USDA Secretary Mike Johanns keeps trying to get the administration message out - NO FARM BILL EXTENSION. He's been broadcasting the same story (along with his lieutenants) to little avail. However, I have grown to admire his straightforward manner and exceptionally civil perseverance in the seemingly hopeless efforts to change US farm policy. There hasn't been a job this challenging in agriculture since Hercules had to clean out the barns.
The fall elections will tell us much about whether the administration matters or not. My read is if Pres. Bush continues to insist on his way, every day, Congress will ignore even Johanns' best efforts. The current rhetoric about interrogation methods seems to be an odd thing to bet your presidency on, for example. Loss of the House will put farm policy up for grabs as well as escalate the antagonism between Congress and the executive branch.
That view was endorsed by a top White House strategist, who forecasts a postelection spread of 52-48 or 53-47 in the Senate, with Republicans maintaining their majority, and a loss of eight to 12 seats in the House, but with the GOP still in charge. With the president's approval numbers slowly rising to the mid-40s, the strategist says all Republicans need is a couple more points to be OK. The strategist, who spoke at an off-the-record lunch, predicted Hillary Clinton will get the Democratic nomination in 2008 and will run against a very good Republican. [More]I still wonder what Republican king-makers offered Johanns to leave a secure and well-liked governorship in Nebraska to become the administration's chief spear carrier and obvious target.
Probably another cush job in show biz. Johanns is a natural for Tinseltown, dontcha think?