The Washington Monthly has posted a series of columns by conservatives who believe that the Republicans should lose the November elections. My first reaction to this was one of smug satisfaction. After reading the columns, however, my exultation has subsided, and I am left with suspicion. Is this buyer’s remorse simply a way for conservatives to evade responsibility for fixing the problem they created?
As far as one can tell from these columns, the only alternative to a Republican Congress is a Democratic Congress. Most of the authors extol the virtues of divided government, citing Reagan and Eisenhower as models. Yet there are no calls for restructuring the two-party system, unless you count Richard Viguerie’s vage assertion that “A Republican loss this year could lead to a rebirth of the conservative movement, as a Third Force independent of any political party.” In lieu of changing the party they helped put into power, these columnists would rather leave it to the Democrats to rein in the monster.
Only one of the columns concerns itself with perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this administration: its blatant Christian ideology. Our political language has been re-cast in terms of Good™ versus Evil™. Such rhetoric enables the administration to shame its critics – if you’re anti-war or pro-choice, you’re on the side of Evil™. Yet five of seven columnists choose to overlook this issue in favor of bemoaning profligacy and expanded regulation. The sixth, who decries Bush’s abuse of Presidential power, seems completely blind to the link between this phenomenon and the God Is On Our Side! mindset which infuses All Things Bush.
So while I agree with the premise (Down with the Bush Administration! GOP must lose in November!), I disagree with the explanation (This “Bush” – it came out of nowhere! We are shocked!) and the proposed solution (Let the Democrats either fix it or die trying – we’ll take either one!). If the conservatives really want to make things better for themselves and the world, they need to rethink their strategy.