Stories on how President Bush can bounce back from his second-term slump are all the rage these days. Some common elements:
* The president will lay fairly low until after the mid-term elections in November 2006 and then devote the last two years of his presidency to fixing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Translation: No one has figured out how to keep the slump from becoming a long slide.
* Vice President Cheyney has been told to cut back to a schedule “a little more reflective of his age, station and health,” as Time magazine put it.
Translation: The bleeding won’t stop until Cheyney is defanged.
* The president is looking for a replacement for Karl Rove.
Translation: Their relationship has never recovered from the fact that Rove lied to his boss, just like everyone else, about his role in the CIA leak scandal.
* The president’s biggest weakness remains the fact that he is isolated and out of touch with the American mainstream.
Translation: Who needs one?