"It was less than three months ago that President Bush launched his second term with a soaring inaugural address and bold promises about how he would spend his new political capital. Today much of that momentum seems to have been lost, and analysts are puzzling over why."
What's the puzzle?
1) He decided that an unenthusiastic, small lead was a sweeping mandate to shove an extremist agenda down America's throat. They don't want it, and that isn't what they voted for.
2) The first thing he did was say, "Hey! Now I get to hand the Social Security Trust Fund over to my rich friends!"
3) The Democrats are much better when they aren't making decisions by playing stupid polling games, and they aren't. Bush is actually experiencing a real opposition for the first time in his Presidency.
4) He HAD no new political capital. He had spent it over the last four years. Political capital consists of having your opponents believe that it in THEIR best interest to support you. That's what it is. It isn't money. It isn't something you build up and spend. It isn't REAL capital - that's just an analogy. But Bush spent four years proving that any Democrat who supported him would get screwed. So where could his political capital come from?