This possibility has been aired repeatedly in the blogosphere, often by small-government libertarians who are frustrated by Bush being to willing to spend and to give the Federal Government new things to do. While this is a concern, the realistic question is always: Would the other guys be worse? I don’t think there is any reasonable basis to doubt the answer. Small-l libertarians need to sell their “small government” vision to more voters. Of course, an abstract commitment to “smaller government” is a weak force to put into play against, say, the General Mining Law of 1872, which is a gargantuan giveaway to the mining industry. They will fight to the death to preserve it. It would be literal death to many businesses if it went away. Getting people to say the words, “smaller government” is a very different thing from getting people to agree to specific cuts which will impact them, their communities, their states. Meanwhile, many on the religious right, of which I consider myself a member, have their problems with President Bush. Additionally, Jacksonian America has had just about enough of our open border with Mexico and damn well wants that problem solved. But these kinds of intra-group struggles and factional grumbling are the usual and necessary consequence of being a majority party composed of a coalition of disparate factions. A unitary mindset, meaning that there is an ideological litmus test for inclusion, is a sure sign of a party of losers, who repel potential voters.
The always brilliant Michael Barone has the hard numbers. RTWT. “[W]hen you’re talking political numbers, you should remember that some numbers are harder than others. And the hardest numbers in politics are election results.” Barone notes that Bush’s performance shows that far more Democratic Senators and Congressmen are at risk than the other way around. In other words, the Republicans are operating from a position of strength. Barone’s presentation is entirely convincing.
No crack-up is imminent.