Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Calculation

The Moose observes a marriage in jeopardy.

When will conservatives bail out on the Republican Congress? Although that thought seems far fetched, movement conservatives couldn't be terribly pleased with their Congressional brethren.

Other than cut taxes, ten years of Republican rule hasn't exactly created a Hayekian utopia. Government has grown and corruption has run amok. Honest conservatives who are not reliant on GOP congressional rule for access on behalf of their clients recognize this. The Abramoff Congress has become a conservative dystopia - big plutocratic government.

Some of the best reporting on this dystopia has appeared in the Weekly Standard. The latest installment is a must-read piece by Matthew Continetti about yet another chapter in the the sordid tale of Casino Jack Abramoff which involves a mob-style hit. It reads like an episode of the Sopranos.

Of particular note is Continetti's conclusion,

"A decade ago Republicans stormed Washington with plans to establish a "new order," shrink government, and drain the swamp of public malfeasance. Today Republicans look warily over the horizon, and nervously await a midterm election in which voters will be asked to evaluate whether the party has lived up to its ideals."

Now that Abramoff's buddy Scanlon has flipped, the controversy could truly explode next year. Up until now, we have likely been exposed only to the tip of the corruption iceberg. Smart and honest conservatives may soon come to question whether it is worthwhile to associate with a Republican congress that is without any principle except to maintain power by any means necessary.

The Moose remembers that back in 1992 many conservatives weren't all that upset with Bush I's defeat. They felt that his Administration was an albatross around their necks. And they believed that the loss would revive the base in opposition to the policies of the Clinton Administration - and it was great for fundraising, too. Indeed, it would have been unlikely that the GOP would have gained control over Congress if Bush I had been re-elected.

The Machiavellian right might look at the corrupt DeLayicans as a liability, and the possibility of at least one chamber being controlled by liberal Democrats as an inviting foil. The right might calculate that the sacrifice is well worth it in order to achieve future gains. After all, it was Republican congressional over-reach in '95 and '96 that led to President Clinton's re-election.

Consider what long-time conservative Lyn Nofziger says in today's Washington Times,

"They've been in power too long," Mr. Nofziger says of Republicans. "Any time you put any political party in power for too long, it becomes corrupt. It loses its focus. It forgets why it came there."

Is a divorce in the offing?
-- Posted at 8:24 AM | Link to this post | Email this post