George W. Bush approaches the end of his first term beset by policy and political troubles that have severely compromised his chances for re-election. Iraq, of course, tops the list, with the anemic economy an unchallenged second. But it's worth remembering that the president's troubles didn't begin on September 11 or when he chose to invade Iraq in response.
CLEVELAND -- Are you ready for the dirtiest week and a half of politics since Eve got talked into that bite of the apple? A man in Defiance, Ohio, has been arrested for registering false Democratic voters in exchange for crack cocaine. The charge is election fraud, which the GOP says it is gravely concerned about. This smells -- and not just of smoke, either. Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, John Kerry's name was deleted, accidentally, from absentee ballots that were delivered to the Forest Park neighborhood, a predominantly black section of Cincinnati.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- We have now entered some altered universe where a lot appears familiar but everything feels somehow different. With three weeks to go before election day 2004, our national macro politics are essentially the same as they were three weeks after election day 2000: We are now, as we were then, a country sharply divided, deeply partisan, and evenly balanced in regard to rage and rancor.
It is ironic that after the great upheaval -- September 11 and anthrax, Afghanistan and Iraq, Enron, Saddam Hussein, and Howard Dean -- we are in many ways right back where we started: deadlocked.
Among Dick Cheney's most effective moments in his debate with John Edwards was when he said he had never met Edwards, even though he was on Capitol Hill nearly every Tuesday when the Senate is in session. Using his typical boulder-off-the-mountain delivery he said: “The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.”
This, of course, is now widely known to be false. They have met at least twice before. Once when Cheney in his capacity as president of the Senate issued the oath of office to Elizabeth Dole, Edwards' North Carolina colleague in the Senate, and another time at a prayer breakfast. Tim Russert reports a third meeting when they both appeared on his show Meet The Press on the same Sunday morning.