Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bush=Lame Duck?

This is a good article from a college student over at Campus Progress about how Bush has had a difficult time during his second term in translating Republican ideology to successful policy proposals and legislation.
The Republican Congress adjourned last week for its August recess and patted itself on the back for a job well done. It scored victories this summer on gun-manufacturer liability, CAFTA—having made so many bribes and side-deals that the agreement promotes free trade only in name—and energy and highway bills that had almost nothing to do with actual energy and transportation policy, and everything to do with rewarding big contributors and influential legislators. But in what sense are these actually victories for conservatives? They certainly aren’t steps toward implementing any coherent ideological program. They don’t make government smaller or more market-oriented. They’re only victories if the GOP considers its sole purpose in governing to be distributing spoils to its friends and supporters.

...Bush has no one but himself to blame for his agenda’s trouble. His problem is a much more fundamental one than a bungled burglary or a blowjob. His agenda is stuck in the mud because he wasn’t elected to implement it. Had Bush spent the campaign trumpeting, at every stop, his plans to privatize Social Security and eviscerate progressive taxation—and had he been elected on such a platform, the prospect of which is admittedly dubious at best—then the reaction of Congress and the public to his proposals would be very different. But Bush waged no such campaign. His campaign was about one message, and one message only: “I am not John Kerry.”
My main problem with the article is that it seems to subscribe to the belief that Republicans in Washington actually do care about paring down the government. In fact, what's so worrisome about the current state of the Republican party is that they really do seem to consider their "sole purpose in governing to be distributing spoils to its friends and supporters" which the author finds hard to believe. I don't.

The author also seems to write off Democrats' fear during the 2004 election that a "Republican Congress would team up to enact change so drastic that the country would become unrecognizable" as "much ado about nothing" which is easier said by a privileged person who is probably unaffected by Republican legislative successes. As the writer says, at one point:
This is not to say that everything is rosy for progressives. Being in the minority inevitably means suffering lots of small injustices. When bankruptcy laws are rewritten, at the behest of credit-card companies, to punish unlucky middle-class families, that’s a small injustice.

Hm, I think the new bankruptcy laws or CAFTA are a little more than "small" injustices.

1 comment:

william t nelson said...

Pretty much everything coming out of the news seems to be about terrible policies under development or policy disasters uncovered after the fact by investigation.

My favorite example of the day is: "It is certainly true that the Coalition Provisional Authority based its reconstruction plans in Iraq on postwar Germany. They often just had old plans in Germany translated into Iraqi terms. One CPA document, hastily done, talked of the necessity to support the value of 'Iraqi deutschmarks.' It is also certainly the case that this template was inappropriate and failed miserably."

Well, I was thinking about working in government, at least for a while, and I just found out I passed the first part of the foreign service exam. However, it would appear that getting hired would mean mean working with/for idiots and the incompetent, and there is no pay or prestige to compensate. It is quite hard to "change the system."

Oh, I would try to research answers to these political/social problems during my senior year, but I'll end up playing cards instead.