The poisoned chalice and a tiny ray of hope

by John Quiggin on November 3, 2004

If Kerry does win after all, it will be under the worst possible circumstances. A minority of the popular vote, a hostile Congress and the need to prevail in a vicious legal dogfight in Ohio. The Republicans will be out for impeachment from Inauguration Day, if not before that. At this stage, a Kerry victory would produce the worst of all possible worlds – responsibility without power.

All things considered, I’d prefer a Bush victory at this point. That said, I think a second Bush Administration will be a disaster in all respects, economically, socially and internationally. To those who supported and voted for him, I’ll say “be careful what you wish for”.

The future looks awful, but I thought I’d sketch out the optimistic scenario, which is, roughly speaking, a repeat of Reagan’s second term.

In his first term, Reagan was, in many respects, worse than Bush has been. His buildup of nuclear weapons, undertaken with the support of advisers such as Perle, ran a severe risk of destroying the entire world. In economic policy, he discarded the mainstream Republican economic advisers and went for what George Bush senior called “voodoo economics”, massive tax cuts undertaken on the basis of the supply-side economic theories of people like Arthur Laffer and Jude Wanniski. This produced a peak deficit equal to 6.2 per cent of GDP in 1984, considerably higher than the peak under Bush so far.

In his second term, Reagan ignored his foreign policy advisers and signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Gorbachev. Whereas Perle and others saw Reagan’s rhetoric about bargaining from a position of strength as mere words, covering the creation of a nuclear capacity that could fight and win the inevitable showdown with Russia, Reagan actually believed it, and when he found a suitable partner in Gorbachev he put it into practice. START I, initiated by Reagan and Gorbachev, followed in 1991.

Meanwhile, on economic policy, Reagan listened to his mainstream advisers and took steps to wind back the deficit. He left the US with a big increase in public debt, partially unwound under Clinton, but the outcome was far better than it would have been if he hadn’t changed course.

At about the same time, the Plaza Accords produced a concerted policy of depreciating the overvalued US dollar and reducing the trade deficit.

What are the chances that we’ll see something similar from Bush? In foreign policy, this would entail a shift towards bilateral or multilateral peacemaking, and in domestic policy, a serious attempt to balance the budget and the trade account. In my judgement, the likelihood is close to zero. But I’d be interested to hear what others have to say.

{ 59 comments }

1

Keith M Ellis 11.03.04 at 10:29 am

I agree that a turnaround on some policies during the second term, a la Reagan, is unlikely with Bush. My intuition is that there’s far more likely going to be a hardening of positions this term. I do think they’ll be embattled by a whole bunch of scandals and bad news, but I think that will make it more likely for them to harden their positions rather than soften them.

2

Bruce Baugh 11.03.04 at 10:33 am

Bush seems to learn less from his experience than Reagan.

3

Martin Wisse 11.03.04 at 11:05 am

Despite the awful problems Kerry would have governing the country in these circumstances, I still want him to win, as a second Bush administration will go on as it has been doing all along, not to mention that Supreme Court vacancy that is almost inevitable at this point.

4

jasper emmering 11.03.04 at 11:16 am

If Kerry wins the electoral college, he’s not powerless.

Two things characterize the last four years: excessive secrecy and scandals of incompetence, negligence, malevolence etc. etc.

If so much scandal can reach the surface while the most secretive administration since Nixon is in power, it is only reasonable to assume there still are lots of scandals we don’t even know about, and that at least some of those we’ve heard of turn out to be even worse.

These scandals can legitimize a Kerry presidency (hell, Bush should have been impeached long ago just on the basis of what we do know). And they can hurt the Republicans enough to win back the Senate, the House, or both.

5

McDuff 11.03.04 at 11:36 am

I think that the big thing to be positive about is the fact that this will motivate and radicalise the Democrats. Bush, honestly, will not get better, but I do not think it will be an unmitigated disaster. A Dean/Obama style Democratic Party can take it in ’08, fresh off the back of the inevitable failures of the NeoConservative and Texas GOP policies that dominate the Republicans right now, and we will see a long-term swing away from those discredited policies.

Reagan had a chance to be the guy who “beat the USSR.” Bush will not get to declare a victory over Terrorism.

6

abb1 11.03.04 at 11:39 am

All things considered, I’d prefer a Bush victory at this point. That said, I think a second Bush Administration will be a disaster in all respects, economically, socially and internationally.

What’s that supposed to mean?

