I have a theory about the Bush administration abuses of power that are now, finally, coming to light. Ultimately, I believe, they were driven by rising income inequality.
Let me explain.
And 'splain he do!
The Republican Party's adherence to an outdated ideology leaves it with big problems. It can't offer domestic policies that respond to the public's real needs. So how can it win elections?
The answer, for a while, was a combination of distraction and disenfranchisement.
But distraction can only go so far. So the other tool was disenfranchisement: finding ways to keep poor people, who tend to vote for the party that might actually do something about inequality, out of the voting booth.
Remember that disenfranchisement in the form of the 2000 Florida "felon purge," which struck many legitimate voters from the rolls, put Mr. Bush in the White House in the first place. And disenfranchisement seems to be what much of the politicization of the Justice Department was about.
Several of the fired U.S. attorneys were under pressure to pursue allegations of voter fraud - a phrase that has become almost synonymous with "voting while black." Former staff members of the Justice Department's civil rights division say that they were repeatedly overruled when they objected to Republican actions, ranging from Georgia's voter ID law to Tom DeLay's Texas redistricting, that they believed would effectively disenfranchise African-American voters.
The good news is that all the G.O.P.'s abuses of power weren't enough to win the 2006 elections. And 2008 may be even harder for the Republicans, because the Democrats - who spent most of the Clinton years trying to reassure rich people and corporations that they weren't really populists - seem to be realizing that times have changed.
A week before the Republican candidates trooped to Palm Beach to declare their allegiance to tax cuts, the Democrats met to declare their commitment to universal health care. And it's hard to see what the G.O.P. can offer in response.
The public is wising up to the fact that the Repugs don't give a damn about anybody that can't line their pockets and keep them in power. Not only are they just plain mean-spirited, they're mostly stupid and incompetent as well.