Friday, May 12, 2006

Council Results: Republicans Are in Trouble

Watcher's CouncilThe two winners this week spotlight the national dissatisfaction with President Bush and with the Republican Party. It is a synchronicity of great significance for this year’s elections. These posts are sad portents of an eclipse of what started well and has ended in poor governance and a lack of vision – not to mention a massive lack of communication.

Part of the problem, though not addressed here, is the extreme virulence of the Bush-haters. One cannot know if they drained the Republican party of its energy or made it lose any sense of direction or excellence. But post-Bush, there is no one of stature to take his place. This does not bode well for the immediate future of our country.

The Council Pick

Here’s how Callimachus puts it in the White House Rules:

This is what Bush has done, more than any other wrong turn, to drive me out of the camp of people who support him without really liking him. He’s failed to grow in the office, failed to transcend the limitations of the hard-driving, dirty-fighting Texas politician (as LBJ did). When I voted for him for the first time, in the 2004 election, I was voting in favor of the vision he articulated, and crossing my fingers that he’d grope his way to the skill set and mental energy to make it work.

We’d reached a point where patience was required in Iraq, and I was willing to give it patience. But Iraq was supposed to be a campaign in the wider war, not the whole thing. Where is the rest of it? Where is the serious, sustained, thoughtful effort to explain ourselves to the world. Where’s the push to get Osama? Afghanistan is backsliding into Taliban and al-Qaida control. Where is the awareness that dependence on oil is the root of all this mess.

Excellent questions.


Non Council Winner

The winner this week is David Frum’s essay in Cato Unbound, Republicans and the Flight of Opportunity:

Whether you interpret these facts, as say Bruce Bartlett does, as a deliberate betrayal of the Goldwater-Reagan-Gingrich limited government agenda – or as an unfortunate series of unintended consequences—the result is more or less the same:

The fairest chance to achieve the limited-government agenda passed with only very limited conservative success.

The state is growing again—and it is pre-programmed to carry on growing. Health spending will rise, pension spending will rise, and taxes will rise.

Now I still continue to hope that the Republican Party will lean against these trends. But there’s a big difference between being the party of less government and a party of small government. It’s one thing to try to slow down opponents as they try to enact their vision of society into law. It’s a very different thing to have a vision of one’s own.

And the day in which we could look to the GOP to have an affirmative small-government vision of its own has I think definitively passed.

Is he right? It certainly seems to be the case. With a larded Congress and a president who never met a bill he wouldn’t sign, the disgust of the Republican base is growing.

Which is worse, a party claiming it wants to rescue everyone by confiscatory economic policies, or a party which betrays its own principles till it looks more or less the same as the opposition? The latest ignorance displayed by our elected representatives over the rise in oil prices is a perfect illustration of this sad question.

The rest of the posts are at Watcher's Place.

8 comments:

Wally Ballou said...

Absolutely right. If Republicans don't believe (or can affect not to believe) in basic economics, then why prefer them to the Democrats? at least the Democrats are mostly forthright about their faith in socialist malarkey.

Why vote for a Frist or a Spector or dozens of others? Are there any "Repubican" principles left for these men?

If Allen runs, I would vote for him (although he may well be a weak national candidate) - and he hasn't been 100% (but who is?). I can't see voting for Rudy, or McCain, or Frist - what a nightmare - Lady Macbeth returns on the heels of a record small turnout and immediately proclaims a sweeping mandate. I would vote for Newt, but almost noone else would.

Check out the names mentioned on this page. Anything thrilling?

OR, a non-Republican third-party conservative savior could appear, manage to get on enough state ballots (although it's even tougher now) to let HRC canter in with a teeny plurality.

egads.

Callimachus said...

I confess, I was surprised as anyone that that post came out on top. But I hadn't written much else of substance in the week, so I submitted it, knowing many (not all) of the rest of the council tend to be a bit stronger in their loyalties than me, a confessed RINO. But I also realize that the majority are loyal to principles, not parties. So maybe it's a sign of the times after all.

Scott said...

I'm not as strong as I used to be
as far as party loyalty goes.

I am weary of the Bush clan. They
are of a piece. Want the job, run
for it but then don't know what to
do with it when they get it.

Sheesh, if it had not been for 9/11
what would Dubya been all about?

Come to think of it, now that he's
had 9/11 what has he done about it?

Iraq as retaliation worked well. It
smoked Colonel Qaddaffi of his hole
in the ground but Bush squandered
the momentum. I can't stand to look
at him anymore. "War President" ?
Yeah right. I've come to dislike
him as much as the liberals. I wish
the terrorists had killed him on
9/11 rather than useful Americans.

Time to tell Bush he is a failure
and if that means voting Democrat
in 2006 so be it. He defends the
illegal immigrants more than he
seems to be willing to defend me.

