Watching President Bush's deer in the headlights look the other night at the State of the Union, I thought I was watching Bill Clinton's 1995 speech all over again. Clinton had just led the Democrats into a train wreck 1994 election due to several circumstances, not the least of which was the perceived elitism and liberalism of Clinton's administration. Members of Congress who had survived for years in swing districts could no longer hide from conservative critics because they were all labeled "Clinton Democrats" and went down to defeat.
Much like Clinton did in 1995, Bush decided that he didn't need Congressional allies in his own party any longer and has moved towards the majority Democrats on any number of domestic issues. In 1995 Clinton declared "the era of big government is over," and alienated Congressional Democrats with any number of conservative sounding initiatives during the speech.
Clinton's 1995 speech did nothing for his approval rating. Newt Gingrich's House majority continued to dominate the domestic agenda until Clinton began acting like a Democrat in the fall of 1995 confronting Gingrich and the Congress over spending cuts. Bush cannot undo six years of neglect of the domestic agenda and his loss of credibility from numerous half truths in previous state of union speeches. Like Clinton, Bush will need an over reach from the majority in Congress to regain his political footing.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.