7

Hugh Strong 11.03.04 at 11:42 am

I’d keep in mind that:

About the SU: Reagan was perhaps not aware of how agressive the Evil Empire rhetoric and defense buildup appeared in Russian eyes. These days, we are losing in Iraq and we are losing the public diplomacy battle generally in the rest of the world. The evidence of is readily available, so Bush can only be ignoing the data or ignorant of it. His actions appear to ignore non-US consequences, and I expect this pattern to continue.

At the time of the Plaza accords, Japan and Germany were linked into the US-centric cold war security system and we could persuade countries to make adjustabments to currencies and interest rates. Nothing similar is possible now, because we’ve either lost the lever (EU, Japan) or we never had it to begin with, as is true with China.

Bush doesn’t admit any mistakes, and so is unlikely to change course on anything.

8

kevin donoghue 11.03.04 at 11:43 am

If you are looking for a silver lining (of sorts), consider Niall Ferguson’s view:

“Go back half a century, to 1956, and recall the events that led up to the re-election of another Republican incumbent. Sure, Eisenhower didn’t have much in common personally with George W. Bush, except perhaps the relaxed work rate. But Ike was no slouch when it came to regime change. […]

“Predictably, Ike’s re-election was followed by a string of foreign-policy reverses–not least the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, Castro’s takeover of Cuba and the shooting down of Gary Powers’s U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. These were the setbacks that lent credibility to JFK’s hawkish campaign in 1960: And Kennedy’s victory handed the rest of the decade to the Democrats.”

The ray of hope may be the fact that Bush is now in a splendid position to discredit the Bush Doctrine.

9

jif 11.03.04 at 12:02 pm

Personally, with the race looking to go to Bush (worst), Daschle booted, and a series of wingnuts (new SC senator who wants a 23% federal sales tax to replace the income tax), racists (Tom Coburn, Oklahoma, who said African Americans are genetically predisposed to live shorter lives than whites), and dementia-addled loons (Kentucky- the winner claims not to have read a newspaper or watched the news for six weeks, and requested extra security at a small town KY event to prevent his being attacked by al Qaeda) winning, I think those of us in this country are looking at a corporate theocracy in the offing. Bush will chose at least one and possibly three or four supreme court justices (yes, that is the sound of our rights evaporating). Democratic voices in Congress are going to be replaced by people like Coburn. Anti-gay marriage initiatives were a sweep: Americans showed themselves to be homophobes and bigots. All those who poured time, money and effort into trying to get Bush out of office are now not only faced with not only seeing Bush in office for four more years of destruction, but being stronger for having a Congress behind him- and, unlike 2000, appearing to have a marginal win. I don’t think this is going to motivate or radicalize anyone. I think it will lead to mass apathy: even when we fight, we lose.

10

raj 11.03.04 at 12:08 pm

>new SC senator who wants a 23% federal sales tax to replace the income tax

That’s interesting. I haven’t seen anything in the US Constitution to authorize a federal sales tax.

11

Ancarett 11.03.04 at 12:39 pm

May we live in interesting times, eh?

DeMint in SC is notorious for his “novel” tax proposal — see The Economist’s pre-election coverage:
http://www.economist.com/World/na/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3291581

12

jawbone 11.03.04 at 1:05 pm

Sorry, but given the coming attacks on a woman’s right to choose, I cannot agree that it is better to have Bush in power for the next 4 years. His SupCrt appointments will affect life for many, many years. The Repubs tend to choose radical, young justices, hoping to keep them in charge for decades.

To anyone who values the Bill of Rights, personal freedoms, this is a disaster. For anyone who believes in accountability, this is a disaster. For anyone who hopes to lessen global warming, this is a disaster.

Research can go overseas, but our economy will not have the direct benefit it would were it done here. We used to be the leader in alternative energy development, until Reagan cut funding for research and incouraged profligate enery consumption.

Oh, and when will the Repubs bring up to Soylent Green solution to aging in America and increased Medicare/SocSec costs? Nothing wrong with dying, to them; if you’re saved you should be glad. If not, good riddance and fitting end, in their eyes.

Yup, I’m grumpy.

13

jawbone 11.03.04 at 1:05 pm

Sorry, but given the coming attacks on a woman’s right to choose, I cannot agree that it is better to have Bush in power for the next 4 years. His SupCrt appointments will affect life for many, many years. The Repubs tend to choose radical, young justices, hoping to keep them in charge for decades.

To anyone who values the Bill of Rights, personal freedoms, this is a disaster. For anyone who believes in accountability, this is a disaster. For anyone who hopes to lessen global warming, this is a disaster.

