Rove Says Bush Victory May Mark Republican Dominance


Veteran Member

Rove Says Bush Victory May Mark Republican Dominance (Update1)

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's election victory may
begin decades of Republican dominance in U.S. politics, Karl Rove, the
president's chief political adviser, said.

Rove, who Bush called the ``architect'' of his political campaign, likened
the Nov. 2 election to that of 1896, when voters picked Republican William
McKinley and ``realigned American politics years afterward.''

``I think the same thing will be here,'' he said on the ``Fox News
Sunday'' program. ``It depends on how Republicans act in office.''

Bush received 51 percent of the vote, the first presidential candidate to
win a majority since 1988, when his father, George H.W. Bush, was elected
to follow Ronald Reagan. Republicans also expanded their majorities in the
U.S. House and Senate. The president said Nov. 4 he will use his
``political capital'' from the victory to push for overhauling federal
income tax laws and the Social Security system.

Democrat Barack Obama, who won election to the Senate from Illinois, said
the U.S. is not as divided as the vote tallies suggest. Democrats can make
gains if they ``present a proactive agenda and vision for the country and
not simply run against something,'' he said on NBC's ``Meet the Press''

Republican Success

Republicans won because they were more successful in talking about
``values and morality'' and conflating the issues of terrorism and Iraq,
Obama, one of two Democrats to take a Senate seat from the Republicans,

In the next session of Congress, Republicans will have an edge in the
Senate of 55 to 44 with one independent, and 231 of the 435 seats in the
House. Rove said his party must make progress on its agenda to preserve
the gains.

``There are no permanent majorities in American politics,'' Rove said on
the NBC program. ``They last for about 20 or 30 or 40, or, in the case of
the Roosevelt coalition, 50 or 60 years, and then they disappear. But
would I like to see the Republican Party be the dominant party for
whatever time history gives it the chance to be? You bet.''

Following the presidential victory by Republican McKinley with 51 percent
of the vote in 1896, Republicans won six of the next eight presidential
elections. They also held a congressional majority for all but six years
of that span.

Democrats returned to dominate after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt
in 1932 in the wake of the Great Depression.

Surveys of voters after they cast ballots showed that 22 percent
considered ``moral values'' the top issue at stake in the election, more
than named the economy, Iraq or terrorism.


Rove said Bush ``absolutely'' will pursue a constitutional amendment that
would ban same-sex marriage. Bush supports letting states make laws that
would give same-sex partners visitation rights in hospitals and
inheritance rights, he said.

``Marriage is a very important part of our culture and our society,'' Rove
said. ``If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim
for the ideal. And the ideal is that marriage ought to be and should be a
union of a man and a woman. And we cannot allow activist judges to
overturn that.''

Another area where Bush will influence U.S. politics is in judicial
appointments, including the Supreme Court. Chief Justice William
Rehnquist, 80, is being treated for thyroid cancer and there are four
justices in their 70s or 80s.

`Impartial Umpires'

The president believes judges should be ``impartial umpires,'' Rove said,
and Bush will seek to appoint judges who ``strictly interpret the
Constitution.'' He said there is no ``litmus test'' to only appoint judges
who oppose abortion.

Any appointment is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Republican
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who was re-elected on Nov. 2, said
last week the Senate was unlikely to confirm judges that would overturn
the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that permits women to have abortions. Bush
opposes the ruling, and religious groups that back him have called for it
to be overturned.

James Dobson, founder of the advocacy group ``Focus on the Family,'' said
on ABC's ``This Week'' program that Specter ``is a problem and he must be

Specter, who is in line to be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
said on CBS's ``Face the Nation'' that his comment reflected the
``political fact'' that Republicans, with 55 seats in the chamber, are
five votes short of the 60 needed to prevent Democrats from blocking
nominations through unlimited debate, a tactic known as a filibuster.

Specter, who backs a woman's right to have an abortion, said his critics
were ``the same people who came to Pennsylvania from all over the country
to try to defeat me in the primary election.''

