Wednesday, November 17, 2004

One-Man Rule?

Bush's replacements of Powell, Ashcroft and Paige with Rice, Gonzales and Spellings all show one thing: there is only one boss in this administration. In each case, the president has replaced someone with an independent political base (more true for Powell and Ashcroft than for Paige) with someone who is absolutely loyal to him. The same conclusion can be drawn from the turmoil at the CIA under Porter Goss. The executive branch is turning into an extension of one man's will -- Richard Nixon's dream of the "Administrative Presidency" is coming true. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- who elected the Foreign Service? -- but it does leap to one's attention.

There aren't many other obstacles to Bush anywhere else in the federal government. Congressional Republicans are united in support of the president; Arlen Specter got his chairmanship but he also got a clear message about the potential penalty for crossing the party leadership. House Democrats are impotent; Senate Democrats may filibuster but can do little else. Bush will continue to move the courts to the right.

Have we come as close to one-man rule since Lyndon Johnson in 1965? And LBJ had won the previous year's election with 61% -- 10 points higher than what W achieved this month. Plus the Democrats then had much larger margins in Congress than the Republicans enjoy now.

10 comments:

dillon said...

I agree with you right up until your last point. Technically you're quite right, Democrats did enjoy a large majority, but you can't really count the southern Democrats who were Democrats only because Abraham Lincoln was a Republican can you?

Believe me, those southern Democrats were about as Democrat as Zell Miller and Strom Thurmon. After Johnson forced through the Civil Rights Act of 64 and the Voting Rights Act of 65, they quickly defected to the Republicans, and good riddance.

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