We ask you to consider the following:
We've debated politics with a friend for some time now over the issue of invading Iraq and its political impact. Our friend believes that the idea is for Bush/Rove to "get the ball rolling" on Iraq, but to delay any action until early 2004 - so that a likely military victory will boost the electoral prospects of Bush and Republicans. That the war talk in 2002 is designed to divert from the economy, and that after the election an 18-month delay - using the inspections as a mechanism - will ensue.
Sounds reasonable, but we have an alternate view.
We think that Rove has read The Emerging Democratic Majority (book
, New Republic article
), and talked to Larry Lindsay. The bottom line is that the economy will still be reeling from a post-bubble recession, and that demographic trends will make many close states in 2000 tilt Democratic the next time around. This leads Rove to conclude that reelection in 2004 is unlikely. So what to do? What would you
do if you were a conservative Republican?
Considering that the Senate is one vote away
from turning Republican, why not go for broke and get total Republican control of the government, even if it's only for two years? That way you can:
Make the tax cuts permanent.Cut more taxes.Grant leases for drilling/mining as fast as possible.Give big bucks to Faith-based outfits.Usher in as many conservative 41-year olds as possible (with no track records) as judges.Replace O'Connor and Rehnquist ASAP; hope Stevens or Ginsberg retire.Refashion Medicare and Social Security so that private businesses get a piece of the action.Minimize regulation of business and the environment. Allow big media to get even bigger.Generously fund missile defense so that the programs take on a life of their own.
Upon reflection, we think that the judicial appointees are the real prize being contended for. All you need is an expansive interpretation of the "taking clause" and government activity is severely constrained.
Sure, Rove would love to win in 2004, and will definitely give it the old college try - but a Bush/Republican win is no sure thing. We've said it before and we'll say it again: The big election is 2002
. That's why Iraq is being brought up now.