Research can go overseas, but our economy will not have the direct benefit it would were it done here. We used to be the leader in alternative energy development, until Reagan cut funding for research and incouraged profligate enery consumption.

Oh, and when will the Repubs bring up to Soylent Green solution to aging in America and increased Medicare/SocSec costs? Nothing wrong with dying, to them; if you’re saved you should be glad. If not, good riddance and fitting end, in their eyes.

Yup, I’m grumpy.

14

jawbone 11.03.04 at 1:06 pm

Sorry, but given the coming attacks on a woman’s right to choose, I cannot agree that it is better to have Bush in power for the next 4 years. His SupCrt appointments will affect life for many, many years. The Repubs tend to choose radical, young justices, hoping to keep them in charge for decades.

To anyone who values the Bill of Rights, personal freedoms, this is a disaster. For anyone who believes in accountability, this is a disaster. For anyone who hopes to lessen global warming, this is a disaster.

Research can go overseas, but our economy will not have the direct benefit it would were it done here. We used to be the leader in alternative energy development, until Reagan cut funding for research and incouraged profligate enery consumption.

Oh, and when will the Repubs bring up to Soylent Green solution to aging in America and increased Medicare/SocSec costs? Nothing wrong with dying, to them; if you’re saved you should be glad. If not, good riddance and fitting end, in their eyes.

Yup, I’m grumpy.

15

jet 11.03.04 at 1:11 pm

Whenever I hear someone from the left talking about Reagan all I hear is “waaaw wa wa waaw wan wah”.

Reagan tripled the federal tax revenue with his tax cuts. Did you hear that? Tripled the tax revenue with tax CUTS. Now stick that in your pipe and smoke it, then get back to me with how the Democratic congress played “stolen credit card” with all that shiny new green.

16

jawbone 11.03.04 at 1:11 pm

Grumpy and typing badly. Reality can be a bitch.

17

KCinDC 11.03.04 at 1:11 pm

I agree with Jif. I was volunteering for four days in Ohio with ACT, and there and elsewhere Democrats (and progressives who aren’t Democrats) seemed far more energized than ever before. I find it hard to believe they’ll be more energized after putting in all that effort and having nothing to show for it.

18

jawbone 11.03.04 at 1:11 pm

Grumpy and typing badly. Reality can be a bitch.

19

jawbone 11.03.04 at 1:12 pm

Grumpy and typing badly. Reality can be a bitch.

20

jet 11.03.04 at 1:18 pm

Jawbone,

You’d have to be of the fanatical religion of abortion to believe that the reasoning saying abortion should be a states issue has zero merit. But given that, I think that ever court with the ability to decide the fait of abortion will decide with RoeVWade.

Hell, Bush can’t even ban an barely used, shunned practice that no one but the truly religious zealots of abortion seems to care about. So while tonight does seem bitter, it isn’t bitter for the pro-choice crowd.

I’m more pissed about all the state constitutions banning gay people from marriage and in two cases from contracts. SUCK!

21

jet 11.03.04 at 1:29 pm

Anyone want to take bets on a Rep Congress and a Rep President keeping the budget under control? We can only hope they cut taxes to spur an amount of growth to keep up with their new credit card.

22

laocoon 11.03.04 at 1:38 pm

Kerry losing the popular vote, but winning the electoral college (and hence the Presidency) by litigating the counting process in a critical state could be a GOOD thing.

It would force the democrats to either consider their candidate as not really the president – or to acknowledge that Bush was legitimate all along. That’s in the future, so they can choose the self-interested thing and defend ‘litigating your way into the White House’. The republicans, of course, committed four years ago to this, so they will have to acknowledge that what was legitimate for Bush then is legitimate for Kerry now.

Hence, everyone has an incentive to accept a litigated resolution.

Besides, Americans like to see everything settled in court, and won’t acknowledge anything as really settled until then. After all, lots of civil rights were essentially imposed by courts, over the popular will of the racist southern states. We could not back away from that precedent.

Besides, Kerry would be more legitimate and acceptable in the eyes of the rest of the world, so we’d probably have a much easier time with foreign policy.

23

Peter 11.03.04 at 1:43 pm

Jet, you seem to deliberately forget the federal deficit that shot up under Reagan and bush. Is that deliberate amnesia?

24

Robin Green 11.03.04 at 1:48 pm

Reagan tripled the federal tax revenue with his tax cuts.

Once again you are displaying your non-membership of the reality based community, jet.

Federal tax revenue was not “tripled”. You must be confusing it with the national debt.

