As Republicans revel in their victory in Wisconsin in stripping state workers’ collective bargaining rights and other Republican governors seek to duplicate Wisconsin’s power grab, what they perceive as the culmination of the “Reagan Revolution”, may instead be its twilight. It is an ironic moment since the radical right, which often casts itself as the only thing preventing the United States from repeating the fall of ancient Rome, has repeated one of Rome’s bigger strategic blunders and helped reunite the New Deal Coalition whose fracture was the sine qua non of the Reagan Revolution.
A recent Pew Research Center poll found that the one word Americans used most to describe President Bush was “incompetent.” While no compliment, the word fails to convey the condemnation warranted by the last eight years.
Months before the start of the Iraq War, President Bush was already a “war president”. This war was not about terrorism or democracy in the Middle East, but instead, as Vice President Cheney explained in pushing for tax cuts regardless of deficits, it was about getting “their due”. In this war, Bush could truly declare “mission accomplished.