Rove quits

Who cares? This is my first reaction. All the focus in the US now is not on Bush, but on who might replace him next year (my opinions on that issue is that it is too early to tell, but it looks likely that Hillary will get the Democratic nomination, while the Republican nomination is still up for grabs).

The ideas of creating a pernament Republican majority were delusional. There is one simple reason for this. If public opinion moves to the side the governing party is on, the opposition party will move itself to the center in order to remain competitive. Thus while the political spectrum can be moved around. You will never get a pernament majority for any party in a Western democracy. Secondly, voters do like changes, and get tired of the same old guys if they stay for too long, as Clark and Howard are both finding (to their cost).

Today Bush enjoys the lowest presidential approval ratings are amongst the lowest in history for a US President, the Democrats have taken control of both houses of congress, and there are wide expectations of the Democrats taking the presidency in 2008 (something I wouldn’t count on, although both Obama and Hillary are strong candidates). A large part of this is due to Iraq (and in my view Bush gets an unfair amount of blame for America’s failings in Iraq, as he doesn’t run the war on a day to day basis, and has limited control of what happens in Iraq). Bush’s presidency would be very different had Iraq never happened. But a large part of the unpopularity falls squarly on Bush, for promoting people based on ideological beliefs, not competence (a form of cronyism), the oxymoroinic “big government conservatism” ideology, and hyper-partianship. The lessons to be learned (aside from Iraq, and I hope the experience of iraq doesn’t make the US return to isolationism) for a future conservative government is be modest, don’t try and radically reform society and scare those centrist votes, try and hold the center ground, and reject the politics of trying to divide people against each other (i.e. be a uniter, not a divider), go only as far on social issues as public opinion will allow, and reject corruption and cronyism in all forms (not only because it helps in the long term politically, but also is good for the country). Hopefully next time there is a Republican president, he (or she) will be politically wiser and more cautious than Bush.

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