The liberal Washington Monthly, has put together a symposium of articles by prominent conservative (and two libertarian) commentators who argue that both the country and the conservative movement will be better off with a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives this November. More surprisingly, National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg is flirting with endorsing the same conclusion.
I agree with many of the arguments, particularly those made by Bruce Fein and Bruce Bartlett. To my mind, the two most important considerations are that 1) the GOP must suffer some electoral punishment for its big spending, big government ways of the last five years, and for the mishandling of Iraq's reconstruction, and 2) divided government may help check some of the worst impulses of both parties (as many of the Washington Monthly contributors argue). The latter point is well put by former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough in his Washington Monthly piece:
During the 1990s, conservative Republicans and the Clinton White House somehow managed to balance the budget while winning two wars, reforming welfare, and conducting an awesome impeachment trial focused on oral sex and a stained Gap dress.
The fact that both parties hated each another was healthy for our republic’s bottom line. A Democratic president who hates a Republican appropriations chairman is less likely to sign off on funding for the Midland Maggot Festival being held in the chairman’s home district. Soon, budget negotiations become nasty, brutish, and short and devolve into the legislative equivalent of Detroit, where only the strong survive.
But in Bush’s Washington, the capital is a much clubbier place where everyone in the White House knows someone on the Hill who worked with the Old Man, summered in Maine, or pledged DKE at Yale. The result? Chummy relationships, no vetoes, and record-breaking debts.
With a Democratic House and GOP Senate (the likely result of this fall's election), the Republicans will get a well-deserved spanking, while the Democrats will be unable to enact the more dangerous parts of their own agenda. Also, a Democratic House would not be able to block Bush's judicial appointments, to my mind a rare bright spot in this administration.
Steve Bainbridge writes that the "Republicans deserve to lose, but the Democrats don't deserve to win." I agree completely. And a Democratic takeover of the House coupled with continued GOP control of the Senate and White House is a good way to inflict a defeat on the Republicans without giving the Democrats a complete victory.