Tuesday, May 09, 2006


As the Bush administration becomes odious even to its erstwhile ideological supporters, many conservatives are defecting. In a parliamentary system, the result would be a vote of no confidence and a new government. Our constitution prevents that sensible outcome. An American President is like a king, albeit a king with a legally established term of rule. Baring impeachment—an exceedingly unlikely event even if the Democrats regain the House—Bush will occupy the Whitehouse for more than two more years. Of course he might have better luck or try better policies in that period. He might follow the precedent set by Reagan, whose last years in office were rescued by a set of moderate Republicans. Bush, however, is not Reagan. The “new” people he is bringing on board are, if anything, even more ideological than their predecessors. Meanwhile, since the people who are leaving are more principled or at least more cautious than the ones who stay, the administration will probably become more erratic and incompetent. The tarry remains of the distillation will be characterized above all by blind loyalty. Not a comfortable prospect, especially since the better people are not just being driven out of political jobs. The CIA, the armed forces, the civil service, and the science advisory bodies are also affected.

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