Stolberg Endorses Democratic Views of High-Handed Bush

Sheryl Gay Stolberg on Bush: "From the outset of his presidency, Mr. Bush treated the Republican-run Congress like a tool at his disposal."

Sheryl Gay Stolberguses theDemocratic paintbox for her portrait of a high-handed President Bush in her Sunday Week in Review story, "A Decider Meets 535 More of 'Em."

"George W. Bush was never one to cozy up to Capitol Hill.

"From the outset of his presidency, Mr. Bush treated the Republican-run Congress like a tool at his disposal. If he invited lawmakers to the White House, it was to speak, not to listen. Rob Simmons, a moderate Republican from Connecticut who lost his House seat in November, recalls how a colleague recounted that Ronald Reagan invited freshman lawmakers in, four at a time, just to hear what was on their minds."


"It is a lawmakers' revolution, of sorts, an uprising against the way Mr. Bush has treated the 535 people who spend their workdays at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"'What has become clear with the troop surge is that there is not just a policy difference, but a real level of personal animosity as well,' said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history at Boston University who writes frequently about Congress. 'There's no trust. There's no respect. There's no love.'

"That animosity is palpable not only among Democrats - who are suddenly in the unfamiliar position of no longer being ignored by Mr. Bush - but also Republicans. Lawmakers of both parties are irked by the president's muscular expansion of executive authority, and what they see as his cavalier attitude toward their constitutional authority as a co-equal branch."

Like she did last August in a story critical of Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina, Stolberg quoted liberal professor, James Thurber of American University, who asked rhetorically, "Are the chickens coming home to roost?"

She also claimed Clinton and Gingrich got along, and even "paired up to overhaul the welfare system."

Really? Times Watch remembers Clinton embracing the Republican welfare reform bill under duress, after previously vetoing two other versions.

Near the end Stolberg forwards an anti-Bush talking point: "Unless he gives ground on policy matters, playing nice with lawmakers is not going to do him much good."