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June 05, 2005

The Plan for 2006

Huh. I'd had no idea how bad Chris Cox is. Turns out he really, really, blows. At the same time, you have to admire Bush's audacity in nominating Congress's foremost defender of corporate abuses to head the commission dedicated to curbing them. Remarkably ballsy stuff. This, of course, happens to be Bush's modus operandi -- you remember John Bolton, right? And you remember that Daily Show where the nomination of John Bolton was analyzed for meaning and the message turned out to be that George W. Bush does indeed have gigantic testicles. Huge balls. Massive cojones.

For him, proving that seems to have become the main attraction of office. Not much left to do on the foreign war front, just daily drudgery on Iraq. Not much to do on Social Security, that got stopped up right quick. Not much to do really anywhere, so why not nominate the craziest, most unsuitable nominees imaginable and see if he can pass them? Bush is approaching politics like the kid who spends his spare time darting underneath moving trucks, it's all a game of courage, skill, and a speed. Or so it looks.

But maybe there's a method to the madness. Maybe Karl Rove and the administration have decided to reverse the curse of the lame duck. Maybe the plan is to gamble away Bush's first two years in an effort to post extraordinary gains in 2006, an occurrence which'd not only make Bush's midterm performances unheralded, but would also return the momentum to his agenda. And maybe the plan being followed is to force the Democrats to obstruct on everything. Nominees, then, are comically bad, bills are laughably offensive, judges are jaw-droppingly anachronistic, and all of it operates under the assumption that Americans won't pay attention to the specifics, they'll just note the constant obstructionism of Democrats.

Under this theory, the particular nominees matter quite a bit, as they seek to unite the GOP's opposed constituencies through sheer self-interest. The theocratic judges in the offing bring the religious right into the fold, John Bolton captures the conservative ideologues and right-wing militia members, and Chris Cox brings business to the table by promising unheralded slavishness to their agenda. That means the religious right, the hard right, and the business right will all be marching to the same pro-Bush gameplan come 2006 because they've all got crucial allies being held up by Democrats.

So what's the call? This a plausible read of Bush's machinations?

June 5, 2005 in Electoral Politics | Permalink

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Comments

That most just sent a shiver down my spine. Please, don't let it be true...

Posted by: Kate | Jun 5, 2005 1:20:55 PM

I think, rather, that Bush & Rove realize that when election time rolls around, most voters will forget all about these inside-the-Beltway controversies and make their decisions based on what the big issues are at the time. This is the radical right-wing agenda that's been motiving their struggle for power all along. Now that they have virtually complete control over the levers of government (except on a few cornerstone issues where the Democrats feel it's worth being portrayed as obstructionists by spending their political capital on a filibuster), they're going for broke. It doesn't matter that the polls are against them on these issues because they'll all be forgotten by next Election Day, when they figure they'll just come up with some new kind of fearmongering or demagoguery or distortions of the truth to win again.

Posted by: rosswords | Jun 5, 2005 2:06:19 PM

I think he nominates a guy like Cox because he truly believes that organizations like the SEC exist to apply grease to any path that a corporation might like to go down.

As far as speculating on what Rove's "master plan" might be, let me just say that I consider ever moment spent wondering what Karl might pull from his sleeve next is a moment that could have used to think of one more way to pound the pro-wealth, pseudo-conservative, modern GOP into the dirt.

Posted by: Horatio | Jun 5, 2005 2:11:28 PM

It doesn't have to be as complex as The Master Plan for 2006. It could be that Bush and Co. are simply trying to force the Dems onto the defensive (or onto a playing field that most people simply don't care about) while the Admin. tries to plan for a big legislative push on Soc'l Security this summer, which, as far as I remember, they have declared will happen.

Posted by: matt | Jun 5, 2005 2:22:22 PM

Bush is lucky in that the 2006 Senate landscape really favors the Republicans. I believe the Democrats are defending 1 more seat than the GOP, including some precarious ones in Nebaraska, NoDak, Florida, and West Virginia. Maryland and Minnesota are both going to be tough. Meanwhile Chafee isn't going to get our best shot, even someone as insipid as Conrad Burns is favored against a candidate as strong as Jon Tester, Snowe will walk, and only Lil'Ricky looks truly threatened. I think we could pick up Senate seats, but at the same time we could easily lose them. Both 2002 and 2004 were infuriating because in both instances we had a slate great candidates, few of which actually won, and 2006 could shape up that way.

On the House side things look better, but there are a couple of factors that could really hamper Democratic gains. Georgia is illegally redrawing their congressional districts, putting conservative Democrats like Jim Marshall in danger. So many districts nationwide are gerrymandered that a 10 point national advantage for the Democrats could produce less than sweeping results. And even if we pick up 5 or so house seats, the chamber will still be locked down by DeLay and Co.

Furthermore, and this gets back to the 2002 and 2004 elections, the GOP's vote machine (and voting machines?) are simply in better shape than ours. The advantage they had in Ohio, if you want to see a specific example doesn't automatically translate nationwide. But they've done a much better job since 2000 in testing and implementing programs that get their voters to the polls. Is this going to change by next fall? One hopes.

Lastly, the White House will be able to control the agenda going into the election. Will we see an issue as potent as Iraq deployed? I certainly hope not, because the last thing this country needs is the White House starting another war or responding to another terror attack. But we could be confronted by both, throwing those Treasony McTraitorson Democrats back on the defensive. Can't say now that won't be the case. 2002 wasn't about Enron or tax giveaways for the wealthy, and last year wasn't about the economy.

I think this administration believes it has the institutional muscle to get away with anything. They can dole out the fuck you's and, what, what's going to stop them? As long as they've got the ability to set the agenda for elections (or believe they do) they're not going to act like their piper even exists.

Posted by: SamAm | Jun 5, 2005 2:35:09 PM

Just quit thinking that these people are at all intelligent, and realize it's all just motivated by selfishness and self-interest. Then it all makes perfect sense.

They don't care what people think about them. They will just do whatever they are allowed to get away with, which right now is pretty much everything. They don't care about the future of the country - it's just about stealing as much as they can while they can.

Posted by: donna | Jun 5, 2005 4:06:13 PM

Donna is right. Bushco is hard to figure out because we've not run into a group of people who are this self-centered, this hooked on immediate gratification. This is a coalition of the self-interested, and it's working right now. However, you cannot be successful long-term when there is no one willing to sacrifice part of their agenda for the common cause.

There will be a pushback to the current GOP excess, and it will come more from them splintering apart than anything else.

Posted by: Stephen | Jun 5, 2005 4:53:14 PM

Sadly, you're all dreaming if you think that the Bush Crime Syndicate is thinking about anything other than making sure that a Bush family member becomes President in 2008. The BCS cannot allow the Democrats (or even a Republican they don't trust -- McCain anyone?) to take control of the Justice Department and start presenting evidence of their malfeasance (and war crimes) to various grand juries. They're all going to jail if that happens -- and they know it. They tested their vote-stealing system in Florida in 2000, improved it in Georgia in 2002, and took it for the final test run in Florida and Ohio in 2004. Watch in 2006 as -- despite the polls showing Democrats in the lead for the Senate and the exit polls showing Democrats winning most of their races -- the final result mysteriously leads to more Republicans elected to the Senate and House. When we let them get away with the theft of the 2000 election, and when we couldn't stop them from launching their Iraq war, the handwriting was on the wall. And it read "Reichstag Fire Anyone?"

Posted by: Basharov | Jun 5, 2005 7:20:38 PM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 16, 2007 10:44:49 PM

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