New York

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It’s starve-the-beast payoff time.

Some commentators have been observing that conservative activists they’ve talked to have said that if Bush won, it would be time for a civil war on the right: that they would hold the Bushies’ feet to the fire on his reckless spending.

At first I rejoiced at the thought as the one saving grace of the victory: Republicans tearing each other apart.

Now I realize what a lose-lose situation this truly is. They’re not going to get rid of the tax cuts. And if the budget hawks “win,” or make progress on, their civil war, both government revenue and government services will be pared to the bone. But if they lose, and Bush keeps spending like that proverbial drunken sailor, government services will soon be on the verge of collapse.

Either way, I wonder when they’ll start getting rid of government departments.

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