Re "Better oversight, better Bush," Opinion, March 21
Ronald Brownstein lays much of the blame for President Bush's damn-the-torpedoes, full-steam-ahead style of leadership on a lack of oversight when Republicans were the majority in Congress. But hasn't that been typical of Republicans in past GOP administrations? The only exception I can remember is the belated Sen. Barry Goldwater-led coalition that persuaded President Richard Nixon to resign before he was impeached. Even now, after six years of White House incompetence, the Democratic Congress can't muster enough Republican votes to override Bush's threat to veto a troop funding bill that has a withdrawal timetable amendment attached to it. All the Democratic majority can hope to do now is to keep Bush on a tight leash during his remaining time in office. Just maintaining the status quo is better than allowing any more Bush misadventures.
Brownstein is correct as far as he goes, but the Bush administration is plagued by more than a dysfunctional management style. It has the arrogance to create a one-party state that elevates politics over governance. It has fostered a government-hating conservative ideology that has seen people with contempt for government acting contemptibly in government roles. And, with a complicit Congress for the previous six years, it has attempted to install a Latin American-style oligarchy: a government of cronies, by cronies and for cronies.
Brownstein cites a senior House Republican as saying that "nothing hurt the GOP more in 2006 than the collapse of its reputation for competent government." The reason is that the GOP is now controlled by right-wing ideologues like Grover Norquist, who hate government. If you were sick, would you go to a doctor who hates medicine?