This article does a great job of explaining the reasons for George W. Bush’s successes in implementing his agenda. The secret: increasing Republican party control over the K Street lobbyists. The following paragraph sums up the ultimate goal of this approach:
For under the GOP plan, the medical insurance industry would gradually become a captive of Washington, living off the business steered to it by the government but dependent on its Beltway lobbyists–themselves Republican surrogates–to maintain this stream of wealth. Over time, private insurers would grow to resemble the defense sector: closely entwined with government, a revolving door for Republican officials, and vastly supportive, politically and financially, of the GOP. Republicans are thus engineering a tectonic political shift in two phases. First, move the party to K Street. Then move the government there, too.
Everything from the push to privatize Social Security, to Bush’s proposal to bid out 850,000 public sector jobs for competition from the private sector is explained by this strategy. In the case of the mutual fund industry:
Such a move, GOP operatives argued, would provide millions of new customers and potentially trillions of dollars to the mutual fund industry that would manage the private accounts. The profits earned would, of course, be shared with the GOP in the form of campaign contributions.
As for moving public sector jobs to the private sector, Confessore writes this:
And while doing so may or may not save taxpayers much money, it will divert taxpayer money out of the public sector and into private sector firms, where the GOP has a chance to steer contracts towards politically connected firms.
The brilliance of this strategy is that there will be a decreasing need to worry about a quid pro quo story showing up in the press. The lobbyists will already belong to the party in power, and will therefore exercise a lot more clout over the form of any legislation eventually proposed. It’s easy to foresee a state of affairs where most every piece of legislation will be written in whole or in part by lobbyists, in concert with executive and legislative branch members from the same political party. An all-powerful political machine replaces what currently passes for a “democratic republic”.
With a citizenry that barely votes at all, the Democratic party has little hope of reversing this trend at the ballot box. Because of the foolish bargain the Democratic party cut with the GOP to create “majority-minority” districts, the chances of a 1994-style resolution happening for the Democrats the way it did for Republicans is virtually nil. As a result, the “Republicanization” of K Street is quite likely to be permanent, dooming the Democratic party to permanent minority status and constantly increasing irrelevance. As bleak as the picture looks for the Democrats, a national third party would cease to even be a viable option in a world where the Republican party controls the lobbyists and all the branches of government. Current laws biased against third-party candidates appearing on ballots without surmounting absurd and arbitrary hurdles could only grow more biased.
The ultimate downside of this outcome for the United States is that laws will pass because they’re good for the lobbyists and the GOP, not because they’re good for the citizens of this country at large. While this was probably true to an extent already, the increasingly Republican tilt of K Street will make this effect even more and more pronounced.