Matthew Yglesias: What Not To Worry About: "what if the GOP of the post-TR era hadn't abandonned the Bull Moose's legacy and the Republicans, rather than the Democrats, had emerged as the dominant force of mid-twentieth century politics"
The whole thesis of the "Coming Perfect Storm" is that liberals and progressives are naturally led toward a worldview, where they half hope and half fear that the inevitable bad consequences of Bush policy come together to discredit President Moron. But, what if Bush does not reap that which he sows? Matthew Y, is young, and self-absorbed, and may not yet fully realize that politics does not reward virtue reliably.
Democrats, naturally, feel that, in Clinton and Bush II, we have a stark contrast between good President and bad, but, obviously, many voters do not necessarily see things the same way. Conservatives have their own narrative, however divorced from reality that narrative may be. Given the right sequence of events, the Republicans will pin the consequences of Bush policies onto the Democratic Party.
I fear that Rove thinks of Bush as a McKinley, who lived. It was McKinley, with Hanna as Rove, and the good luck of the Gold discoveries of the 90's, which created the Republican majority, which ruled the U.S., 1896 - 1932.
Clinton is Grover Cleveland in that drama, not T.R.
T.R. and progressivism were a phenomenon. T.R.'s greatest contribution was getting Woodrow Wilson elected. It was Wilson, a man of ideas, who got the major elements of the Progressive agenda enacted, and who laid the intellectual foundation for economic liberalism and for idealistic internationalism in foreign policy.
The thing the Democrats most need to fear is getting elected, BEFORE Republican policy reaps its necessary consequences. If Democrats could magically ascend to power, tomorrow, and then, immediately began reversing all the Republican craziness, the political consequences for Democrats would be catastrophic.
Republicans are pursuing the course of policy, which they are, because it is a course without immediate pain, but they are well aware of consequences. Over and over again, on issues as varied as Social Security and RealID, Bush and his Congressional allies propose policies, which will be go into effect only in 2009, and Democrats seem not to notice the implications. If Democrats return to power, only to withdraw in ignominy from Iraq, to raise taxes, to burst the housing bubble, and to devalue the dollar vis a vis the Chinese yuan, they will be hooverized, and out of power for a generation.
If Bush can get top out the Federal judiciary with a radically conservative, Federalist Society majority on the Supreme Court and most of the Circuit Courts, they can afford to lose in 2008. If they can manuver the Democrats into taking responsibility for withdrawing from Iraq, for raising taxes and cutting social benefits, for devaluing the dollar, etc., the Democratic Party might never recover.