December 22, 2003


Tories, Even With a New Leader, See Little to Hope For (SARAH LYALL, 12/22/03, NY Times)

On a national level, Mr. Howard is trying to carve out policies that will distinguish his party from the government. But Mr. Blair's Labor Party has cleverly shifted right, usurping many traditional Conservative positions on issues like crime, social welfare, and immigration, and forcing the Tories to attack policies they once espoused.

There, but for the disgrace of the Clintons, go the Republicans.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2003 8:53 AM

The party in power is irrelevent,it's the policies that matter.

Posted by: M. at December 22, 2003 9:09 AM

Exactly. Had Bill Clinton truly governed as a Third Wayer and reformed the social welfare net in the way Bush is doing it would have made him the great president.

Posted by: OJ at December 22, 2003 9:19 AM

You mean spent more money on social programs and vastly expanded medicare entitlment program?

OJ,if your right about Bush,I'll be the first to admit it,but from where I sit he's simply a domestic policy opportunist who has moved left when convient and talked consrvative where nessacary.Had it not been for 9/11 and our concern with security,I belive he would be a one-termer like daddy.

Posted by: M. at December 22, 2003 10:57 AM


Actually 9-11 has been a drag on his presidency, requiring national security outlays that he wanted no part of, creating division where he sought bipartisanship, and shifting attention from the domestic agenda. The biggest reforms--tax cuts and No Child Left Behind--happened before 9-11, subsequent ones--Medicare, etc.--are obviously unrelated, and the use of executive orders for installing the Faith Based initiative and civil service reform and the like are clearly independent. Remove the war and the budget deficit and there'd not only be no obstacle to his re-election but the sniping from the libertarian and paleoconservative Rights would be quieted.

Posted by: OJ at December 22, 2003 12:25 PM

Remove the war, the budget deficit and some of the more statist overtures of the Ashcroft DOJ, and we paleoconservatives would be quieted.

No wait, we want the President to fight harder for his judicial nominees too.

If he appoints Al Gonzales or a similar feckless O'Connor-like Republicanoid to the Supreme Court, then his presidency is a failure. For that single act alone. No compromise is possible.

Posted by: RT at December 22, 2003 1:12 PM


Then give him 60 Senators.

Posted by: OJ at December 22, 2003 1:29 PM

You said it.

I'm willing to play the field a little in House elections. I'm firmly with the GOP in '04 re: Senate.

But I want something for my vote, and my last comment shows what it is. We're not going to let W. forget that when asked what sort of Justices he would appoint, he said Scalia and Thomas.

Posted by: RT at December 22, 2003 2:09 PM


Yes, but it was conservatives who bailed out on the first Bush and ushered in an unnecessary Democratic interegnum. Breyer and Ginsburg are down to your side. You owe us two.

Posted by: OJ at December 22, 2003 2:47 PM

So who gets the blame for Souter?

Posted by: jefferson park at December 22, 2003 2:51 PM

GHWB & Sununu

Posted by: OJ at December 22, 2003 3:12 PM

Tony Blair's domestic policies have been (in contrast to his foreign policies) fairly dire. Inheriting a strong economy, Labour have been sensible enough to not change it too drastically. His crime policy is quickly becoming a total disaster. His attempts at reforming public services are being stifled by the large number of left-wingers in his party. He may get legislation passed, but any serious reforms get watered down to nothing, leaving just another layer of bureaucracy as the sum total of his efforts.

Blair could have got a lot done in his first term and didn't. He is trying to get a lot done in his second term and cannot. The general perception of the government is that it is incompetent. If Howard can get the Tories working as an effective opposition I think he has a chance. His best bet is to put himself forward as a competent alternative.

Posted by: A at December 22, 2003 7:19 PM


But they have to get to Blair's Right--anti-EU, anti-immigration, pro-privatization, etc., so that they're ready to pick up the pieces.

Posted by: oj at December 22, 2003 7:35 PM