Powerhouse for Change
Byline: Donald Lambro, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
George W. Bush began campaigning for his second-term agenda this week with three huge victories behind him: a clear vote of confidence in his presidency and his party, a recovered economy and a big setback for terrorists in Iraq.
One in three would have been enough for any presidency to crow about, but all three coming together at the start of a new term makes for a heady political brew that will surely strengthen Mr. Bush's hand in the many domestic and foreign policy battles to come.
His re-election alone by a decisive vote margin, plus the net gains by Republicans in Congress, a rare political event in a second-term presidency, would have made him a potent political force on Capitol Hill. Add a tax cut-fueled economy that grew by more than 4 percent last year, surpassing all expectations, and Mr. Bush becomes even stronger.
The only remaining doubts about his presidency were in Iraq, where the forces of freedom and self-government were pitted against the tyranny of terrorism. Those forces clashed on the political battlefield Sunday and the terrorists lost, big time, as Mr. Bush believed and predicted they would.
It was not only a breathtaking national security-foreign policy victory for Mr. Bush, whose Iraq policies were bitterly criticized by Democratic foes, but also for his belief the aroused forces of freedom can face down and ultimately defeat terrorism.
The inspiring sight of millions of Iraqis trooping to the polls to vote for sovereignty, self-government and freedom, in the face of terrorist threats of beheadings and "bathing the streets in blood," was also a victory for U.S. military forces and the small but determined allied coalition that freed Iraq and put its brave people on the terror-strewn path to Sunday's historic elections.
All these disparate political forces came together this week at just the right time as Mr. Bush prepared his seminal State of the Union address to Congress and kick off one of the most ambitious, far-reaching reform agenda since the New Deal.
If being newly re-elected, with a resurgent economy, had already made George Bush political powerhouse in the legislative battles to come, his success as a wartime leader planting the seeds of democracy in the Middle East's terrorist-breeding grounds elevates his presidency and his political influence to an even higher power, both at home and abroad.
Thus, the prospects have improved dramatically for enacting some version of his personal Social Security investment accounts. …