Posted by: bklunk | February 5, 2007

Inside Out

dav1318 of International Studies considers the relationship between foreign and domestic policy. Is Bush tacking toward the center to create more room for himself to carry out foreign policy?

Influences on Foreign and Domestic Policies

Although Bush has continued with his policy of increasing military personnel in Iraq, on domestic matters recently he seems to be concerned with matters that are usually associated with Democrats.  In terms of his actions in Iraq and his continued belief that more troops are needed, we can analyze his decisions from an individual level of analysis to understand his foreign policy decisions.  But in terms of his domestic policies, we may see a level of influence from outside forces that helps determine the decisions he makes and the matters he considers important.  Now that there is a Democratic Congress, Bush is facing the fact that matters usually important to Democrats must also be considered now. 

“On domestic matters, however, Bush has recently adopted the rhetoric — but not the policy positions — often associated with Democrats. He has invoked the menace of global climate change, lamented the nation’s growing income inequality, and set ambitious goals to develop alternative fuels and cut gasoline consumption. He has also proposed a plan to make health insurance more affordable to the 47 million people in the country who lack coverage.” 

Although these new matters have not materialized into domestic policies yet, there is a chance that the influence of this new Democratic Congress will perhaps bring these issues to the table in a serious manner.  Yet although he speaks of these new concerns, Democrats are still skeptical about his words.  Like in foriegn policy decision making where other factors influence a leader’s actions, for example the structure of the international system and the state’s position within the system as well as military abilities, economic conditions, the kind of government, and bureaucratic processes, domestic policies, it seems, can also be influenced by other factors.  The fact that Bush is talking about issues such as climate change, income inequality, health care, and alternate sources of energy, may be an indicator that other sources, such as a Democratic Congress, may influence his decisions. 

Source: Washington Post, “Bush to Urge Democrats to Consider His Domestic Policy” February 3rd, 2007

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  1. I think that President Bush’s domestic policy is somewhat affected by a Democrat Senate and House of Represenatives. However, I do not think that President Bush would not have adressed the issues that he is presently adressing. President Bush really has no reason to cater to the Democratic Congress, he has been voted in for his last four years; plus he has to maintain his reputation among fellow Republicans. Likewise, President Bush has bigger “fish to fry”, for example the war in Iraq.
    I believe that President Bush has already approached and brought up other domestic issues which might be labled as Republican concerns. Bush has called for major changes in Social Security. He toured the country informing Americans of the potential crisis which Social Security could create in future American society. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, in order to promote a “culture of life”. Furthermore, Bush has implemeted many tax cuts since becoming president. So in summary, I believe that the domestic policy which Bush is presently pushing is not entirely because of the Democratic controlled Congress, they are just issues which have arisen and need to be dealt with. As president, Bush knows that it is his responsibilty to deal with the issues, not to please a Democratic Congress. He really would not gain anything by doing that.

  2. President Bush is not an unintelligent man. No doubt he has numerous advisors warning him that his approval ratings are the lowest they have ever been. In his response, Dan noted that Bush does not have to please anyone, given that he is already elected. This is true, but who does not want to be thought good at their job? Though I do not believe President Bush is discussing domestic issues that are typically labeled “Democrat” only for his job approval, I do think it has something to do with it. Bush also knows that if the American people do not believe in his policies, they are less likely to vote another Republican into office in 2008. So, while his term will end, he knows he can not burn bridges for incoming Republican candidates…all 283 of them.

    Bush is also facing “Democrat” domestic issues, because he knows he is no longer a lone cowboy with the support of a Republican Congress. In order to play ball at all, he’s going to need to be willing to listen to the other players. While it is encouraging that Bush is taking this to heart in domestic issues, he really should apply this idea of cooperative solutions to the issue of Iraq. As Dan said, it is not Bush’s job to “please a Democratic Congress”, but it is his job to work with Congress, Republican or Democratic, to listen to the American people, seeking solutions to the problems plaguing America.

  3. Although I disagree with Rachel concerning President Bush’s intelligence level (I hope it’s acceptable to make jokes on here!), I do share many of her opinions on why the President is looking into more “Democratic” issues. Bush is currently trying to make a tough sell to Congress to send more troops to Iraq, and polling shows the country is ready to be rid of him (a 28% approval rating was the last one I’ve heard). This being the case, Bush has to know that a Democratic Congress is not going to cooperate with his war plans if they do not receive anything in return, and what more could they ask for than the President’s acceptance of their popular issues? I do agree with Rachel that it would be a good idea for Bush to try to boost his popularity to keep his party in the running for the 2008 elections, but think the main issue is that the President needs Congress’ support, is outnumbered by Democrats, and is looking for any way possible to compromise to get his Iraq plan carried out.

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