Tuesday, November 23, 2004

With Sugar on Top: "Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted ... He lived happily ever after."

That quote is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But some conservatives are a little wary of fairy tales. Evan Coyne Maloney and The New York Post are worried that unchecked Republican power could produce the same arrogance and corruption that led to the government revolution we saw in 1994, only this time in reverse.

We've already seen it with Republicans tossing aside ethics rules. Tom DeLay could have lambasted Ronnie Earle and his political tactics while temporarily giving up his leadership position in the House, were he to be indicted, out of principle. Now it seems unlikely that DeLay will even be indicted, but the Republicans have already made it loud and clear that principle yields to power.

The Bush administration is famous for rewarding loyalty ahead of competence. And because of the loyalty oaths Bush's advisors must adhere to, there is little debate and discussion when it comes to major decisions. That's why military officers in Iraq are still waiting for more troops.

The problem is, power corrupts. That's just a fact of governance and humanity. Generally, the tug-o-war of power in a democratic society prevents corruption from getting out of hand. But every so often, power goes unchecked, and corruption grows like a flesh-eating bacterial infection -- as we saw with the Nixon administration and the Democrats' 50-year monopoly over Congress.

That's why it's all the more important for the Democratic Party to get their act together. Either the Republicans are going to screw up or something bad is going to happen that the public will blame on the Republicans. If the face of the Democratic Party is still the anti-war Left, then that faction could get be unduly promoted, or the public will continue to reject them, leaving the corruption in the Republican Party to continue to fester unimpeded.


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