Thursday, May 05, 2005

This is our due

Jacob Weisberg has it about right in Slate. The Bush administration has become a spoils system for right-wing interest groups, just as the Democratic Party was for its groups ā€“ and to a large extent still is, even in the absence of spoils. Weisberg is pessimistic about anything changing on this front anytime soon, given that incumbents are more entrenched than ever. But Iā€™m not so sure. As I noted below, there are some basic contradictions in being the party of small government and common sense while doling out pork, running up the national debt and kowtowing to James Dobson and the National Association of Manufacturers. These contradictions are causing some intraparty rifts and leading the public to doubt Bush. If the economy is shaky, the GOP may be vulnerable to centrist/reformist attacks on a variety of fronts ā€“ particularly the deficit. The critique may come from Democrats, or from an as-yet-unknown heir to Ross Perot. But if the constituency and issues are there, someone will rush to represent them, and the media will eat it up ā€“ especially if, post-Bush, Republican leaders are as clumsy as Frist or despicable as DeLay.