In the summer of 2006, the Republican Party still dominated Washington, but top White House officials could see the indictments written on the wall. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed the president to close the international "black sites" that the Central Intelligence Agency was clandestinely running, but Vice President Cheney and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pushed back hard.
This February in North Carolina, George W. Bush told a giddy crowd, “I'm here to talk about an issue that is going to be an interesting experience in dealing with the Congress [laughter]. And that is Social Security -- formerly known as the third rail of American politics [laughter]. That meant, if you touched it, there would be certain political death.”
He may not have been electrocuted as the result of the felony he tried to commit against Social Security, but he seems to have learned what the rest of the conservative movement has known for years: Don't attack popular social programs directly. Instead, come at them from the side. While the indirect strategy may lack the glamour of a full-frontal counterrevolution, at least it's not suicidal.
When Bolivia's interim president, Eduardo Rodriguez, announced on June 9 that he would hold new congressional and presidential elections within six months, it was widely portrayed as the end of a month-long crisis that nearly spurred a civil war. But the political divisions besetting Bolivia didn't begin this year -- and they're not likely to end easily.