Monday, September 6, 2010

Republican Young Guns in House take steps to muffle George W. Bush and advance a new conservative template in Congress

Calling themselves the Young Guns, three members of America's House of Representatives are about to publish a template for new era of Republican domination in Congress.

With the economy failing to live up to President Barack Obama's hopes for a strong recovery - unemployment remains just below ten percent - Republicans are poised for major gains on Nov 2, when all of the House and a third of Senate seats is contested in midterm elections.

The president has scrambled to stave off defeat over the economy and will this week launch measures designed to boost small businesses.

He will ask Congress to increase and extend a tax credit for research and development, as a way of boosting job creation, an administration official said yesterday. He is also likely to propose to use tax cuts for the rich passed by Mr Bush which are about to expire for further tax breaks for business.

Many polls and pundits say the Republicans will gain the 39 seats needed to win back control of the House of Representatives but just fall short of winning back the Senate.

But doubts linger that the party can take advantage of the favourable winds as it struggles to persuade voters that it has changed significantly since it lost power in 2006.

A recent NBC poll found only 24 per cent of voters saw the party in a positive light.

The Young Guns book recognises "high profile ethics lapses" and "an inability to rein in spending or even slow the growth of government" led to a breakdown in trust in the party.

During the previous Republican rule, Tom DeLay, the former majority leader in the House, was prosecuted for money laundering and violating campaign finance laws, though he was never convicted. Several other members of Congress were embroiled in scandals involving favours for lobbyists.

"The fact is, we had our chance, and we blew it," wrote co-author Eric Cantor, the party's chief whip.

Critics have pointed out that Mr Cantor, 47, from Virginia, was a member of the party's leadership during the era he is now criticising.

The Young Guns programme run by Mr Cantor and his colleagues and co-authors Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan is designed to find new, reliable conservative candidates.

Leaked excerpts indicate that it poses a challenge to the party's most senior leaders.

My  take:

Bush, a phony conservative,  forced real conservatives to take this step by elbowing his way back to the national stage with a book that will be published shortly after the November election. Stand by for pre-election excerpts. The only plausible explanation for this timing is that Bush and his publisher want to sell books and he wants to resume a role in national politics.

If he were to succeed, the Republicans could kiss any "new era" story line goodby. During his eight years in office, Bush expanded government and increased government spending horrifically, while also plunging the United States into seemingly endless war in the Middle East. Economist Joseph Stiglitz has just calculated that the Iraq war alone - a war of choice - has cost the U.S. more than $3 trillion, several times the amount of government estimates.

As he attempts to put the best face on his decisions with a book about his decision-making, that book inevitably will muddle the message planted so vigorously by conservative voters and the Tea Party: it's time for the fake conservatives to step aside and allow real conservatives to govern. Judging by polls, that is what a majority of voters want, as well.

The renewed presence of George Bush on the national stage can not help that endeavor. He undoubtedly is aware of this, and his timing may have an ulterior motive - to undercut the prevailing conservative message of the Tea Party and many voters and prevent the Republican Party from making a hard right turn.

A hard right turn might deprive his brother, Jeb, and perhaps a nephew or two, of a chance at the White House.

No comments: