November 24, 2003

BUSH’S BUDGET: David Bernstein writes:

“Compassionate conservatism” seems to have turned out to be a replay of the Nixon strategy of buying off every conceivable interest group that is capable of being bought off by a Republican admnistration, while using social issues and conservative rhetoric to appease the Republican masses. Nixon, at least, had the excuse of governing in an era when liberalism was at its apex, and with the constraints imposed by the other two branches of government, dominated by liberal Democrats. What is George Bush’s excuse?

The excuse, I think, is that this worked for Nixon — who was reelected in a landslide and left office for, um, non-budgetary reasons. And the reason that it worked is that, in some sense, this is what voters want, however unfortunate that may be. Nonetheless, Bush is alienating a lot of supporters this way, as any denizen of the blogosphere will note. Will it affect the election outcome? He’d better hope not.

UPDATE: Daniel Drezner has a lengthy and link-filled post.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Steve Verdon has comments.