Stella_Guru wrote:How was one of the most hated presidents in history able to achieve his goals passing whatever draconian and undemocratic laws he wanted, able to engage in warmongering unchecked, absent his party controlling the House or Senate?
Most of the big items on Bush's agenda were passed when his party controlled both
the House and Senate, and were done using "reconciliation" rules, which prevented the Democrats from using the filibuster to block them. This was true for both the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The GOP temporarily lost control of the Senate in mid-2001, when Jim Jeffords switched from "Republican" to "Independent" ... but he waited until after the tax cut bill had passed through conference. The GOP regained control in the following year's elections.
The Medicare Drug bill also passed in 2003, when the Republicans controlled the Presidency, House, and Senate. Even so, it required a remarkable degree of arm twisting, and barely succeeded.
The Patriot Act and the Iraq War AUMF were both passed in the aftermath of 9/11, when the country was temporarily inclined to rally around Bush and his polling numbers were sky high.
If you look at the later years, Bush didn't really do well at getting his legislative agenda implemented. His main objective for the second term (privatizing social security) failed to go anywhere.
Most of the other stuff Bush accomplished was via executive orders, appointments, etc. The executive branch has a lot of power to set policy without input from Congress.
The authorization for the use of torture during interrogations is a good example. Bush authorized it on his own. Obama repealed that authorization on his own. It's true that in either case Congress could have pursued impeachment, as the ultimate way to stop it. But the GOP controlled the House up until 2007, and I guess in the last two years of the Bush administration, the Democrats decided that (unlike having sex with an intern) merely violating the Geneva Conventions isn't enough to justify impeachment.
All that said, it's true that the Republicans tend to be more unified and lock-step in Congress, while the Democrats tend to be more flexible about letting their members pick and choose what they support. That gives the GOP a bit of an advantage when it comes to ramming through their agenda.