September 30, 2008


Is the Republican Alliance Finally Breaking?: The rebellion of House Republicans yesterday was more than a tactic to help John McCain. It may have been the beginning of the end of the political deal that has defined the last three decades. (Mark Schmitt, September 26, 2008, American Prospect)

Everything in America seemed to converge in a few meeting rooms in Washington yesterday: The rapid meltdown of the speculative economy. George Bush's desperate desire to remain relevant. The evolution of the opposition Democratic Party, in the person of Rep. Barney Frank, into a profoundly serious governing party ready to help George Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson write the bailout he should have written in the first place. And then John McCain trying to do two things at once: Shake up his campaign and win a few more news cycles, and get a hit of the only kind of legislative success he ever had, when he would sweep into the room where there was some sort of bipartisan deal to be cut, and insert himself into the middle of it. (Although that tactic almost always produced more press coverage than legislation.)

By the end of the day, it was clear that the most significant issue was the defection of the House Republicans, which could have an impact on the Republican political coalition of more lasting consequence than its derailing of the bailout. Where McCain swept in to heal a partisan breach, the real differences turned out to be between, on one side, Democrats in the House and Senate, Senate Republicans, George W. Bush, and Bush's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who asked for the deal; and on the other side, the Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The anti-immigration/anti-mortgage Right has its natural allies in the secular and protectionist Left, not in the Christian/social conservative/Third Way center. The politics of Pat Buchanan/Tom Tancredo and Dennis Kucinich/Bernie Sanders are equally estranged from those of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2008 11:21 AM
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