Bush Finds Bright Side to Lame Duck Status

President Bush is facing the scandals of his second term with what can be called "lame duck advantage" - that is, not having to worry about getting votes.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


News analyst Daniel Schorr says President Bush's position on Iraq and some other issues reflects his status as a lame duck president.

DANIEL SCHORR: As his term winds down in disarray, President Bush enjoys what could be called the lame duck advantage - that is, he doesn't have to worry about votes. He devotes little attention after the Virginia Tech massacre to issues like campus safety and gun control except to reiterate support for gun ownership. He leaves it to the Democrats to take on the gun problems that usually divide Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says: I hope there's not a rush to do anything. We need to take a deep breath.

Earlier in his administration, Mr. Bush might have by now accepted the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who's a liability for the administration. But for now, he plays the loyalty card.

For Democrats, the most ticklish situation has become the $100 billion plus emergency spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. With growing sentiment for ending military involvement, the Democrats are looking for some compromise with the White House - timetable, benchmarks or the latest advisory opinion. The White House, less concerned about losing votes in the next election, is sticking to its guns, almost literally. The president has set a June deadline, postponed from a May deadline, for passage of an unamended bill or face a veto. And since he's less concerned about voters, the president apparently feels he can afford a veto likely not to be overridden.

Anyone who thinks that Iraq and Virginia Tech will bring great changes in our government is likely to be disappointed. Liberated from electoral pressures, other presidents might have used the opportunity to take action on issues that really matter to them. In George Bush's case, being a lame duck president allows him to let others take action.

This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.