Tax revenue did increase in the 80s, but this was due to a combination of factors – notably a strong economy and an increase in payroll taxes.

See what you can discover with a couple of minutes on Google, jet?

25

slolernr 11.03.04 at 1:58 pm

Reagan showed in his first term that he was susceptible to the reality-based community. He changed fiscal policies in response to adverse reactions — increased homelessness, political opposition, etc. There is no comparable data point in this case.

26

yabonn 11.03.04 at 1:59 pm

I really thought we were safe for Best Political Fuckup prize after jacques “me or the fascist” chirac got reelected.

But Chimpy even got the popular vote this time! Damn they’re good.

27

JThomas 11.03.04 at 2:00 pm

It will be fine.

28

JThomas 11.03.04 at 2:00 pm

It will be fine.

29

Keith 11.03.04 at 2:06 pm

It’s foolish to think Bush will lighten up on his second term. He’s displayed nothing but hubris and contempt for reality-based decision making for the last four years, and that term was won on stealth and guile. If he gets a legitimate term, this time around, he’ll be unbearably smug, self-rightious and dagerous. And we’ll have a draft.

30

Azad 11.03.04 at 2:07 pm

it seems most people have selective amnesia about Reagan raising taxes after the original cut.

31

SomeCallMeTim 11.03.04 at 2:16 pm

I think it’s going to be substantially worse than Reagan’s second term. Here is what I don’t understand – is there an intellectual scaffolding left on the Republican side? How is Bush going to structure his Presidency – everyone who develops policy on that side spent the last few weeks making a break for the sidelines. Whose left, other than the Southern Republicans, to tell him what to do?

I think I’m going to be sick again.

32

jet 11.03.04 at 2:22 pm

What was the income tax rates when Reagan took office. What was it when he left? Yeah, daz what I thought.

Since economics is still quite a bit a matter of faith, it is my belief that any tax rate over 30% seriously stunts growth. Without this robin hood, steal from the rich and give to the poor, mentality, we’d all be living to 500, growing all our own food in our basements, flying our rocket ships to our job on the moon, and the only work would be annoying the robots who actualy do our jobs.

33

doghouse riley 11.03.04 at 2:25 pm

it seems most people have selective amnesia about Reagan raising taxes after the original cut.

In 1982, ’84, and again in ’86, cunningly packaged as “reform” and “revenue enhancements”. In other words, there was an immediate reaction to the serious decline in revenues, something which did not happen with Bush II.

As a percentage of GDP federal tax revenues declined 4% from 1980-1990.

34

U-Boat 11.03.04 at 2:31 pm

Hmm, looks like it’s going back to the courts then!

I think that a protracted legal battle is the last thing the US needs at the moment, especially with decisive decisions still to be made in Iraq concerning the recent offensives. However, if I were an American I’d be well prepared to wait a couple of weeks rather than jump on the band-wagon to put pressure on Kerry to concede. I can’t believe some of the democrats have spent the last four years campaigning but are ready to admit defeat as soon as one of Bush’s lieutenants claims victory in Ohio!

Still, the situation does look bleak. I suppose coming from the UK I shouldn’t be so concerned about this, but as we are currently presided over by George’s favourite lap-dog – and undoubtedly will be for the next few years (unless Blair resigns before our elections in May) – I’m still getting a little edgy about a conflict looming in Iran/Syria/North Korea (delete where applicable). I just hope all you Republicans are still happy about your decision when the draft comes!

35

Ray Davis 11.03.04 at 2:33 pm

Eisenhower didn’t destroy federal finances by eliminating progressive and estate taxes — he kept them consistent with the New Deal. His second term wasn’t disastrous. Bush’s will be.

36

u-boat 11.03.04 at 2:34 pm

Hmm, looks like it’s going back to the courts then!

I think that a protracted legal battle is the last thing the US needs at the moment, especially with decisive decisions still to be made in Iraq concerning the recent offensives. However, if I were an American I’d be well prepared to wait a couple of weeks rather than jump on the band-wagon to put pressure on Kerry to concede. I can’t believe some of the democrats have spent the last four years campaigning but are ready to admit defeat as soon as one of Bush’s lieutenants claims victory in Ohio!

Still, the situation does look bleak. I suppose coming from the UK I shouldn’t be so concerned about this, but as we are currently presided over by George’s favourite lap-dog – and undoubtedly will be for the next few years (unless Blair resigns before our elections in May) – I’m still getting a little edgy about a conflict looming in Iran/Syria/North Korea (delete where applicable). I just hope all you Republicans are still happy about your decision when the draft comes!

