Monday, January 26, 2004

Voting Republican May Currently Aid the Party's Ideological Destruction
In 1994 the Republicans were a party of small government ideology. Today that fire is gone - they mirror the big government spending machine that they criticized before assuming control of both Congress and the White House. Why has this happened? Partly because of Bush's strategy to co-opt the major issues of the Democrats before they could threaten the election viability of Republicans - Medicare being the major example. Co-option requires the Republicans give in a little, but at least prevent a worse (larger) form of the entitlement than if Democrats were to gain control (at least that was the logic). By taking a wedge issue here and there, Rove is seeking to cast the Republicans as the new majority party.

This status, if achieved, has a cost - by co-opting issues, what would have been a powerful opposition to them has been muzzled - conservative Republicans. In being concerned with winning, the Republican hierarchy is not interested in advancing a consistent theme of ideas, except the now empty pander to the philosophy of smaller government.

Is this a temporary aberration, to be fixed after the next election? Those of us who are conservatives and libertarians can be optimists, and have faith the reward for continuing to support the party is coming after this election, with a stronger majority, and a more consistent set of idea. Or we can believe that consistent control of all levers of power only will addict the Republican party to it, whom will increasingly put maintaining its power ahead of advancing ideas, with the only effectively organized opposition pushing them on the left. If this latter framework is the case, majority status could effectively muzzle conservative ideas.

I have my doubts with this later conclusion - but it is on my mind as try to decide how badly I want Bush to win this election. If anybody can dissuade me of if, please comment by clicking on the tab below.

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