Will Bush Make a Change in Course?
On his Texas ranch this Thanksgiving weekend, President Bush may well be contemplating what has become the autumn of his discontent.
SHEILAH KAST, host:
NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: On major legislation, there's a gridlock in Congress and the government grinds along on a stop-gap spending bill called a continuing resolution. On Iraq, the killings go on and a hawkish, or once-hawkish congressman, John Murtha, has seized stage center by calling for a pullout of troops. Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan has to be shooed away from the nearby road. Efforts to get Iran and North Korea to give up their nuclear programs lie dead in the water, and even the space shuttle program is in trouble.
At such a time, it may be well for the president to think of leaders who have faced up to their problems not by staying the course, but by reversing course. The 19th-century British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, a Conservative, introduced a series of liberal reforms into Parliament. It was said this was something that only a famous Tory could do. In our own country, President Nixon created a sensation by flying to China for a friendly engagement with Mao Tse-tung. President Reagan, who coined the phrase `Evil Empire' for the Soviet Union, flew to Moscow to make peace with President Mikhail Gorbachev. They appeared together in Red Square while the mouths of Russians dropped.
And Ariel Sharon, one of the founders of the Likud Party, dedicated to never yielding an inch of Israeli-held soil and supporting the proliferation of Jewish settlements, has now engaged in a historic turnaround. He has not only pulled out of the Gaza Strip, but has resigned from the Likud Party that he helped to create to form a new party, more moderate.
As people said of Disraeli and Nixon and Reagan and Sharon, only a conservative could pull off this liberal thing. So think of a timetable for leaving Iraq. Think of postponing tax cuts and raising taxes to repair the social safety net. Think of repealing the Medicare drug law, which has senior citizens in total confusion, and enacting a straight expansion of Medicare. If President Bush is thinking of his legacy, he may reflect on the idea of being born again, this time politically. This is Daniel Schorr.
KAST: It's 22 minutes before the hour.
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