February 28, 2005


Bush's plan for the GOP (Ross K. Baker, 2/28/05, USA Today)

A Republican dominance in 2005 and beyond might well produce more conservative social legislation, a relaxation of regulations on business and environmental rules and more truculent policy toward countries that sponsor terrorism. If he could pull it off, Bush would find himself in the select company of such presidents as Jefferson, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt — all of whom engineered realignments.

One prong of the Bush strategy is to enact policies that he believes will lure independent voters, even Democrats, to the GOP.

•Social Security restructuring: This is the centerpiece of the administration's effort to create an "ownership society" by establishing private accounts for younger workers. The thinking behind this proposal is that people who see themselves as investors are ripe for conversion to the GOP. William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said the creation of private accounts would result in "citizens not being grateful to government and therefore thinking more like Republicans than Democrats." Conservative activist Grover Norquist pointed out in a recent interview that the rise in stock ownership since the early 1980s parallels a rise in GOP strength in the electorate.

•Immigration: The president has always been more popular with Latino voters than Republicans ordinarily are, and he believes that this once-solidly Democratic group can be won over. To this end, he has proposed guest-worker status for illegal immigrants and has appointed Hispanics to two Cabinet posts.

The second prong of the strategy aims to undercut groups solidly in the Democratic camp.

•Tort reform: The president already won one battle earlier this month, signing into law legislation that moves a number of class-action lawsuits to federal courts and away from generous state juries. If Bush can get Congress to approve his plan to limit non-economic damages in lawsuits, he would further diminish the financial position of trial lawyers, who consistently back Democrats.

•Unions: The Democrats' other mainstay, the public employee unions, are the target of proposed revisions in civil-service regulations. These modifications by the National Labor Relations Board have thus far been applied only to the Department of Homeland Security. If extended, they would weaken unions' reach into federal agencies, carving into union dues and, as a byproduct, into money for Democrats.

Put simply: Court blacks and Latinos, crush lawyers and Labor.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 28, 2005 6:33 PM

My question: why has the Beck decision never been enforced? Bush doesn't even have to get any new laws passed to hamstring the unions with this.

Posted by: PapayaSF at February 28, 2005 7:14 PM

Public Schools, don't forget to crush the Public Schools.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 28, 2005 8:42 PM

Public Schools, don't forget to crush the Public Schools.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 28, 2005 8:43 PM