What I think of the Bush administration, part 2

Brad DeLong asks the question I have asked many times since 1995: Where are the grownups in the Republican Party?

I recently read Henry Fairlie’s 1978 book, The parties: Republicans and Democrats in this century, and Fairlie agrees with Hubert Humphrey that

Democrats seem to love government, while, I suspect, high-level Republicans too often really do not. For too many of them, service in Washington is nothing more than a break between two jobs in private industry, or banking or law, and the art of government is itself less appealing, less exciting than it is to Democrats. [pgs. 215-16]

(Again, that was in 1978, before the Reagan wing, with its slogan of “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”, took over.)

So I wonder (as does Fairlie) if a main reason for the many mediocre or failed Republican presidencies of the last 100 years — Taft, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Nixon, Ford, Bush 41, Bush 43 — is that Republicans since Theodore Roosevelt have had such contempt for government that they have never learned (and don’t see a point to learning) how to govern?

Or, as an alternate explanation, I wonder whether Republicans govern so poorly because the agencies and aims of the federal government have been created and determined almost exclusively by Democrats during the past 70 years?

One Response to “What I think of the Bush administration, part 2”

  1. Harry Says:

    or that Republican administrations have intentionally run certain functions of government into the ground because of their belief that “government is the problem”. Certainly Reagan’s approach (and now GWB’s) to the EPA would seem to be that of people who despised it’s existence. The same would seem to be true of Interior.

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