Cultural Foundations of Capitalism
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Why Have the Republicans Gotten Themselves into This Mess?

Admittedly, those Republicans who have tried to avert this diasaster for the Republic and for their party--people like Bruce Bartlett--are prophets who other Republicans do not honor. But why are there so few of them? And why don't Republicans honor them? Republicans Shaken by Bush Presidency: Albert R. Hunt: May 14 (Bloomberg) -- There's a number that chills Republicans: 616. That's how many days remain in the Bush administration. Private conversations with Republicans throughout America reveal doom and gloom about a politically paralyzed presidency and party. The on-the-record observations are almost as bleak. "There's a lot of nervousness up here," says U.S. Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois. "It's a very difficult time for Republicans." LaHood was one of 11 House Republicans who met with President George W. Bush this past week to tell him the party was in political peril.

"Unfortunately, the big issues will not be dealt with between now and the next election," says Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina.... [A]lmost two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Bush's job performance; that is Richard Nixon territory.... While the other major democracies have, or are about to have, new leaders, America is mired in a rudderless status quo.... [T]he two most important members of the Cabinet -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- have little history with the president, and their greatest leverage is the havoc that would be wrought if they left. Each has served in the administration for less than a year.

For a year and a half, there have been various rationalizations for Bush's second-term presidential problems, and guarantees that a solution is at hand. Josh Bolten, who replaced Andy Card as chief of staff, was supposed to refocus the administration; after Rove escaped the shadow of a special prosecutor, he and the president were going to be re-energized; when Don Rumsfeld, the face of the Iraq debacle, was fired, there was supposed to be a new start. Now, the dwindling band of Bush supporters have run out of fixes and are resigned to the contemporary assessments. Like Harry Truman, the patron saint of unpopular American politicians, Bush will be vindicated by history, they say....

Bill Cohen, a Republican who served as defense secretary under Clinton, thinks Bush blew what may have been his last opportunity by failing to embrace the bipartisan recommendations by the Jim Baker-Lee Hamilton-led Iraq Study Group.... Politically, there is a telling indicator: Count the number of times any Republican presidential candidate cites Bush in speeches, debates or interviews. You will need only one hand, if that.... Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin want the next president to move away from Bush's policies...