Two days after he won election to a second term, President Bush told the nation he intended to spend the “political capital” he had amassed on ambitious goals: An overhaul of Social Security that would replace safety net guarantees with an “ownership society;” rewriting the Byzantine tax code; and revamping the legal system to crack down on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Six months into Bush’s second term, none of those goals has been realized.
Today, Brownstein writes
nal reversals, the GOP congressional majority has repeatedly united to move legislation toward President Bush’s desk, most dramatically in a spasm of four major bills that cleared one or both chambers in late July.
If there’s a danger for the GOP in this strategy, it may be too much success. This unification process often produces divisive results: legislation that aims squarely at the priorities of conservatives and offers relatively few concessions to other perspectives.
So, on July 31, the GOP could only get small fry legislation through Congress and on August 8, 2005, the GOP is in danger of losing it all because it is getting so much “conservative” legislation1 on the President’s desk. Brownstein’s analysis is fatuous at best.
Some Republicans still dissent from the party consensus on social issues like stem cell research, or economic issues like budget deficits, or the degree that the United States needs cooperation from allies in foreign affairs.
But the fissures aren’t that wide: Most Republicans fall on the conservative side of these questions. Which points to the greater danger: that Republicans confuse consensus in their coalition with consensus in the country.
Steering solely by the preferences of Republicans can lead the party toward policies far less popular outside their coalition — such as intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo or Bush’s push to restructure Social Security.
So, it really isn’t that Brownstein is lamenting the fact that the American people asked the Republicans to govern, but that the Republicans . I guess the American people missed all the campaign ads in 2004 from the Democrat groups crying about what the evil conservative Republicans would do if they were elected — that must be why the American people returned an increased number of Republicans to the Senate, the House, and returned GWB to the White House. If only I was as brilliant as Brownstein, I would have known that.
Brownstein, at one time, could be taken for a serious analyst. But like many in the media, the gall of people returning Republicans to Washington has pushed him over the edge. He’s now endanger of sacrificing his credibility and reputation as an objective political analyst for a conservative bashing shill paid for by the DNC.
1.As if wanting to scream from the newsprint “I am out of touch with reality”, Brownstein makes his point by ignoring the fact that many prominent conservatives are appalled by a lot of the legislation Republicans in Congress have been pushing.