The President Why Is This Man Smiling?

With his campaign in turmoil, Bush not only has little to cheer about but also has no apparent plan to pull himself out of the doldrums

George Bush is a survivor. Faced with political extinction in 1988, he promised voters "no new taxes" and won the White House in return. Two years later, he raised taxes in exchange for a budget deal. But when polls in Georgia showed that even country-club Republicans thought Bush was a flip- flopper who didn't stand for anything, Bush pulled another abrupt about- face. "This tax thing is still really bothering people, isn't it?" Bush mused to an Oval Office visitor last Monday morning. "Maybe I should clear the air."

Within hours, Bush had renounced the 1990 budget deal as the biggest...