The Blog

Intended Consequences

How the Fed, the economy, terrorism, and Ned Lamont are changing the political scene.

12:00 AM, Aug 15, 2006 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
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The fact that Connecticut is a small state cannot detract from the change the decision of its Democrat voters portends. Every congressman up for reelection in November who voted to support the war in Iraq is wondering whether he should be looking for a post with one of the many Washington lobbying firms that provide post-congressional employment for those with no desire to give up the town's posh eateries for the hominy-and-grits served in the hometown diner. The net result, Republicans privately admit, is likely to be Democrat control of the House and (possibly) of the Senate.

That would have a profound effect on domestic policy. Antiwar candidates lean left on domestic policy issues. They are unlikely to support Republican efforts to repeal the inheritance tax or to contain domestic spending. They are more likely to support a tightening of environmental rules and less inclined to allow drilling for oil and gas in offshore and Arctic areas. They are more likely to blame high gasoline prices on oil company conspiracies and less likely to favor relaxation of statutes setting corporate governance standards.

Bush and his Republican advisers have one hope: that last week's terror scare will awaken Americans to the fact that the nation is indeed engaged in what the president and Prime Minister Tony Blair quite correctly have been calling a war to preserve Western civilization. If that happens, the president will find himself blessed with a more conservative Congress, which would be good news for corporate America, desperate to have its research and development tax credit renewed, and the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley relaxed.

Irwin M. Stelzer is director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute, a columnist for the Sunday Times (London), a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard.