During this week's Republican National Convention, pundits have been speculating on who will be in a John McCain administration. The choice of advisers for McCain is especially important because he will likely be relying on them just as much, if not more, than President Bush has on his. In fact, McCain risks being overtaken by a McCain administration.
All candidates and presidents rely on their confidants for advice. But something more has been happening in the McCain campaign. McCain's advisers, rather than the candidate himself, are often the authoritative voices. Who will actually run a McCain administration?
The White House response to former press secretary Scott McClellan's damning new book would be much more convincing if it weren't so familiar. The administration is following the same script it always uses when one of its own turns against it.
Since last Tuesday, senior members of the Bush administration have largely put aside their governing duties and become character assassins. Their target: Scott McClellan, previously a member of President Bush's inner circle and, ironically, once a top character assassin himself.
Everything was supposed to change after Bush v. Gore. Never again would the outcome of a presidential election be left in the hands of nine Supreme Court justices who issued their opinion amid nation-wide questions of "hanging chads" and "butterfly ballots." In its opinion, the court said it anticipated "legislative bodies nationwide" would "examine ways to improve the mechanisms and machinery for voting" in order to avoid a repeat of the 2000 recount disaster.
Despite the White House's leap to claim victory on S-CHIP, in reality Bush is playing defense, forced to rely on vetoes and executive orders to swat down the progressive legislation Congress has sent his way.
President Bush walks from the Oval Office, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007, after vetoing a bill expanding a popular health care program for children by $35 billion. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
There was no shortage of chest-thumping last week at the White House. When House conservatives voted to sustain President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), White House spokeswoman Dana Perino gleefully told reporters, "We won this round on S-CHIP." Earlier in the week, Bush justified denying health insurance to four million children by claiming that vetoes show he is still "relevant." "That's one way to ensure that I'm in the process," he said during a press conference.