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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Decline And Fall in the US - by William Reese-Mogg

On November, which is only six months away, the United States will have mid-term elections. These will include all the seats in the House of Representatives, one third of the Senate and some governorships of the individual states.
 
Until recently it was assumed that the Republicans would retain control of both Houses of Congress. The advantage of incumbents, and skilful gerrymandering, mean that only a few seats in Congress normally change hands. Now, however, there is less certainty; the public opinion polls have turned sharply against the Republicans; the PresidentÂ’s ratings are particularly bad.
 
According to recent polls in The Washington Post, the Democrats are in the lead on all the main issues, including health, education, the economy, taxes, immigration, Iraq, the price of oil and the War on Terror. President BushÂ’s approval rating has dropped to 33 per cent, with only 32 per cent approval for his handling of Iraq. These figures make it possible that the Democrats will win a majority in the House of Representatives and conceivably in the Senate as well.
 
In 1973 I was one of the few commentators who expressed much sympathy for President Nixon during the inquiries into Watergate that led to his resignation. I was wrong on the major issue; Nixon was guilty. I was proved right in my concern that Watergate would be a dangerous precedent. Future presidents might suffer the same treatment for partisan reasons, with committee inquiries in both Houses, press investigations, special prosecutors and possibly even impeachment. Presidents are particularly vulnerable in their second terms, when their powers of patronage decline.
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