REMEMBER THE SEPARATION OF POWERS:

REMEMBER THE SEPARATION OF POWERS: InstaPundit approvingly links to this Ken Layne post on the Bush administration’s apparent sluggishness in showing Lott the door: “Bush smacked Lott pretty good — again, it was too late — but Bush is the president. If he wanted Lott gone last week, Lott would be gone. Come election time, ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

REMEMBER THE SEPARATION OF POWERS: InstaPundit approvingly links to this Ken Layne post on the Bush administration's apparent sluggishness in showing Lott the door: "Bush smacked Lott pretty good -- again, it was too late -- but Bush is the president. If he wanted Lott gone last week, Lott would be gone. Come election time, the Bush team will be making daily excuses about why they took so long to take down the old racist. All of Bush's efforts to make his party welcoming to all races -- and I believe he's sincere about it -- will be worthless if he doesn't at least force Lott to resign the leadership. I've lived and worked in D.C., and I realize the place is deeply out of touch with the rest of the country." Fair point? Not really. I'll concede that when Bush made his speech a week ago, I also wanted him to more forthrightly show Lott the door. However, upon reflection, I'm coming to believe that he's walking a very slippery tightrope here. The big constraint Bush faces is precisely the fact that he's the President and not a Senator. The separate branches of government guard their institutional prerogatives very carefully -- this is why the Executive branch goes bonkers every time Congress tries to act like an engine of foreign policy. If Bush tries to stick his nose too much into how the Senate, or even Republican Senators, organize their own affairs, it could trigger a backlash of support for Lott. I suspect what Bush and Rove are trying to pull off is a way for the members of the Republican caucus to oust Lott without feeling the heavy hand of the White House pushing them. Hence Ari Fleischer's daily tap dance. I could be wrong and Ken right. But the Lottroversy could be a harbinger of the institutional conflicts that will emerge over the next two years between a Republican executive branch that is in touch with the rest of the country, and a Republican legislature that is more concerned with feeding the special interest beasts.

REMEMBER THE SEPARATION OF POWERS: InstaPundit approvingly links to this Ken Layne post on the Bush administration’s apparent sluggishness in showing Lott the door: “Bush smacked Lott pretty good — again, it was too late — but Bush is the president. If he wanted Lott gone last week, Lott would be gone. Come election time, the Bush team will be making daily excuses about why they took so long to take down the old racist. All of Bush’s efforts to make his party welcoming to all races — and I believe he’s sincere about it — will be worthless if he doesn’t at least force Lott to resign the leadership. I’ve lived and worked in D.C., and I realize the place is deeply out of touch with the rest of the country.” Fair point? Not really. I’ll concede that when Bush made his speech a week ago, I also wanted him to more forthrightly show Lott the door. However, upon reflection, I’m coming to believe that he’s walking a very slippery tightrope here. The big constraint Bush faces is precisely the fact that he’s the President and not a Senator. The separate branches of government guard their institutional prerogatives very carefully — this is why the Executive branch goes bonkers every time Congress tries to act like an engine of foreign policy. If Bush tries to stick his nose too much into how the Senate, or even Republican Senators, organize their own affairs, it could trigger a backlash of support for Lott. I suspect what Bush and Rove are trying to pull off is a way for the members of the Republican caucus to oust Lott without feeling the heavy hand of the White House pushing them. Hence Ari Fleischer’s daily tap dance. I could be wrong and Ken right. But the Lottroversy could be a harbinger of the institutional conflicts that will emerge over the next two years between a Republican executive branch that is in touch with the rest of the country, and a Republican legislature that is more concerned with feeding the special interest beasts.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

More from Foreign Policy

Newspapers in Tehran feature on their front page news about the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing the previous day, on March, 11 2023.
Newspapers in Tehran feature on their front page news about the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing the previous day, on March, 11 2023.

Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America

The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.

Austin and Gallant stand at podiums side by side next to each others' national flags.
Austin and Gallant stand at podiums side by side next to each others' national flags.

The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense

If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Moscow Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden during an event marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Moscow Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden during an event marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow.

Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War

Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.

An Iranian man holds a newspaper reporting the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, in Tehran on March 11.
An Iranian man holds a newspaper reporting the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, in Tehran on March 11.

How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests

And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.