FOR ALL practical purposes, President Bush's tenure can be said to have ended, even though he will not leave office until January 20, 2009.
He retains his constitutional prerogatives. He can veto, but not enact. He can pardon, but not reinstate. And he can make war, but not indefinitely pay for that war.
His problem is not that his opponents oppose him, it is that his onetime supporters, in dismaying numbers, no longer support him. The Republican Senators slip away, one at a time - foreign policy dean Richard G. Lugar of Indiana . . . George V Voinovich of Ohio . . . Pete V Domenici of New Mexico . . . and there will be more. Domenici told National Public Radio he was breaking ranks after reading Lugar 's moving 50-minute speech to an almost deserted Senate chamber the night of June 25. It must have tormented Lugar to say, "we don't owe the President our unquestioning agreement."
Under the headline "Base to Bush-It's Over," Byron York ofthe conservative National Review wrote in the Washington Post on July 8 that Bush has estranged the Republicans he needs most.
York quotes one GOP activist as saying, "Bush fatigue has set in." Another says, "We are ready for a new President. …