05 Mar 2004 Lessons Learned?
An angry rant from NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi, and, he hopes, some lessons learned by the White House:
When it comes to getting conservative policies in place, going along to get along is never a winning strategy.
First, President Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign regulations into law against the warnings of conservatives. Relax, Bushies said with a wink, it won’t stand up to the inevitable Supreme Court challenge. They were wrong.
Then came Ellen Weintraub. Who? She’s now a commissioner of the Federal Elections Commission. When Tom Daschle submitted her name for consideration, conservatives warned Bush not to nominate her. Not only was she a lawyer for one of the most liberal law firms in D.C., but she is also the wife of Senator Feingold’s legislative director. On potential conflict of interest concerns alone, she should have been passed over. However, after Senator McCain placed holds on all Bush Administration nominations to force action on Weintraub, Bush installed her by recess appointment in December of 2002.
That’s when recess appointments were still OK. Actually, when they benefit liberals, they’re always considered OK.
Now, the Weintraub appointment is coming back to haunt the White House. At stake is over $300 million in money amassed by liberal “527” political groups that desperately want to defeat Bush in November. The FEC is poised to enact regulations to make these groups adhere to the spirit of McCain-Feingold by only spending smaller “hard money” donations rather than the large Soros-sized donations that are the loophole to the “soft money” spending ban. Weintraub is shocked and appalled that the FEC is acting so close to an election, and is threatening to make her swing vote a potential death blow to the Bush campaign. If the FEC rules aren’t enacted, Bush stands to be outspent three to one in the general election.
It’s clear the liberals aren’t pulling punches. Judicial nominees could be the most important legacy of President Bush, yet many of his best nominees sit stalled in the Senate as a liberal minority continues to sucker punch the Constitution with a series of obstructionist filibusters. An option has been outlined in which these nominees could receive up-or-down votes on the floor of the Senate, but fears of retribution are keeping Senate leaders from exercising this “nuclear option.” Considering their past mistakes on McCain-Feingold and Ellen Weintraub and the increasingly formidable challenge to his re-election, perhaps Bush and his supporters in the Senate should consider bold action to ensure there even is a Bush policy legacy.