Like most Presidents during wartime, George W. Bush enjoyed broad-based red, white, and blue support in the months following September's terrorist attacks. 80 percent approval ratings imbued his administration with a certain sense of political invincibility. But, as the shock has waned and military actions in Afghanistan dissolved into ambiguity, the administration's support has bogged down: Last week, the first definite signs appeared that the Bush train might have run out of patriotic steam.
Over the course of 48 hours, the Bush administration suffered two major defeats. Immediately after September 11, several items appeared on the administration's agenda--among them were plans to open up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, and an attempt by Attorney General John Ashcroft to overturn Oregon's assisted suicide law. The administration tied the need to liberate America from its dependence on foreign-based oil as the imperative to drill in the refuge. On Thursday, Congress denied access to the refuge for drilling.
The first real peep of dissent was uttered in November by the Portland Police Bureau, which refused to cooperate with the FBI and interrogate Middle Eastern men in a wide-reaching dragnet. Once again, Oregon has entrenched itself against the Bush Administration. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones announced that Ashcroft had indeed exceeded his authority in quashing Oregon's assisted suicide law. It is likely that the case will be appealed to the Ninth Circuit and, ultimately, the conservative Supreme Court, where its chances are much less certain. PHIL BUSSE
May Day Again?
The Mayday Coalition announced last week it will hold its annual Workers' Rights Parade to support immigrants who have been hassled by employers and the INS. Two years ago, the parade unraveled into a rough scuffle between horseback cops and protesters. Last year, in spite of tensions and squabbling between organizers and City Hall over parade permits, the march was peaceful. The parade begins on Wednesday, in the North Park Blocks, at 4:30 pm. PB