Friday, November 11, 2005

Preventing Republican Suicide

Predictably, the Congressional conservative undermining of the president has encouraged Republican Congressional lefties to do the same, with dire consequences for the US economy and their re-election. The president needs to get out the 2x4 to get them all back into line.

Karl Rove is worried, he's still chiding the conservatives about Miers:

"If you like every one of the 200 judges that we have sent forth to the U.S. Congress to be approved in the last three years, there hasn't been one of them who hasn't been researched, vetted, studied, analyzed or recommended by my friend Harriet Miers," the deputy White House chief of staff said in remarks to the Federalist Society.

Here's why he's worried.

House Republicans have nixed drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts (my emphasis):

A nearly two-decade effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling suffered a severe setback at the hands of moderate House Republicans just as Congress was about to deliver it to President Bush as his top energy priority.

GOP leaders scrapped the drilling plan in a search for just enough votes to pass another of Bush's priorities, a $51 billion deficit-reduction program cutting spending on food stamps, Medicaid, child support enforcement and other domestic programs through the rest of the decade. Also axed was another conservative priority, a plan allowing states to lift a moratorium on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

You have to wonder at the intelligence of these guys - they represent districts in New Hampshire, New York, Minnesota, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Washington and Montana. These all get really cold in the winter, and the WSJ estimates that the average US consumer will pay an extra $1,000 to pay for gas heating this winter - it'll be higher in these states.

Meanwhile, in the Senate (WSJ subscription, my ellipsis):

...Maine's (Republican Senator) Olympia Snowe helped to scuttle even a single-year extension of the current 15% tax rate on dividends and capital gains that is due to expire in 2008. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley was thus forced to postpone a committee vote on extending a tax cut that has been crucial to an economic rebound that since mid-2003 has been marked by 10-straight quarters of nearly 4% average growth.

My experience of revolts like this in business is that after a successful attack on the boss by one group, all the all the other interest groups pile on. Some companies go belly up from this, while others pull through, but only after the boss has terminated or cowed the insurgents. So if the Republicans are to form the majority after 2008, the president has to get really rough with these folks.