George W. Bush convinced many swing voters that he was "a uniter, not a divider." He pledged to work with Republicans and Democrats to change the tone of partisan rancor in Washington. But Washington is not Austin, and the sense of a stolen election has strengthened Democratic unity in a closely divided Congress. Any move to the center by Bush will also risk alienating conservatives in his own party.
If all had gone according to George W. Bush's original plan, Marc Racicot would today be our attorney general. Racicot, who was, until recently, governor of Montana, would have been a solid choice. Though he's enough of a GOP loyalist to satisfy the party faithful (he earned his partisan spurs working on Bush's behalf during the Florida recount), he is moderate enough to have pleased the suburban voters who turned out for Bush based on his claim to be a "uniter, not a divider." At one point recently, Racicot had the highest approval rating--87 percent--of any governor in the country.
President Bush's education effort so far has been high on photo ops and low on substance. He claimed he was increasing education funding by more than 11 percent. That's not quite right. Adjusted for some fuzzy math -- Bush credited himself with increases passed under Clinton -- the number is more like 5.9 percent. But a move Bush made last week is sure to have a tangible effect -- it will prevent thousands of students, mostly low-income students and minorities, from getting a college education. The Bush administration announced it would enforce an obscure federal law that denies financial aid to students convicted of a drug offense.
If you believe Trent Lott, Tom Daschle will have his hands full when he becomes majority leader of the Senate later today. Over the weekend, the deposed Republican majority leader bitterly threatened to "wage war" against Democrats, insisting their 50-49 majority does not actually constitute a majority and promising to grind Senate operations to a halt if he grows displeased with Daschle's handling of Bush's judicial nominees.