Brad DeLong has been doing a very very good line in posts directed at “Republican Grownups”. Although something of an endangered species, recent events prove that they are not in fact mythical beasts.
But Brad's latest, It's Not too Late for the Grownup Republicans demonstrates why, while he's a great economist, he'd be miscast as a political scientist:
It’s not too late for the grownup Republicans to act. There’s
still time for the House and Senate Republican caucuses to go to Bush
and force his and Cheney’s resignations. Then Hastert and Stevens can
decline the job, and the presidential succession passes to Colin
This then gets us a president who:
- is a Republican.
- certainly does not have a smaller chance of winning in November than George W. Bush.
- would in all probability be good at the job.
It’s what would have already happened to any political leader in a
parliamentary system. It’s what the grownup Republicans owe the
country. And it may well be to the partisan political advantage of the
Republican Party to close down the current Clown Show as quickly as
On the one hand, yes, this would be an optimal solution for the nation, and probably for the Republicans (if you believe as I do that they look increasingly doooooooooooomed in the next election…although 'a week is a long time in politics' and the election is not next week).
On the other hand, while Brad's plan is good for the nation, it is so Not Going To Happen.
1. W is not a listening kind of guy. Any grownup who gets an audience with him will get the Wrath of W, not an attentive audience. And the Bush clan remembers its grudges.
2. Even if W goes, and even if Cheney passes up the chance to have the trappings of power as well as its reality, the chances that the hyper-ideological duo of Hastert and Stevens would (a) swallow all their personal ambition and (b) step aside for Traitor Powell (as they must surely see him) is so small we need a new number to describe it.
Of course, Brad knows this, so I suppose he's mostly jesting (and the part that isn't jest is wishful thinking), and by so doing demonstrating what a bind the dwindling band of mostly elderly Republican grownups find themselves in. Their choices are to sit back and do nothing, which is nearly criminal, or to commit party treason for which they will never be forgiven in their lifetimes.
Where are the Republican grownups? Mostly still in hiding.
PS. Why do I say this post shows why Brad isn't a political scientist? Because he bows in the direction of a parliamentary system. In fact, Parliamentary systems are like Republican-dominated government all the time. No checks and balances even on the good days. Yes, they can depose the irrational leader (e.g. the takedown of Thatcher). But that actually takes a very long time to happen. And parties in those systems often run awful leaders in elections (Michael Foot, William Hague, for example).
Meanwhile, the party majority votes in lockstep for fear of loss of preferment (poll tax!). No thanks.
UPDATE: Drezner has ideas, but they won't lead to results either…