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A question of leadership

The US is unlikely to remain the world’s engine of growth. The trade deficit is at a record high, the federal budget has reverted to deficit, and talk of a fall in consumer spending, even deflation, is growing. The Bush administration appears hell-bent on war with Iraq. Congressional politics are acrimonious and gridlock is the likely outcome of upcoming mid-term elections.

Bush and Cheney - both former
company directors and CEOs

TWO WORDS SUM up the defining moment of George W Bush's tenure as president thus far: Jim Jeffords. It might sound trivial to rank the senator for Vermont above September 11 and its aftermath but no other incident encapsulates so clearly the mindset of the Bush administration as the Republican senator's defection.

Jeffords is a moderate from a liberal state. His rapport with the Bush administration was never going to be strong, and he soon clashed with it over the proposed $1.3 trillion tax cut that formed a central part of Bush's election platform of what to do with a proposed 10-year budget surplus of up to $5.5 trillion.

The relationship degenerated into a childish he-said-she-said routine, culminating with the administration neglecting to invite Jeffords to a party at the White House for a Vermont teacher who had won a national teacher of the year competition.

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