``And they were unsuccessful,'' he said. ``They do not like my

Rove said Specter promised that ``every one of the president's nominees
would receive a prompt hearing, a vote in the committee within a
reasonable period of time, and that his appellate nominees would all be
brought to the floor for an up-or- down decision on the floor.''

``Senator Specter's a man of his word, and we'll take him at his word,''
Rove said on Fox.


Veteran Member
Bush May Come Up With 2nd-Term Surprises

1 hour, 58 minutes ago

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Odd things can happen when presidents no longer have to worry about re-election. George W. Bush embarks on another four years in the White House unleashed from election concerns for the first time in his presidency, raising questions about what he will do with the freedom of a second term.

Past presidents have often reached big in their second term, with some accomplishments that build on earlier ones and others that can appear to contradict them. Regardless, with their eyes trained away from the voting booth and toward the history books, many have taken the chance to gamble.

Take President Reagan, who made fighting communism the hallmark of his presidency and famously proclaimed the Soviet Union the "evil empire" two years into his first term. But in his second term, Reagan seized on the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev to power and — despite rhetoric that remained fiercely hawkish — became friends with the Soviet leader and worked with him to steer their nations away from nuclear confrontation.

By the end of his presidency, Reagan had signed a treaty with Gorbachev eliminating the entire class of medium-range nuclear-tipped missiles. The combination of toughness and conciliation helped end the Cold War.

Or take President Clinton (news - web sites), the Democrat elected in 1992 after embracing his party's centrist movement. But it took him until the first State of the Union speech of his second term to utter one of the most famous quotes of his presidency — that "the era of big government is over" — and to tackle the historic welfare reform legislation that dismayed many in the left wing of his party.

Possibilities for a second-term Bush exist in part because of circumstances, and in part because of the agenda he has already set.

Either way, there's no disputing at least two things: He'll have lots of extra time now that he no longer has to devote time to raising money and campaigning for re-election. It also won't be long before attention will turn to the 2008 presidential contest and he'll be considered a lame duck.

White House political adviser Karl Rove said Bush in his second term "absolutely" would push for a constitutional amendment that says marriage consists only of the union of a man and a woman.

Bush believes states can deal with the issue of civil unions between gay people, an arrangement that if enacted would grant same-sex partners most or all the rights available to married couples, Rove said Sunday.

In foreign policy, one obvious opportunity is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Bush's second term collides with changes in the region. Israel has taken steps to withdraw from Gaza after nearly 40 years of occupation.

With Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) hospitalized and gravely ill, the man seen by Washington as an untrustworthy peace partner may be sidelined.

Those developments could give Bush a chance to risk trying to make peace, and White House aides have already begun signaling they see an opening.

Observers also see a legacy-building opportunity in Bush's proposal to increase Social Security (news - web sites)'s long-term solvency by partially privatizing it. "He could really make his mark there," said Lee Edwards, an analyst of presidential decision-making at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

But to be successful on both those difficult fronts, Bush might have to curb the my-way-or-the-highway approach that has dominated his relations with Democrats in Congress and international allies, two groups whose help he will likely need.

"He's got political capital," said Princeton political scientist Fred Greenstein. "He'll have even more if he does some reaching out."

Greenstein suggested Bush may decided to do just that — fulfilling a promise he has made in the days since his successful re-election — by nominating "some kind of uniting figure" for any Supreme Court vacancy, instead of a conservative who would spark a bitter Senate confirmation fight.

However, experts noted there's been little indication from Bush that he plans to be anything other than the mostly unbending conservative of his first term. Since Election Day, he has promised to earn the trust of Democrats and talked of bipartisanship. But so far, that has mostly meant inviting Democrats to support his proposals and leaving them behind if they decline.

And in recent days, Bush has appeared, if anything, more emboldened than ever, political experts and presidential historians said. When asked to name his most immediate priorities, he raised an issue that is one of the most divisive flashpoints between the two parties — capping medical malpractice lawsuit awards.

"He talks the talk of conciliation, but he walks the walk of the solid conservative," said Allan J. Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University. "I see no sign the president is going to modify his approach."


Paranoid in Los Angeles
Yeah, the GOP now has a firm grip on matters government at the federal level.

Which means, like Avis, us Democrats are going to have to try harder.