This is a weird question, but if a Republican somehow manages to break Bush’s curse and win the Whitehouse, might it be better for us if he’s another Republican puppet? On the one hand, our current Puppet-in-Chief has done a pretty lousy job. But what if we had a true free-thinker, someone who wasn’t even bound by the GOP Dishonor Code of Incompetence and Corruption to screw everything up? Is that really such a better option?
Like what if Fred Thompson or some other actual conservative somehow smoothed his way past the Republican Marketing Machine and won the Whitehouse, and then started implementing a real conservative agenda in a competent and thorough manner? Is that really what we’d want? Like if they really did do all the stuff that the flakes at Red State want, without any regard for the political implications; and even went so far as to hire competent people to do the job?
As things are, the Bushies were too conservative for us, and that really wasn’t even their interest. All they cared about was implementing a Republican Dynasty and bilking money out of taxpayers; with conservatism only being considered when it didn’t get in the way of their real plans. While the taxcuts, privatization, and war were for the dynasty; most other conservative items were considered throwing meat to the base, and done only when it was politically acceptable. But what if the base got the Whitehouse? What if the Red Staters won?
I wrote more about this, but started to shit my pants the more I wrote. So I’ll just come down to the upside. I assert that any president who attempted to do these things would be far more unpopular than Bush. As things were, Bush was as popular as he was due almost entirely to a top-notch marketing department which was very aware of how unpopular conservativism really is.
When they sold anything remotely conservative, it had to be done with a heavy PR campaign (including bribes to conservative pundits) and all kinds of other smoke-and-mirrors. And even then, they never got around to gutting Social Security and ended up expanding Medicare. The Department of Education wasn’t eradicated. We still have labor laws. The SEC, FCC, and IRS continue to exist; albeit in a weakened fashion. Sure, I shouldn’t count my chickens before they get the hell out of the Whitehouse, but I’d say we did pretty good.
And any actual conservative who tried to implement even a quarter of the Red State agenda would surely do far worse. For as much as Republicans insist they weren’t poll-mongers, it was never true. They’ve backed down from every unpopular fight they’ve faced, and even then ended-up extremely unpopular. So it’s unlikely that a Whitehouse that truly did ignore the polls could do any better; and they’d probably do far worse. So much so, that I doubt they could even get a Republican Congress to go along with any of these ideas in the first place.
Again, one of the reasons why the Republicans were so successful was because they weren’t really interested in the conservative agenda. They wanted a self-perpetuating political system that would use tax dollars to finance their campaigns and the government to act as their political staff. And even that wasn’t enough. So I find it extremely unlikely that an old-fashioned small government conservative would have any hope for success. Sure, they’d win the vote of the Red State crowd and many of the Freepers, but they’d have lost just about everyone else.
Overall, I think puppet or no-puppet, the conservatives are screwed. And as I argued before, I’m fairly certain that the Republican Marketing Machine isn’t going to work without a puppet, so that’s probably the only kind the party will produce.