First Veto Override Shows Bush Is No Superman
That’s why presidents usually pick their veto battles carefully and work hard to win them when they’re issued. Losing a veto fight is the equivalent of putting Kryptonite near Superman: the president appears to be far less powerful and his vulnerability is revealed for all to see. Friends who worked in the George H.W. Bush White House have told me that their whole legislative strategy was based on making sure they always had enough votes to sustain a veto.
That’s why Washington was changed so much last week when the House and Senate voted for the first time, and by substantial margins, to override President George W. Bush's veto of the water projects authorization bill.
The override showed definitively that congressional Republicans no longer see support for the president as being important to their own political careers. There was a time when that they viewed that support as being critical to their own success, but no more.
The vote also showed congressional Republicans that the White House’s insistence that an override will be the end of the world is not true. It may be the end of the Bush administration’s influence on Capitol Hill, but the world, nation, and U.S. Constitution are all safe.
It gives the Democratic leadership two openings it did not have, or didn’t realize it had before. First, it now knows that GOP senators and representatives can be bought with projects for their states and districts. Second, it provides more of a working relationship with congressional Republicans than has ever existed before. They now can provide more than the White House.
As a result, the next veto override will be much easier and come far faster than anyone is expecting. If the Democratic leadership realizes the opportunity, this will be especially true on spending bills.