Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Is Big Business Bailing on the Republicans?

Here’s some evidence that the oligarchs may at least be party shopping. Is it Bush’s perceived fiscal incompetence? Or is it the Republicans’ excessive concern with the "social issues"? It does appear that American concern with the social issues is declining. Is Dr. Pat right about the impending populist-libertarian realignment? Which party is more populist? Which is more libertarian? Is the whole populist-libertarian distinction of little use in really understanding what’s going on now? Certainly we’re not really being haunted by either the ghost of William Jennnings Bryan or the ghost of Tom Joad!
Is the ever-expanding "menu of choice" the narrative that explains our time? Our nation’s history? But studies also show that Americans are more concerned about income inequality than they have been in some years.

Discussions - 14 Comments

There's much to this, and it has been coming for a long time. I think there's a strong national/globalist feature to this too, along with a bias toward centralized administration. We much need a Hamiltonian national oligarchy to emerge out of the borderless regimeless aether.

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: YES!

George Walker Bush is simply killing us. And he's not done yet, 'cause I've a sneaking suspicion that he's going to try to pull a last minute passage of some creepy amnesty bill.

Question, Dan: isn't Republican opposition to "amnesty" part of the Party's problem?

Much of the motivation of those bailing on the party isn't on issues per se. It's because they don't want to be associated with losers. The perception and yes, THE REALITY of incompetence, not just on the war effort, but on things as diverse as Katrina and Walter Reed, is FORCING people to look elsewhere. Hillary is in the saddle. People want to ride with the winner, not kvetch with a loser.

Just years ago, Conservatives and Republicans were seen as winners. They were viewed as the sane, mature and responsible party on a host of issues, such as fiscal spending and foreign policy.

The Bush administration has OBLITERATED that advantage, even on national security.

It's Bush. And even the budget disaster was a response to a weak-willed Bush, who sent the signal that he wouldn't ride herd on Congressional insanity.


Bush is the disaster. He is the nightmare beyond all nightmares.

He's making a good run at being worse than Carter.

And if he keeps at it, he just might surpass him.

YES! Bush is that bad.

Bush is pursuing a Wilsonian foreign policy with an LBJ and Carter like reluctance to thoroughly pound our enemies. America might have tolerated a Wilsonian foreign policy tethered to Jacksonian means. But an ambitious foreign policy overseen by a man who by his own admission, "cries a lot," is simply too much for the nation to stomach.

So I don't buy the Lawrence Kudlow argument that the GOP is losing future generations of Hispanics and is losing Commercial loyalties, all for the Party's opposition to the amnesty proposal. Not to mention, that issue saw a large divide in Democrat ranks. Opposition was led by Bryon Dorgan, as well as Jeff Sessions. Robert Byrd as well as a Jim DeMint. The Congressional Black Caucus was torn on the issue, which a chief staffer confided to me when I went down there to find out what the hell was going on. J.D. Haynsworth was defeated by a Democrat TO HIS RIGHT on the issue. Furthermore, a majority of the Democrat rank and file OPPOSED comprehensive immigration reform, which was a euphemism for a vast social experiment.

The people on Wall Street who are bailing are tacking in accord with the prevailing political winds, which due to Bush, AND BUSH ALONE, are gusting to the left.

Are they really bailing?

Record numbers keep on coming on the stock exchange.

Yes, and only this administration would have failed to take advantage of those numbers, or claimed credit for the economic policies that lead to such numbers.

Which is just another way of saying: "it's ALL about Bush!" But the guy thinks he's above politics. Just think of it, the guy is a politician who affects an Olympian disdain for the grungy, dirty nuts and bolts of politics. And some Republicans wonder what the problem is.

It's sickening. Absolutely sickening.

Peter, I haven't read Dr. Pat on the populist-libertarian realignment, but i assume that is in agreement with the substance of Brink Lindsey's call for "liberaltarianism," albeit making his own call for an anti-liberaltarian "populism," a place where lovers of Carey McWilliams like him and myself would feel truly at home.

All my political life, whether in my Dem days or now, the "liberaltarian" has seemed my natural enemy, the one most I want to keep from gaining power and driving the agenda. I intuitively sense, that if we get the "liberaltarian v. populist" alignment, that while I may be on a side I feel more ideologically at home with, and get to break political bread with folks like Dr. Pat, I will also be on the LOSING side. Perpetually.

But one stubborn fact comforts me. I simply do not see how you get the reflexive hostility to economic inequality and business generally out of contemporary liberalism. Contemporary liberals may embrace the market b/c they have to admit democratic socialism never turned out to work, but they display no inherent love of modern market forces, indeed they are ever on the lookout for whatever might be found wrong with it. There is also some hidden link, some deep pessimism about non-socialist modernity, b/t that hostility and the Chomskyite orientation toward foreign policy debates.

