January 21, 2004

State of the Union: Why Bush Isn't Clinton

Professor Bainbridge opines that on the domestic front Bush is a Republican Clinton. He's wrong, and you can tell by Ted Kennedy's face during the address. Kennedy's ticked off because he's a smart politician who has been around a long time. He knows what Bush is doing to him and all other big government liberals.

Bush is spending money to buy the votes right now because he's got almost no legislative majority. He will often have to rent one from both parties. So spending goes way up. But buried in all that pork are little changes in assumption. You can see it in the veto threat he issued on the new medicare plan. Democrats might come and take your medicare away. Nobody laughed, nobody chuckled at the thought. It was taken as part of legitimate political discourse that the Republican party might be more giving and generous than the Democrat party.

This is domestic revolution. Since the new deal, there has been a one way ratchet for more government spending. The Democrats were the givers of money and the Republicans were the rarely necessary but sometimes useful scolds who tempered generosity. Bush is making a new consensus of Republicans being the givers of choices, social empowerment, and the Democrats as rarely necessary but sometimes useful scolds who temper generosity. George Bush has taken the sign marked Sysiphus that has hung around the Republican elephant's neck and neatly hung it on the Democrat donkey. The trend will be for Democrats to be rolling stones uphill from here on in.

As their legislative majority grows, Republican administrations won't be held hostage as easily before. They'll be willing to lose a few Senators or Congressmen because they have the votes to spare. The Republican Sysiphus finally got the stone up the hill and it will soon land on Ted Kennedy's head. He knows its coming and isn't enjoying the prospect.

Posted by TMLutas at January 21, 2004 11:10 AM