37

Ray Davis 11.03.04 at 2:35 pm

Eisenhower didn’t destroy the national economy by eliminating progressive and estate taxes — he kept them consistent with New Deal rates. His second term wasn’t disastrous. Bush’s will be.

38

Locutor 11.03.04 at 2:49 pm

Jet scribbled with crayon:
Since economics is still quite a bit a matter of faith, it is my belief that any tax rate over 30% seriously stunts growth. Without this robin hood, steal from the rich and give to the poor, mentality, we’d all be living to 500, growing all our own food in our basements, flying our rocket ships to our job on the moon, and the only work would be annoying the robots who actualy do our jobs.

Yep, definitely not a member of the reality-based community. Hey Jet, now tell us how Reagan freed the slaves in Egypt and defeated Kublai Khan!

39

jet 11.03.04 at 3:06 pm

Locutor, I understand that your recent loss has you grieving and probably has your sense of humor out of whack. But, in the future, if you ever hear anyone talking about taking their rocket ship to the moon for their day job, you can safely assume they are not being serious.

I’m just as tired an worn out as everyone else here (being up all night following ever tiny change), and certainly wouldn’t try to entertain a serious debate on something I know so little about.

Everyone’s so frigg’n serious here as if their three cents is “the truth” and will change everyone’s mind if only they could just say it often and clear enough.

40

Ted Barlow 11.03.04 at 3:16 pm

Jet,

That’s completely wrong. Nominal tax revenues were 65% higher in 1989 than in 1981. But nominal revenues give Reagan credit for both inflation and population growth. Nominal tax revenues go up almost every year for these reasons.

Using your metric, Bill Clinton increased tax revenues by 72% between 1993 and 2001, and Jimmy Carter increased tax revenues by an amazing 69% in just four years, between 1977-1981.

I wrote about this here. You can check the sources. It’s a ridiculous soundbite, it’s not accurate even on its own terms, and you ought to stop using it.

41

Mac Thomason 11.03.04 at 3:20 pm

Of course, after Iran-Contra the grownup Republicans took command of the party and foisted Howard Baker on Reagan. The Bushites seem unlikely to follow suit. They’ll just govern as they have and screw everything up.

42

Sebastian Holsclaw 11.03.04 at 3:29 pm

“About the SU: Reagan was perhaps not aware of how agressive the Evil Empire rhetoric and defense buildup appeared in Russian eyes.”

This is completely wrong. If you read Reagan’s letters from the 1970 (before he was president) and then the 1980s, he planned all along to scare the crap out of the USSR with both rhetoric and strangle their economy with the defense buildup to force them to the table later.

43

jet 11.03.04 at 3:34 pm

Ted, thanks for the info. But I can still cheer Reagan for turning several presidential terms of stagnat economies into one of the fastest growing economies ever, right?

Or did Reagan tank the economy, ruin the economic future, prolong the Soviet threat, and make chocolate stop tasting good?

44

Giles 11.03.04 at 3:34 pm

I’d have thought a comparison to the John Major government as an example of being in office but not in power would be more apt.

45

Dubious 11.03.04 at 3:45 pm

Unless all sorts of wonderful things happen, by 2006 the American people will be feeling disgruntled with one party controlling so much of the govt. They’ll vote the Republicans out of one of the houses of congress, I think.

46

Ted Barlow 11.03.04 at 3:54 pm

Jet,

You’ll forgive me if I don’t have a lot of energy for debate this morning, but quite a lot of credit has to go to Paul Volcker, the Fed chairman appointed by Carter. Personally, I’d give the credit to Reagan for getting out of his way (which is no small thing; it took a lot of political courage as Volcker pursued a painful program of tight money), and for an aggressive program of deregulation.

The chocolate thing is just a product of getting older. It happened to me, too.

47

jet 11.03.04 at 4:24 pm

Ted, in case my previous comment came off too flippant, I really meant it when I said “thanks”. That’s what I like about this site, you are certainly kept honest. If I’m going to praise Regan’s economy, I’m certainly obligated to delve into the gray world of defense spending, social cuts, tax cuts, de-regulation, etc etc ad nausea.

48

Ted Barlow 11.03.04 at 5:00 pm

No problem, Jet. I didn’t interpret it as flippant.

49

h. e. baber 11.03.04 at 5:40 pm

Let’s hope that the Democratic party doesn’t take this defeat as a signal to move even further to the right.

