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Saturday, October 01, 2005

HOW THE G.O.P. MISSED THE BOAT: Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard makes a strong case that Capitol Hill Republicans have morphed "from agile insurgency to bloated establishment in just over a decade." The turks who took over the House in 1994 made the fateful decision to buddy up with the powerful lobbies of K Street, as opposed to transforming government as Ronald Reagan championed. From the vantage point of Continetti and other conservatives who feel the G.O.P. took the wrong road to reform:
First, looking at your party's troubles, you see perverse confirmation of conservatism's animating idea: that as the sphere of public decision-making expands, so do the opportunities for graft and wrongdoing. Next you note, with sadness, that while political power helped bring about some achievements - welfare reform, pro-growth tax cuts, an assertive, moralistic foreign policy - it may have also exhausted conservatism's fighting spirit, lowered the movement's intellectual standards and replaced a healthy independence with partisan water-carrying.
Newt Gingrich once remarked that his success in taking over the House was possible because he and his team convinced enough of the Republican power structure that the American people were tired of having Washington explained to America. It was time to once again explain America to Washington. Gingrich and company succeeded — for a brief shining moment. Here's the scary thought: the Democrats clearly aim to recapture the ground of "speaking truth to power" in 2008. They'll claim that Washington has lost touch with average Americans. Bill Clinton succeeded in 1992, but only with Ross Perot playing spoiler. Can Hillary run as an "outsider"? Hard to imagine. But then I didn't think George W. Bush would choose Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his role model for domestic spending.