Disgruntled Republicans busy fighting with each other

Forget the Democrats. Right now, many Republicans see themselves as their own worst enemies and their anger at each other may be the catalyst that brings down GOP domination in Congress.

Reports Carolyn Lochhead of The San Francisco Chronicle:

Former Rep. Mark Foley’s lewd behavior with teenage pages dropped like a match in a dry forest of conservative anger at Republicans.

More than the scandal itself, the anger is what could topple the House leadership and end 12 years of Republican control of the House.

For many conservatives, Republicans have assumed a startling resemblance to the Democrats they ousted from a 40-year reign in 1994.

“They have become that which they beheld,” said Richard Viguerie, the father of conservative grassroots activism. “In the early 1990s, they talked about a culture of corruption by the Democrats and how they were abusing their power. Lo and behold, that seems to be what the Republicans have engaged in.”

House Republicans are a long way from the heady days of 1994, when the Republican revolution began with a 54-seat landslide after fiery backbencher Newt Gingrich of Georgia and his conservative allies issued the Contract With America, “aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government,” starting with fiscal responsibility and reform of the House itself.

Foley’s escapades fuel a long-simmering frustration that Republicans have betrayed their principles. The latest issue of Washington Monthly ran essays from seven lifelong Republicans arguing _ before the Foley scandal broke _ that it might be better if Republicans lost the House.

Republicans may be divided over the war in Iraq, civil liberties, immigration and the struggle between religious and economic conservatives. But one thing that unifies party members of all persuasions is a profound dismay at what they see as profligate spending by Congress under President Bush.

Fighting big government has been a GOP lodestar since Barry Goldwater was nominated for the presidency in 1964. It animated Ronald Reagan’s presidency, helped deny George H.W. Bush a second term when he violated his “read-my-lips” no-new-tax pledge, and became the defining battle of the Gingrich revolution in 1994, leading to a government shutdown in a face-off with Democratic President Bill Clinton.

When the younger Bush was elected in 2000, Republicans gained unified control of the White House, the House and, for most of the last six years, the Senate.

Yet what majority control produced was lavish farm subsidies; the Medicare drug bill, which is the biggest entitlement expansion since the Great Society; enormous funding increases for Cabinet departments Republicans once pledged to eliminate; highway bills larded with bridges to nowhere, and a galaxy of special spending earmarks for individual lawmakers’ pet projects _ along with an invasion of Iraq.

“Starting with George W. Bush, it’s been all downhill,” said William Niskanen, chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute and a former Reagan official. “The growth of federal spending has been the highest since Lyndon Johnson, this is the first Republican war in over a century in which the ground combat lasted more than a few days, we’ve had an erosion of our civil liberties … it’s really a very sad story.”


  1. liz

    Republican party is weak. The members allowed a hijacking of the party, a coup so to speak. Most real old fashioned republicans did not even notice because they are so rah rah party. Forget America . Forget your neighbor. Allow torture. Spend crazy and run up dept. Meanwhile back in America, everything did change. Half of us are now most often labeled terrorists by our president because we aren’t with him. Well so be it. I am an old fashioned REAL American….. more American than a neocon.

  2. Yes these are the many reasons why I recently quit the Republican Party. Today it’s the mean party of the Neocons and Social Conservatives. Authoritarians rule here and the followers follow blindly. Out in the cold are the fiscal conservatives.

    I was a Goldwater republican when I was a republican. I have great love for the Bill of Rights and Constitution. That has not changed since I left the GOP. But, what has changed is the Character of the GOP itself.

    Things have changed in the GOP under Bush. Now torture and an invasive government is the norm. This is not my brand of government period.

  3. Since they first sold bad rifles and worthless shoes to the Union army, the Republican party has never represented anything but corporations – with occaisional factional disputes. It has fomented wars, and granted itself endless licences to steal from small business and workers alike.

    It has always been a party of subversion that uses the media as its get away car.

  4. Mark Triggs

    The quesion is where do disenchanted Republicans go ? Disenchanted Democrats have wrestled with this question for many years, and no small number have voted Republican. But the overarching tragedy to our democracy is that large numbers of American citizens do not vote. These facts clearly point to the failure of a so-called two party system to rein in ever increasing corporate control of the democratic process. Our democracy cries out for a 3rd party. Conservatives have been at war with FDR and the New Deal for generations. Now that the middle class is on the ropes, only truly unpatriotic Americans such as Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and those who long for a new American aristocracy are cheering. The current administration has one main goal, preserving their political power, and in this alone have they succeeded. As for their flawed goal of expanding US hegemony, the Democrats have thankfully helped that goal to fail. The current choice for Republicans is to hold their noses and vote for the party who will do less harm. And Republicans would also do well to acknowledge the unprecedented division the brilliant Rove has plotted from the beginning. At least Democrats tried to support Bush in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. They should have known better than to try and reason with the scorched earth policies of a criminal administration.

  5. ebbtide

    You know what? I think that we are in for a terrible 21st century.

    We have refused to spend the money necessary to replicate the success and development of the 20th century.