By MARC MCDONALD
George W. Bush is one of the most unpopular presidents ever. He has record low poll numbers. He is a lame-duck president.
Given his seemingly weak position, how does Bush continue to bully the Democrats? Good question.
The fact is, these days, Bush is actually less compromising than ever. And the wimpy Democrats continue to roll over for Bush.
Take the looming showdown on Capitol Hill over Bush's war funding. As the Associated Press pointed out, Bush has promised to veto any bill that exceeds his pending $108 billion request for war funding.
This is actually a tougher line than Bush took last spring, when he accepted $17 billion in domestic funding as part of a $120 billion war funding measure, AP notes.
The extra spending the Democrats have proposed includes $12.7 billion in funding to extend unemployment benefits. Bush has also signaled he'll oppose increased funding for GI Bill benefits for veterans.
So not only does Bush expect the Democrats to rubberstamp his war funds request, he's not even willing to compromise on the spending bill this time around.
AP notes that the GOP is actually eager to "battle with Democrats over add-ons to the war funding bill." So not only is Bush bullying Democrats, but his fellow Republicans continue to solidly support him as though he were enjoying robust approval ratings.
How can the clout of an unpopular lame duck like Bush actually be rising these days? The only reason I can come up with is that the Democrats have shown themselves to be such pushovers, that Bush knows he can get away with bullying them. If there's anything that emboldens a bully, it is wimpy behavior.