The latest issue of Washington Monthly has an all-conservative section entitled “Time for Us to Go,” where they sing the praises of divided government. (In today’s political environment, they are expressing hope that the GOP loses one or both houses of Congress in November.)
Christopher Buckley admits “to the guilty hope that my party loses” in both 2006 and 2008, and asks:
Who knew, in 2000, that “compassionate conservatism” meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief? Who knew, in 2000, that the only bill the president would veto, six years later, would be one on funding stem-cell research?
Who, indeed, other than the 50+% who voted against Bush?
Bruce “Impostor” Bartlett writes:
As a conservative who’s interested in the long-term health of both my country and the Republican Party, I have a suggestion for the GOP in 2006: lose. Handing over at least one house of Congress to the other side of the aisle for the next two years would probably be good for everyone. It will improve governance in the country, and it will increase the chances of GOP gains in 2008.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough would prefer “an assortment of Bourbon Street hookers running the Southern Baptist Convention to having this lot of Republicans controlling America’s checkbook for the next two years.”
Bruce Fein notes that the GOP-controlled Congress “has done nothing to thwart President George W. Bush’s alarming usurpations of legislative prerogatives. Instead, it has largely functioned as an echo chamber of the White House.” He goes on to suggest that “Republicans have shied from challenging Bush by placing party loyalty above institutional loyalty, contrary to the expectations of the Founding Fathers,” that they should “frustrate Bush’s super-imperial presidency.”
National Review editor Jeffrey Hart writes that:
Today, the standard-bearer of “conservatism” in the United States is George W. Bush, a man who has taken the positions of an unshakable ideologue: on supply-side economics, on privatization, on Social Security, on the Terri Schiavo case, and, most disastrously, on Iraq. Never before has a United States president consistently adhered to beliefs so disconnected from actuality. […] I’d call my skepticism “conservative,” but Bushism has poisoned the very word.
Richard “Conservatives Betrayed” Viguerie has this stellar opening paragraph:
With their record over the past few years, the Big Government Republicans in Washington do not merit the support of conservatives. They have busted the federal budget for generations to come with the prescription-drug benefit and the creation and expansion of other programs. They have brought forth a limitless flow of pork for the sole, immoral purpose of holding onto office. They have expanded government regulation into every aspect of our lives and refused to deal seriously with mounting domestic problems such as illegal immigration. They have spent more time seeking the favors of K Street lobbyists than listening to the conservatives who brought them to power. And they have sunk us into the very sort of nation-building war that candidate George W. Bush promised to avoid, while ignoring rising threats such as communist China and the oil-rich “new Castro,” Hugo Chavez.
Though his historical perspective of the past forty years is helpful, Viguerie seems at times to be stuck in the Goldwater era. This mindset is clearest when he opines that “Conservatives are, by nature, insurgents,” despite the fact that conservatism is—and has ever been—a haven for supporters of the status quo and protectors of the powers-that-be.
Andrew Sullivan remarked:
What do conservative luminaries, Jeffrey Hart, Christopher Buckley, Bruce Bartlett, William Niskanen, Bruce Fein and Richard Viguerie have in common with yours truly? They all hope the Republicans lose this November. For the sake of conservatism and the country.
That’s something on which both liberals and (some) conservatives can agree on.