Thursday, October 19, 2006

Republicans in Disarray

I've talked several times about the fact that the Bush Administration can't resolve the contradictions of its multiple reasons for being in Iraq. The inability to resolve contradictions is beginning to fray the famous though flawed unity of Republicans. I wish I could remember who said it but there was at least one journalist after the 2004 election that saw the Republican Party beginning to fight out those contradictions. I don't know what's going to happen on November 7 simply because only those who decide to vote that day will decide what happens but it's not difficult to note the Republican meltdown. Here's some of the latest about Republicans by David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times:
Tax-cutters are calling evangelicals bullies. Christian conservatives say Republicans in Congress have let them down. Hawks say President Bush is bungling the war in Iraq. And many conservatives blame Representative Mark Foley’s sexual messages to teenage pages.

With polls showing Republican control of Congress in jeopardy, conservative leaders are pointing fingers at one other in an increasingly testy circle of blame for potential Republican losses this fall.

“It is one of those rare defeats that will have many fathers,” said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, expressing the gloomy view of many conservatives about the outcome on Election Day. “And they will all be somebody else.”

Keene may be one of those wiser Republicans who recognize a common flaw of the GOP leadership: the habit of blaming others for one's own shortcomings. But there's another implication in what's happening to Republicans: there are consequences in following the flawed policies of others for the sake of party unity. Let's continue with The New York Times:
Some conservative leaders have often been quicker in the past to turn on Republican officials and one another than their rank-and-file supporters. But this year polls show broad disaffection at the grass roots, prompting some Republicans — including former Speaker Newt Gingrich — to worry that the public sparring could dampen turnout.

This year’s antagonists also include some new critics, including Mr. Gingrich’s one-time lieutenant, Dick Armey, the former House Republican majority leader.

In recent weeks, Mr. Armey has stepped up a public campaign against the influence of Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and an influential voice among evangelical protestants. In an interview published last month in “The Elephant in the Room,” a book by Ryan Sager about splits among conservatives, Mr. Armey accused Congressional Republicans of “blatant pandering to James Dobson” and “his gang of thugs,” whom Mr. Armey called “real nasty bullies” — arguments he reprised on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and in an open letter on the Web site organization FreedomWorks.

(snip)

“The Republicans are talking about things like gay marriage and so forth, and the Democrats are talking about the things people care about, like how do I pay my bills?” he said.

Mr. Armey also pinned some of the blame on Tom DeLay, the former Republicant House majority leader, who “was always more comfortable with the social conservatives, the evangelical wing of the party, than he was with the business wing.”

Even Armey notes the obvious: "Democrats are talking about the things people care about." I'm not sure, however, how aware Armey is that there are two business wings of the Republican Party at the moment: the one more traditional wing looking for less taxes and straightforward help from the government on business issues (always debatable on both side but on somewhat legitimate grounds), and the more recent wing typified by Halliburton, Abramoff and Cunningham that is simply looking for sweetheart deals that guarantee profits through cozy connections regardless of the quality of work provided or real value and, on occassion, regardless of the legality (keeping in mind that Republicans have legalized a lot of nonsense in the last twenty years). Of course, this second wing is the corrupt side of business and politics.

In any event, Republican corruption, the lack of proper oversight by a Republican Congress and Bush's incompetence and recklessness are going to make November 7th interesting.

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