Monday, March 20, 2006


Bandow Bludgeons Beetle Barnes

Erstwhile Cato scholar Doug Bandow goes after Fred Barnes for his odd apportioning of blame for President Bush's recent political stumbles:

Who is to blame for this state of affairs, according to FredBarnes? Not the President, who more Americans describe as incompetent than anything else. Not the venal, irresponsible Congress. Not the legion of neocon publicists, intellectuals, and arm-chair warriors who endlessly demanded war without end and now are fleeing the battlefield, blaming the administration for bungling things.

No, it's the paleocons who, Barnes complains, are "in the lead among the critics" of the GOP. Horror, horror, he notes, paleocon issues are dominating the news these days. And thepaleocons could "influence the party in ways that threaten the narrow Republican majority."

Bad enough is that they criticize George W. Bush, which "weakens the Republican base and, potentially at least, reduces voter turnout." Even worse, they might prevail on an issue or two. Yet come November "What Republicans need more than anything else is unity."
Whoah!!! Shades of the official slogan of the dystopian British society in the current Number One movie: "Strength through unity; unity through faith!"

But George W. Bush's problems are hardly that of paleocons and libertarians abandoning ship --unless one considers
Peggy Noonan and Larry Kudlow (who openly calls for the election of a Democratic Congress) paleocons or libertarian.

For the record, neither phrase applies to either.

Republicans need "unity" more than anything else? Um, how about ideas and a continued allegiance to the basic principles of the party?

Or is that too much to ask for?

Since when is "unity" to principle to be subsumed by "unity" to a man -- or even a party?

Then again, maybe it's just way too late to even be asking that question.

UPDATE: Strenuously holding onto his belief in "unity," Barnes metaphorically keeps most of the band together -- but has them switch instruments:

The president's most spectacular move would be to anoint a presidential successor. This would require Vice President Cheney to resign. His replacement? Condoleezza Rice, whom Mr. Bush regards highly. Her replacement? Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, whose Bush-like views on Iraq and the war on terror have made him a pariah in the Democratic caucus.

Mr. Cheney would probably be happy to step down and return to Wyoming. But it would make more sense for him to move to the Pentagon to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, a job Mr. Cheney held during the elder Bush's administration. The Senate confirmation hearing for Mr. Cheney alone would produce political fireworks and attract incredible attention. At Treasury, Mr. Bush has a perfect replacement for John Snow, someone he already knows. That's Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of Mr. Bush's council of economic advisers and currently dean of Columbia's business school. He is in sync with Mr. Bush ideologically and has the added value of being respected on Wall Street.

Interestingly, this broad Cabinet shake-up goes farther than many of what Bush's right-wing critics have called for -- yet, they are supposedly demonstrating disloyalty to the administration and the party.


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