The Times has a piece lauding the enormous efficiency of the Bush machine on Capitol Hill. CAFTA, the transportation bill, the energy boondoggle -- all are passing and this duck, once thought to be lame, is soaring with the eagles.

Of course, this is really like being impressed that a waterfowl with a jetpack is able to get airborn. The media, much of the time, does not quite seem to comprehend the importance and legislative power of Bush's party controlling the House and the Senate. It's rather hard to imagine how, save for a major intraparty schism, Bush could become a lame duck in this legislative situation, at least on relatively uncontroversial issues.

And save for CAFTA, Bush's accomplishments have been relatively uncontroversial. Democrats won on the energy bill. What stopped passage last year was DeLay's amendment to retroactively shield MTBE manufacturers from lawsuits. This year, it got dropped. The transportation bill was so loaded with pork that everyone wanted it to go through. And CAFTA? A midnight vote, extended almost an hour beyond its schedule, where the GOP leadership may have broken the law because they were so desperate to buy "ayes".

Bush isn't a lame duck. How could he be? But he's sure not flying very high.