August 8, 2005

OVERREACH IS THE MANTRA OF THE 40% PARTY:


Republicans Run the Political Risk of Becoming Too Self-Reliant
(Ronald Brownstein, August 8, 2005, LA Times)

Reward your friends. Punish your enemies. Unify the party. Marginalize the opposition.

These are the old-fashioned tools Republicans are using to entrench their control of 21st century Washington. Around these principles the White House and congressional Republicans this year have demonstrated focus, discipline and an ability to coalesce around difficult legislative goals rare for any political coalition in American history.

Even with occasional reversals, the GOP congressional majority has repeatedly united to move legislation toward President Bush's desk, most dramatically in a spasm of four major bills that cleared one or both chambers in late July.

If there's a danger for the GOP in this strategy, it may be too much success. This unification process often produces divisive results: legislation that aims squarely at the priorities of conservatives and offers relatively few concessions to other perspectives.

That guarantees antagonism from Democrats and risks discontent among swing voters, who generally prefer the parties to moderate each other.


Democrats were riding high after the Depression too, but their overreach cost them control of Congress...in 1994.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2005 3:13 PM
Comments

This post should have been headlined "Obligatory North Korean Reference of the Day." From the article:

"This approach represents the political equivalent to what the North Korean government calls Juche: a strategy of maximizing independence by minimizing dependence on outside forces."

Posted by: b at August 8, 2005 3:21 PM

Let's read this article with an eye toward Brownstein's usual Pavlov's dog stuff:

Reward your friends. Punish your enemies. Unify the party. Marginalize the opposition.

old-fashioned tools [...] entrench their control [...]

a spasm of four major bills [...]

danger for the GOP [...] too much success [...] divisive results [...] legislation that aims squarely at the priorities of conservatives [...] relatively few concessions to other perspectives.

guarantees antagonism [...] risks discontent among swing voters

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 8, 2005 3:40 PM

If Brownstein's insight is correct then his liberal friends would have taken it and still be in power, right?

Posted by: Luciferous at August 8, 2005 4:23 PM

Well, they certainly reward their friends and their enemies.

Not so sure on the other 3.

Posted by: Sandy P at August 8, 2005 9:44 PM

They also lost control (temporarily) in 1946 and 1952, but there was no person or theme for the GOP to move forward with. And, let's face it, many of the leading Republicans of that day were afflicted with FDR- and HST-derangement syndrome.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 9, 2005 10:24 AM
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