Since he came to office few people have thought of comparing George W Bush with Franklin D Roosevelt. Yet in improving his party's representation in both houses of Congress at his first midterm elections Mr Bush became the first to equal President Roosevelt's achievement in 1934. He proved himself an outstanding campaigner and he spared no effort to support his candidates, especially those engaged in close contests.
The results from Tuesday's voting will need careful analysis before their full meaning can be determined particularly their significance in relation to the next Presidential campaign in two years time. Usually, the Congressional midterm elections focus on local rather than national issues. This year, however, the overriding considerations were national and international in character terrorism and Iraq. From an American perspective Mr Bush has shown firm leadership on both these issues and the electorate has understandably wanted to give him its support. By contrast, the Democrats have been unwilling either to give unstinting support to the President's policies or to propose constructive alternatives to them; nor have they asserted themselves on domestic matters.
With absolute control of Congress President Bush will now be able to push through his budget and taxreduction proposals without significant opposition and quickly implement his Homeland Security legislation. The effect of the Republican victory on his international policies is much less easy to foresee; but he will certainly think that it should show his critics overseas those in Europe especially that he has the confidence of his own people.
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