Leading a Divided Party

The President is really in an unenviable position politically these days. His own party is deeply divided, and that usually spells trouble. With the November elections now just over four months away, the Republican divide is threatening the elephant's control of Congress. Some of this is normal "sixth year" stuff that goes along with the historical pattern that the President's party loses seats. But Bush has bucked that trend before (in 02) and maybe he will again. Here's what I think needs to happen:

1) Go back to basics. When a football team gets off track, they start practicing blocking and tackling again. Being able to execute the fundamentals is essential to success. Presidential cheerleader Hugh Hewitt has it down to fifteen words, and the administration would be wise to listen. (A lot of us think they aren't.)

2) Quit shooting yourself in the foot. From Harriet Miers to Dubai Port World to the immigration fiasco to failing to prosecute the war in Iraq with vigor to failing to sell the good news on everything from the economy to the war on terror, the President has suffered a lot of self-inflicted wounds.

3) Pick a side. Many of us have known that the President isn't as conservative as we'd like, but he's usually done enough to keep the right wing of his party happy. Lately it seems like he's decided he just doesn't care about us anymore. If that's indeed the case, he should at least wait until after November before revealing it!

It's not an easy position to be in, but a lot of people have "misunderestimated" him before. I'm hoping the President will regain his focus in time to make him once again a powerful force on the campaign trail, and that the semi-conservative party triumphs over the totally unconservative one.


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