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Novak: Pelosi's first 100 hours a 'success'; Bush and staff 'irrelevant'

Mike Sheehan
Published: Wednesday January 24, 2007
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Veteran political analyst Robert Novak says in his latest report that Speaker Pelosi's first 100 hours in power were "a success beyond all anticipation," while the Bush administration is seen lately as being "irrelevant and out of touch."

The conservative commentator writes, "The 'hundred hours' program of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been a success beyond all anticipation. The passage of poll-approved measures came with a unanimous Democratic vote and heavy -- in some cases majority -- Republican support."

Pelosi's performance "shows the error and futility of Republican expectations that Pelosi as speaker would fall on her face," although Novak notes that "they still hope that she will fail now that the set pieces of the 'hundred hours' have been completed."

Novak has decidedly different thoughts on the Bush administration and the Grand Old Party, saying, "Republicans are divided and disorganized. Senior Republicans in Congress refer to President George W. Bush and his staff as irrelevant and out of touch. Younger conservative members are going their own way, feeling that neither the White House nor the party's congressional leadership shows the way for the GOP."

He adds, "Republican House aides, even in the leadership, complain that they are so completely shut out of the legislative process they have no idea what will be on the House floor next week."

Of Bush's State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Novak writes that it "was notable for what it did not contain.

"Bush mentioned only in passing the need to maintain his tax cuts as the bulwark of the economy," he continues. "Bush completely ignored the social issues dear to much of his conservative base. He did not mention abortion on the day following the annual 'March for Life' on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. He did not mention the embryonic research bill that he vetoed last year and is likely to veto again in the new Congress. He made no mention of same-sex marriage."

And though polls depict corruption as a major issue for 2006's voters, "Bush ignored congressional ethics entirely," says Novak. "The closest he came to this issue was his call to halve the spending created by congressional earmarks -- the first time he had raised that problem."

Novak closes his take on Bush's speech by saying, "It was not a stirring or a memorable State of the Union Address. Everybody seemed happy to get it over with. At least it did not cause more trouble for a President sinking in the polls."