We cooked our own goose. We lampooned middle Americans as gun-toting yahoos living in little boxes made of ticky-tacky. We politicized “lifestyle issues,” ignored policies that benefitted the working class economically, and made “liberalism” a dirty word by creating the public perception that it’s chief tenets were secularism, support for abortion on demand and gay marriage, cultural sensitivity, tree-hugging and gun control.

After 30 years of this crap, how was a Francophile, billionaire Brahmin supposed to persuade Americans that he was a friend of “working families”?

50

h. e. baber 11.03.04 at 5:42 pm

Let’s hope that the Democratic party doesn’t take this defeat as a signal to move even further to the right.

We cooked our own goose. We lampooned middle Americans as gun-toting yahoos living in little boxes made of ticky-tacky. We politicized “lifestyle issues,” ignored policies that benefitted the working class economically, and made “liberalism” a dirty word by creating the public perception that it’s chief tenets were secularism, support for abortion on demand and gay marriage, cultural sensitivity, tree-hugging and gun control.

After 30 years of this crap, how was a Francophile, billionaire Brahmin supposed to persuade Americans that he was a friend of “working families”?

51

h. e. baber 11.03.04 at 5:43 pm

Let’s hope that the Democratic party doesn’t take this defeat as a signal to move even further to the right.

We cooked our own goose. We lampooned middle Americans as gun-toting yahoos living in little boxes made of ticky-tacky. We politicized “lifestyle issues,” ignored policies that benefitted the working class economically, and made “liberalism” a dirty word by creating the public perception that it’s chief tenets were secularism, support for abortion on demand and gay marriage, cultural sensitivity, tree-hugging and gun control.

After 30 years of this crap, how was a Francophile, billionaire Brahmin supposed to persuade Americans that he was a friend of “working families”?

52

h. e. baber 11.03.04 at 5:45 pm

Let’s hope that the Democratic party doesn’t take this defeat as a signal to move even further to the right.

We cooked our own goose. We lampooned middle Americans as gun-toting yahoos living in little boxes made of ticky-tacky. We politicized “lifestyle issues,” ignored policies that benefitted the working class economically, and made “liberalism” a dirty word by creating the public perception that it’s chief tenets were secularism, support for abortion on demand and gay marriage, cultural sensitivity, tree-hugging and gun control.

After 30 years of this crap, how was a Francophile, billionaire Brahmin supposed to persuade Americans that he was a friend of “working families”?

53

h. e. baber 11.03.04 at 5:47 pm

Let’s hope that the Democratic party doesn’t take this defeat as a signal to move even further to the right.

We cooked our own goose. We lampooned middle Americans as gun-toting yahoos living in little boxes made of ticky-tacky. We politicized “lifestyle issues,” ignored policies that benefitted the working class economically, and made “liberalism” a dirty word by creating the public perception that it’s chief tenets were secularism, support for abortion on demand and gay marriage, cultural sensitivity, tree-hugging and gun control.

After 30 years of this crap, how was a Francophile, billionaire Brahmin supposed to persuade Americans that he was a friend of “working families”?

54

nobody 11.03.04 at 6:12 pm

You forget that Reagan was forced back into compromising–no Republican Senate, a House that survived the prospect of possible Republican takeover and where more liberal Democrats were much more confident to assert themselves. Bush has the whole of Congress, filled increasingly with shrill partisan hacks, on his side. No one will stop him from himself.

55

Rick Taylor 11.03.04 at 7:01 pm

When Reagan was President, it wasn’t on the eve of the baby boomers coming of age. This time there won’t be time to undo the damage.

–Rick Taylor

56

Rick Taylor 11.03.04 at 7:03 pm

When Reagan was President, it wasn’t on the eve of the baby boomers coming of age. This time there won’t be time to undo the damage.

–Rick Taylor

57

Rick Taylor 11.03.04 at 7:06 pm

When Reagan was President, it wasn’t on the eve of the baby boomers coming of age. This time there won’t be time to undo the damage.

–Rick Taylor

58

LamontCranston 11.03.04 at 8:06 pm

One problem though is that they dont live in the reality-based community (has that become a cliche yet?), so no matter how bad things will get under Bushs’ second term – they’re not gonna notice.

59

Uncle Kvetch 11.03.04 at 9:41 pm

One problem though is that they dont live in the reality-based community (has that become a cliche yet?), so no matter how bad things will get under Bushs’ second term – they’re not gonna notice.

Oh, they’ll notice–they’ll just tell themselves that it’s all the fault of George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Michael Moore. And they’ll believe it, too.

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