure the success of old ones, colleagues said. "There's still plenty of time to get important things done if people on both sides of the aisle are willing to work together to do it," Deputy White House Chief of Staff The Deputy White House Chief of Staff is officially the top aide to the White House Chief of Staff, who is the senior aide to the President of the United States. The Deputy Chief of Staff usually has an office in the West Wing and is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of Joel Kaplan said in an interview. "Two years is a long time." After the election, Kaplan said, Bush will "look for partners in Congress" to accomplish priorities, such as extending his tax cuts, developing alternative energy supplies and promoting American competitiveness. The question in the White House is whether Democrats would be willing to be partners. While Democrats see Bush as relentlessly partisan, his aides think Democrats have been deliberately obstructionist ob·struc·tion·ist
One who systematically blocks or interrupts a process, especially one who attempts to impede passage of legislation by the use of delaying tactics, such as a filibuster. even on issues of little dispute. Against that backdrop of mutual suspicion, the two sides may find it difficult to come together. "The Democrats are so blinded by their hate of Bush, they'll have a hard time even having a bill-signing with him," Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers
Edward Antonio (Ed) Rogers (born August 29, 1978 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) is an utility infielder who plays for the Boston Red Sox organization. said. "That might make for some good political contrasts, but not much substance." Ron Kaufman, who was White House political director for George W. Bush, said: "If they try to take down the president, if you will, it would be really stupid. It would play into the long-term interests of the Republican Party." Leon Panetta, who became Clinton's White House chief of staff after the 1994 Republican victory, agreed: "My fear is that the Democrats after 12 years of trench warfare and a pretty rough time--these people are pretty battle-scarred from that--basically come out and seek vengeance for everything that's taken place. If they do that, I think they make a pretty big mistake because the public will say, 'These guys are no different than Tom DeLay and his crowd.'" Others doubt the Democrats would make that mistake. Former House majority leader Richard Armey, R-Texas, who squared off against Panetta in that era, said Democrats would be in better shape to transition from opposition to governing than his Republicans were in 1994 because enough seasoned veterans are still around, such as Rep. John Dingell of Michigan. "The best Democrats, people like Dingell, on oversight have a tendency to say, 'Let's get into the programs and see how they work and how they could be better'," he said. "That's healthy oversight. ... They may stay away from political oversight looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. scandals and stay with programmatic oversight. They do it well and they may want to play against expectations." A*LATWP News Service Two clocks running on Bush presidency
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