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Thursday, October 27, 2005 

It's too early to celebrate the demise of the Bush administration.

Many already seem to be waiting to celebrate the end of the reign of the neo-conservatives in the White House. It may yet be much too early. Now that Harriet Miers has extracted herself from humiliation in front of the Senate, along with expectation that Rove and Libby will indicted shortly, many seem to think that the Bush administration is now a lame duck. Haven't we seen this before?

Yes, we have.

In the summer of 2001 Bush was already considered to be heading for an exit. His government was unpopular, his measures were being defeated, and he was becoming known as the "holiday" President. The stealing of the election, backed by a majority of the supreme court, was well-known. We all know what happened next.

What followed was, despite a slow and shaky response to the terror attacks, the making of the war president. He was re-elected despite the war without end in Iraq, tax cuts for the super-rich, and "no child left behind". It was feared that he would in his second term reform social security and destroy the new deal for good.

Now things seem much different. The terrible mess of the response to Katrina, his botched nomination of Miers, Plamegate and now 2,000 military to deaths in Iraq appear to be his undoing. Right-wing Republicans are in revolt, and the party itself fears that it may be decimated in next year's midterms.

We shouldn't rejoice at the problems of the Bush administration. The worst thing would be for liberals to be seen to be celebrating, resulting in a backlash. We also should look at the pessimistic side of things. It's by no means certain that Rove or Libby will be indicted. Bush might well nominate a far-right ideological judge in place of Miers, winning back plaudits from the religious base he relies on. He would have problems getting him/her through the Senate, but may just manage it. The insurgency in Iraq may die down following elections in December, and the troops may be able to return. Iran may do even more stupid things than the President's yesterday silly remarks about "wiping Israel off the face of the Earth". If another terror attack took place, would the public rally behind Bush again, or instead search for the real reasons or blame the response to 9/11?

The opposite to all the above could happen. I've often thought that if the Democrats in America or the Conservatives in this country had started the disaster in Iraq, then the opposition would have destroyed them and won the next elections. Instead, Labour and the Republicans have been strong enough to shrug off what should have killed any government. This simple fact should remind us that nothing is certain is politics, and as ever, a week is a very long time.

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