Sunday, May 23, 2004

Arizona Leads the Way?

The recent revolt of moderate Republicans led by Pete Hershberger, in what may be one of the most pleasant servings of just deserts in recent political history, may indicate a broader trend in state legislatures around the country and in the Congress. The irresponsible budget proposed by the Wrong -wing of the Arizona Republican party is what prompted 12 principled GOP lawmakers in the House to defy their party's "leadership" and join with the Democrats to pass a reasonably responsible compromise budget. The break is not likely to be temporary. It could permanently affect alliances and leadership in the legislature.

Likewise, Congressional Republicans are at loggerheads over the Wrong's desire to continue running up deficits to pay for Iraq, while the Moderates, led on this issue by Arizona Senator McCain and Virginia's Senator John Warner, want spending cuts and tax off-sets to pay for Iraqi operations as we go. The intra-party friction prompted House Speaker Dennis Hastert to question whether McCain understood the idea of sacrifice in time of war. One could hardly conceive of a rhetorical device better suited to alienate moderate Republican's who support the idea of fiscal responsibility, and who respect Senator McCain's undeniable sacrifices for his country as a POW.

As politicians of the Wrong gleefully indulge in the sort of offensive behavior and irresponsible policies which have endeared them to the yahoos who vote for the most beligerent, ignorant, red-neck, piece of shit on the ticket, they are driving away the sort of thoughtful moderate Republicans who actually believe in the values of conservativism. Congressional Wrong-wingers have proven all too willing to abandon conservative principles when they felt it was politically expedient to do so. The Bush Administration is certainly not conservative, and has dragged the compliant and unprincipled Wrong faction of Congress into fascistic corporatism along with them.

As Bush's mystifying popularity evaporates, more and more traditional Republicans, and even the reliably accomodating, may be ready to revolt against the priorities of the Wrong. Short of a leadership challenge, which is always a possibility, a temporary alliance with Democrats to form a governing majority seems increasingly likely. If polling in the last few months of the campaign indicates Kerry is going to run away with the Presidency, we may see a shift among moderate Republicans who no longer see any advantage to carrying the Bush Administration's water. Likewise, if the race is close and Bush loses, the 3 months of his hang-over is also likely to see an informal alliance of moderate Republicans and Democrats to prevent any lame-duck legislation by the Bush Administration and the Congressional Wrong.

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