On the Gene Expression blog Godless Capitalist argues that a defeat of Bush will lay the groundwork for a big shift in the Republican Party's position on immigration, more fiscal responsibility, and other needed reforms.
We must move to a revenue-positive or merit-based scheme as soon as possible to prevent the tripling of the underclass (it has already doubled) - and this will only be possible if Bushism is thoroughly repudiated. The party must look within to find out why it lost this election, and the answer must come back from the base loud and clear: Bush's proposed amnesty for 20 million illegal aliens cost him the election.A Republican civil war is the only hope for a fiscally rightist party that stops illegal immigration, faces the diversity cult down in favor of individualism, and defenestrates the neocons.
PS: If only Arnold was an immigration reformer, he'd be perfect....
Aside: I don't know what exactly Arnie was trying to say at the Republican Convention but I just loved his line "Don't be economic girlie men".
Godless follows up in the comments of that post by arguing that Republicans are not going to change their policies as long as they think they have to be good soldiers lining up to follow commands of a Republican President.
a) if Bush is not defeated the immigration amnesty will become a permanent part of the party platform. It will be seen as something that did not cost Bush the election, even though Bush knows it's highly unpopular with his base. Failing a Mexican 9/11, at that point it will only be a matter of time before some kind of open-borders legislation.
b) a rightist Congress will gridlock Kerry for four years. The big problem now is that Republicans are good soldiers and are toeing the party line...which has been drawn FAR to the left by Bush on the aforementioned issues (esp. immigration & spending). With Kerry in office, partisan feeling *and* ideology will be free to reassert themselves.
In other words, the rightist Republicans are now being pulled to the left by Bush. But under Kerry, the leftist Republicans would be pushed to the right. THAT is the big difference, and it's really big.
Yes, think back to 1993 and 1994 and Newt Gingrich's aggressive leadership of opposition to Clinton. The Republicans will accept policies from Bush that would make them all up in arms if the same policies were proposed by a Democrat sitting in the Oval Office.
In that same comment thread Razib, while doing an annoying e.e. cummings impression, makes the excellent point that not only is Bush not a Burkean conservative but Bush has made such serious mistakes that the electorate needs to hold him accountable.
on paper kerry is really, really, bad. in real life, he is really, really, bad. i don't agree with most of his pap and i am repulsed by his personality. the problem is that bush is really bad (at least), but the republicans don't seem to want to ancknowledge it. they will acknowledge that kerry is really, really bad.
i think bush has the superficial aspects of right-wing presidency down pat, explaining the leftish rage and fury at him. but, i fear that he'll never really internalize the long view. as burke would say, " it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. . . ."
of course, if you think kerry would endanger the safety of the united states, and that bush is the only alternative on foreign policy, i can see why people would have to stand by him. i just happen to think he's made too many mistakes, and accountability is something that is important.
My problem with Bush is that not only has he made big mistakes but he shows every sign of not believing that any of his mistakes really are mistakes.
Over on the Marginal Revolution blog Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen have made a number of posts on the question of whether fiscal and economic policies will be worse under Bush or Kerry. The question can't be answered simply by looking at each candidate's spending proposals. While Kerry has made proposals that would cause huge spending increases there are, as Tyler points out, a number of reasons why Kerry might not be as bad as Bush on spending.
2. The Republicans become more fiscally conservative in opposition.
4. Kerry would be under constant pressure to show that he is "tough" on foreign policy. This will limit his ability to make domestic spending commitments. And if he does well on foreign policy, and appears suitably in charge, he could get reelected without much using spending to buy domestic support. If he is weak on foreign policy, will lots of spending really help him?
Also, the next presidential term is not the only thing at stake. Just as I've argued that the Republican leaders need to learn that there is a price to be paid for defying their base on immigration Tyler argues that voters, by their choice of whether to vote for or against Bush after Bush has greatly increased spending, will teach the Republicans a lesson about whether they can get away with fiscal irresponsibility.
5. If Bush is re-elected, it affirms that a Republican can get away with jacking up domestic spending. Such a precedent is worrying for the longer run, not just for Bush's second term.
I am of the school of thought that politicians need to be punished. A vote should not be made based simply on a decision on which candidate is worse but also on what message will be sent about past behavior and about what sorts of behavior the electorate will punish or allow in the future. Also, one needs to consider the argument that divided government produces the best conditions for preventing policy makers from implementing bad policies.
As for the argument that Bush will be better at doing what is necessary to fight the war on terror: Bush falls short in a number of areas on the terror front. Bush will not allow serious religious and ethnic profiling of airline passengers. Bush Administration visa policy toward Saudi Arabia is still too lax. Bush refuses to close the Mexican border to prevent Al Qaeda infiltration that way. Bush shifted special forces and intelligence agents away from Pakistan and Afghanistan to do the Iraq invasion. Just where is the biggest concentration of Al Qaeda? The answer to that question is either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, certainly not Iraq. I could go on. The point is that Bush is no great shakes when it comes to fighting Al Qaeda. He obviously treats a number of other issues (e.g. pandering to Hispanics, pandering to Muslims, following neocon goals for Israel) as higher priorities.
Kerry is such a lame candidate that Bush still might lose after all that Bush has messed up and failed to do. But if Bush loses it will be just as important what his loss is blamed upon as the fact that he will have lost. The mainstream press is going to ignore the extent to which Bush's immigration policy has angered his base. I expect Iraq will get the biggest share of the blame in the big media. Though when Kerry is unable to fulfill his own spending promises expect to hear a lot of spin about how Bush left the country in such a terrible fiscal state that Kerry has to wait before implementing his own social programs.
If Kerry wins one reason he might not be so bad from the Right's perspective is that he's not as talented as Bill Clinton. His ability to sell his programs is probably going to be much less. Though Kerry's knowledge of the Senate might make his Congressional relations much better than Clinton's. So that is a hard one to call.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 September 02 02:42 AM Politics American Domestic|