Bush Lame Duck Watch
Big jump this week. But it's not entirely Bush's fault. There are a number of hits for an AP story about Tony Blair trying to avoid being a lame duck. The story just happens to mention Bush so that counts as a hit (Google News doesn't have a "near" option as far as I can tell).
That doesn't mean Bush is in the clear, as there are a lot of other stories that do specifically talk about Bush being a lame duck.
The biggest hit for Bush came from the Bolton story. There is this AP story about Frist's reversal on the Bolton nomination that includes this line: "Six months into his final term in office, Bush is struggling to avoid the perception of a lame duck at a time when his proposal for revamping Social Security has made little progress and some lawmakers are calling for troop withdrawals from Iraq." And this Newsday piece: "If Bolton is not confirmed, it is likely to leave both Bush, who in his last term is said by some political analysts to be looking like a lame duck, and Frist, who has been trying to garner support for a presidential candidacy, both weaker politically." Other Bolton stories that talk about Bush as a possible lame duck here and here.
Also of interest is this story from Phoenix about a possible resurgance of power for moderate Republicans, especially on environmental issues: "With Bush facing lame-duck status, congressional Republicans with moderate leanings are beginning to get their sea legs, as evidenced by the so-called Gang of 14 judicial-filibuster compromise and the House's recent approval of $100 million for stem-cell research. Is it possible, then, that the two sides could find common ground? Can the red states turn green?"
Howard Kurtz gets into the lame duck game: "All right, let's face it. Bush has had a rough go of it lately. But isn't it too soon for the media to start suggesting he's a limping lame duck? The president won a tough reelection battle last year and we're writing him off before July 4?" Of course, Kurtz is trying to fight back against the lame duck meme. But remember your Lakoff! Even mentioning it in the negative can reinforce the idea.
All in all its been a pretty quacky week for Bush.
Note: there were quite a few foreign news stories that talk about Bush as a lame duck. But I've decided to focus more attention on the domestic news stories as those are the ones that are most likely to impact public perception.
(Explanation: The Bush Lame Duck Watch is a weekly measure of the hits on Google News for "Bush" and "Lame Duck". The numbers in parenthesis represents the change from the previous weeks number (It is also a link to the previous weeks post.))