Death by Chocolate
Mom always warned me of having too much of a good thing. I wonder if Bush's Mom offered her son the same words of advice. If so, he clearly was not listening. The Republican Party, I fear, is about to come apart at the seams, fattened by too much of a good thing: electoral success.
People who study chaos theory understand what happens when a system grows larger and more complex. At some point complexity overwhelms that system and it tends to collapse into simpler, more sustainable parts. This natural law applies to political parties just as well as to the Cosmos.
The greatest success of the Republican Party in the past century has been its ascension to majority in both houses of Congress, as well as control of the White House. This sea change was largely due to the enormously successful efforts of Newt Gingrich and the inspirational leadership of Ronald Reagan. Not the wimpy leadership of George H. W. Bush (Bush 41), nor the watered-down Republican establishment senatorial "club" types, such as Trent Lott, Bill Frist, John McCain and Arlen Specter. Of course, Democrats will always label these senators "radical", but to the Republican Party, they are all very much moderates.
In Republican parlance, "moderate" means "weak".
These guys, along with our current President Bush, all inherited a strong party built from the efforts of others, not themselves. Newt Gingrich put together the Contract With America and gave us the first Republican House of Representatives majority in generations. He is a hero, and fully deserves credit for the Clinton-blocking prosperity of the 1990s.
Gingrich's strategy was to isolate the Democrats and paint a clear picture for voters: us versus them. It worked marvelously, and traditionally Democratic voters elected Republicans to Congress in record numbers.
The Democrats would love to do the same thing now, but they already have all the Leftist voters they are going to get. Everyone who could possibly vote Republican has already shifted to the Democrats. As a result, the Republican Party contains a breadth of political philosophy while the Democrats are a concentration of Leftists.
There are a great many pro-choice Republicans, but essentially no pro-life Democrats. The same can be said for many other issues: affirmative action, taxation, national defense, etc. Republicans are now the inclusive party, while Democrats are increasingly socialist and Marxist exclusionary. Ironic, but true.
So, why should Republicans worry? Because when your political spectrum runs from hard Right to center-Left, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a central core. It's tough to keep such a panoply of conflicted interests together.
And when your leader seems convinced he has to pander to the Left, he no longer effectively leads either the Right or the center. In other words, this man is no Reagan.
Bush has yet to veto a spending bill, in nearly five years of office. While he did cut taxes, a bit, he increased discretionary spending without corresponding political gain. Prescription drugs for the elderly created a new entitlement, but did not cement voter loyalty among senior citizens.
The President declared the War on Terror-- a good thing altogether, but he fails to remind us why we are in Iraq. He had an opportunity to force an important issue with permanent lower taxes and genuine tax reform, but he failed to act until Hurricane Katrina seduced him into opening the spending floodgates even wider. And this President loves spending.
When it comes to policy and philosophy, he refuses to sell, so it is increasingly difficult for us to buy.
I'll not elaborate further on Bush's failings. For more, check out Ann Coulter or Peggy Noonan. But I will make a prediction: the Republican Party, with its current leadership, will fall apart. It will collapse from the center and the Democrats will pick up the pieces. We will end up with one more Democrat president-- and I choke as I imagine who that might be-- and more Americans than ever will learn to hate Democrats.
At some point, two new parties will form from the broken Republicans and ever more disaffected-- and conservative-- traditional Democrats. The remaining core of the Democrats will become increasingly hard-Left and will become politically irrelevant. Americans simply don't want socialism.
Whatever replaces the Republicans and (conservative) Democrats will not contain a socialist platform. It will have a cohesive, market and growth-oriented economic philosophy. It will promote education policies that actually produce educated Americans from all groups and geographies. It will understand that the best protection minorities have is the United States Constitution, as it is actually written. And judges are to interpret existing law, not to make new law.
There will be plenty to debate, but failed socialist and anarchist experiments of the past 200 years will be declared dead for all time.
And American political life will go on, but in a different, genuinely progressive form.
Like most Americans, the Republican Party is too well-fed to sustain itself. Having too much of a good thing, it cannot discipline itself to turn its political capital into long term muscle, and will collapse under its own weight.
Where is Newt when we need him?