So the liberaltarian agreement about abortion, stem-cells, gay marriage, social morays, etc., obscures a huge split b/t libertarian optimism about modern capitalism and classic liberal ideas, and a liberal pessimism and moral unease about the same. Practically speaking, put today's Dems in a room and say, "come up with your wish-list fo economic policy," and all the Rubins in the world won't be able to prevent that list from being extremely unpalatable to Wall Street and Main Street. That is, were it only "economics, stupid" Republicans could absolutely BANK on the fact that the business types would return to the fold.

But something else seems afoot. Perhaps Dan is right, it's all Bush, but I don't think that can entirely be it. It's the Republican party that's being abandoned, not just loyalty to Bush, at a time when this former Dem sees the Dems as being particulary bankrupt of ideas, and increasingly committed to reactionary "Againstocrat" mode of derisive anger-speak in politics. That mode of politic-ing is obviously WORKING...i fear the mobbish voice has been heard and respectable Americans are getting in line. Iraq is the other obvious explain-it-all factor.

I simply don't know what's explanations obviously don't cut it, but I just don't think Dan or the Iraq-is-all types can explain it, nor do I think the liberaltarian coalition is logically possible. So, what's going on?

I'm not an "Iraq is all type." And I don't particularly appreciate being misidentified. Nor do I appreciate my wide-ranging criticisms of his policies, his decisions, of the man personally, being limited and confined to Iraq. Even if Iraq never occurred, this guy would have proven a disaster for our party. Bush's problems transcend Iraq. The way he's handled Iraq and the wider war is evidence of pre-existing problems with Bush and his entire administration. Iraq is a symptom, not a cause.

But it's not just Iraq; it's his weird idea that he had to sign any appropriation bill that reached his desk, that he didn't have any role in riding herd on Congressional spending; it was his equally weird notion of not vetoing anything. Where did he ever acquire his weird notions of the Presidential veto? It was his refusal to play domestic "small ball," all the while swinging for the fences on social security reform. Such reform should have followed a GENUINE energy reform. But that energy reform he allowed Karen Hughes to oversee and edit. What rocket scientist would have allowed Karen Hughes to pass judgement on something so far beyond her ken? It was a host of things, such as his having the WORST communication team in Presidential history. It was Card, it was trying to put Gonzales and Meirs up on the greatest court in Anglo-Americana. It was Ashcroft at Justice; it was scouring the country for every incompetent, and finding a place for them in his administration. It was saying on the stump that "help is on the way," while in office refusing to expand the size of the armed forces, refusing to procure new equipment.

It's way beyond Iraq.

It's holding the hand of a Saudi degenerate, with some dopey look on his face. Unamerican, unpresidential things like that. It's his stated wish to sign the Law of the Sea Treaty. Now EVERY CONSERVATIVE knows that the Law of the Sea Treaty is downright perverse. But Bush will sign the thing. And he'll do so all in some weird, creepy attempt to ingratiate himself with those that detest him, the elite, the foreign policy establishment and Europeans.

No rational defense can be made of his foreign policy, no rational defense can be made of his administration, no rational defense can be made of his personnel decisions, no rational defense can be made for the worst second term in US history.

I think he's as bad as Carter. And I think when all is said and done, he'll be ranked worse than Carter. And not just by academia. But by the rank and file of the GOP. People like me.

Texas has a lot to answer for, LBJ and George Walker Bush. A lot to answer for...........

Dan, I haven't even read your whole post, but I do know you're not an "it's all Iraq" guy, because you support a more vigorous prosecution of the war. I really had it in mind that what I said would have to distinguish folks like you, NLT's top "it's all Bush" guy, from the "it's all Iraq" option.

And I tend to be the "At all times its never all-anything" guy!

But let's also hear from others...what is up with this abandonment of the Republican party identification? Or at least, what is up with this businessman's abandonment?

These people are not the key to winning this election. Fear of the liberal rich (of both parties) is the last thing we need to be thinking about. If we win the middle class and maximize our turnout, we can hold the White House. Money need not defeat us, if we don't let it.

"Is it Bush’s perceived fiscal incompetence?"

No, big business loves big government. Always has. The question has been whether expanding markets (free trade) or gaining competitive advantage through the State was going to give the most return.

If we are not careful, they'll have the best of both, and the People will have the worst of both.

Completely open borders, huge transnationals, unaccountable arbitration courts, and a State apparatus that delivers all social services. Fun.

isn't Republican opposition to "amnesty" part of the Party's problem?

No, Republican determination to push through amnesty into the teeth of the opposition from their own party and the country at large is part of the Party's problem.

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