To retaliate, why not elect the
country club GOPs worst nightmare.
Yeah, I'm willing to do it. Let
the crap that thinks $1000/plate
dinners gets them elected. If it
does I'll buy them one so long as
I can spit on their food.

The Great Satan said...

scott I understand your frustration but don't do it - otherwise it just might be the last free election you vote in. The last time there was a sitting democratic president the democrats came within one supreme court vote of rigging the election in their favor. But I think the Republicans are going to have problems - the economy blows, I don't much buy into the statistics when I know that there are next to no decent jobs for recent college grads. Our industrial base has been dismantled and sent to China. Bush dropped the ball on the WMDs, like if someone tells me he is going to raid my house a year from now to look for pot, if I have any will he find it next year? - which is what he did with Sadam. He chooses shiite religious parties to be the main power brokers in Iraq - then he is surprised that the result is neither unified, democratic, nor pro-American. But then I don't know what Republicans can do about the private sector making decisions based on short-term profits for about the last 20 years and now starting to reap some of the fruits. He's also dealing with an opposition party and media which root for and aid and abet the Iraqi terrorists. Imagine if anytime Churchill gave a speech "we will fight them on the beaches" the British media ridiculed it as a photo-op. So I think overall he did a fair job given the circumstances, and while I admit the Republicans are in a rut, I think people need to support them while they work through it, voting Democrat or not voting will only aggravate the country's problems.

David said...

We can't even remotely begin to afford a Democratic administration, on any front. Imagine what a few years of Hillary (for example) would do to the economy. Frist & Co may make stupid statements about oil & gas; the Democrats would enforce policies that would create major shortage, extreme prices, and runaway inflation.

And, given the public posture of many leading Democrats on matters of terrorism, war, and peace, a Democratic win would be perceived as a major victory by the mullahs in Iran.

mts said...

I don't know either whether there's any direction left in the GOP, or what it's about. And the GOP runs the federal government now, and that seems to also be as directionless as a cloud of gnats. The war seems to drone on more due to "what do we do now"-itis than to logistics.

Reagan had the same msm, plus didn't have a blog or talk radio or Fox News couterpresence, and was able to circumvent it by speaking directly to the people in understandable terms why he did what he did. He played realpolitik to keep the mideast rivals in war against each other while still battling the USSR. He found home grown forces to fight the reds in Central America in that horrible war, to keep our guys from dying to save people who would hate them anyway. They called him the Teflon President, but a better nickname would have been a President Who Knew How to Do the Darn Job, since all the teflon and empty spin in the world won't get you respect or backing. Witness Clinton.

Is there an exit plan for Iraq or are we circling the runway until we run out of fuel and drop? Eschelon and Carnivore got people rattled against the feds in the 1990's and here we have last week the phone records issue. Gold and silver spike, jobs languish, inflation peeks over the wall like Kilroy. Our allies are embarrased while our enemies are boldened. South America has a red menace that we aren't even addressing. Please tell me this is not 1979 again! New boss, same as the old boss. Looking at policy, you'd think Tip O'Neil was back.

I can't help but think of Bush II as the GOP's Carter at every turn - the halfass execution of things, the lack of strong direction, the Rose Garden isolation from the country, the ruination of foreign policy, the lack of any semblance that there is any vigorous passion and idealism, especially now when it is more crucial than ever.

Scott said...

mts,
thank you, you've expressed the
situation well. A GOP Jimmy Carter,
but what is worse is it isn't his
ideology that is the problem as it
was with Carter. It is simply that
he is incompetent. He wants to win
the war on terror but he wants to
do it as if he was Reverend Carter.

This makes him even more dangerous
than Carter. He kills our troops by
his sanctimony.

Jesus, please give me a Christian
president who doesn't wet his pants
when he sends men into battle. Do
they have any idea what they are
asking men to do while they utter
their platitudes?

Bush is a disgrace. I've never felt
this way about a Republican before.
Truly, he is King Midas.

Scott said...

I think it important to note that
Senator John Warner, who did reply
to me on every occasion before, is
now not accepting e-mail.

I have attempted to respond to his
pathetic snail mail reply from an
earlier letter about immigration
policy. He attempted in to say that the House version of this bill was what he was willing to
accept in the Senate.

However, hidden in his response was
his willingness to allow some 12
million, and those were his numbers, to gain legal status as
part of his 'reform'.

Excuse me, but Senator Warner sold
us this bill of goods in 1986 when
he voted for a 'onetime amnesty'
yet know he is selling us another
amnesty. Are we stupid or his he?

Isn't it time we hold traitors
accountable. Isn't it time John
Warner learn that with public
office goes public accountability
and that the execution facilities
of this state can serve all
including the ex husbands of Liz
Taylor.

Please, we need to understand GOP
officerholders are not on our side.

They are our enemies. We need to
let them know we know and that we
will hurt them badly if they betray
us.