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Arenít Republicans supposed to be anti-big government party?
The Union Leader, Manchester, NH ^ | August 5, 2003 | Stephen Moore

Posted on 08/05/2003 4:39:25 AM PDT by RJCogburn

IT PAINS ME to say this, but the Republicans in Washington seemingly have forgotten who they are and why voters sent them to the capital in the first place.

Even though we now have GOP control of the White House, the Senate and the House, the bloated $2.25 trillion federal government has grown more rapidly on President Bush’s watch than it did under Clinton.

What in the world is going on here? Aren’t the Republicans supposed to be the fiscally conscientious, anti-big government party?

I always thought so. I came of age politically during the Reagan era.

It was music to my libertarian ears when the Gipper declared unforgettably in 1980 that big government isn’t the solution to our nation’s problems; big government is the problem.

In the 1990s, I worked with Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey to draft the Contract With America and helped engineer the revolutionary Republican take over of Congress. Those were heady days for conservatives. We Republicans pledged that we would make government smaller and smarter, and we would abolish hundreds of federal agencies, bureaus and departments that are obsolete, ineffective and wasteful of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.

But the war on waste has been lost virtually without even firing a shot.

President Bush and Republicans have enacted the biggest education bill in history. The new $100 billion farm bill is the costliest ever, and gives many rich farmers $1 million in handouts. We just approved a $15 billion Africa aid bill and many Americans (especially those out of work) are wondering whether that money couldn’t be spent a lot more wisely here at home.

With this kind of budget restraint, who needs George McGovern and Tip O’Neill?

The Republicans are now working with Ted Kennedy on a Medicare prescription drug bill that is the biggest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ sat in the Oval Office. Excuse me, but I thought we Republicans wanted to get rid of the rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul income redistribution schemes of the Great Society.

The tentacles of the federal octopus have delved wider into every area of our lives and deeper into our pocket books than ever before. Fred Smith, the president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, says that new regulations on business have proliferated at a record pace under this Republican administration. The Cato Institute finds that Bush is the biggest spender in the White House since the bygone era when the Beatles were still banging out hit records. It wasn’t the tax cuts that caused the deficit to balloon to $450 billion this year. It was the runaway train of reckless federal spending.

Just last week the Republicans in the House approved a $10 million hike in the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts. That was one of the morally offensive give-away programs Republicans promised they would work to extinguish. Now they’re fattening its budget. It gets worse. Taxpayers are now subsidizing sexual pleasure by allowing Medicaid to pay for Viagra. And here’s the ultimate outrage: The Republican Congress had nearly doubled the budget of the hated tax collectors at the IRS.

There’s only one depressing explanation: The limited government party of Reagan has morphed into the big spending party of Rockefeller. So now we have two big government parties in Washington competing to see which can buy the most votes by passing out the most pork to the special interest groups who gorge themselves at the federal trough.

That’s awful news for aggrieved taxpayers and its embarrassing news to the apparent dying breed of old-fashioned anti-big government Reagan Republicans like me.

Perhaps conservatives need a new political rallying cry: Big government Republicans aren’t the solution; they are the problem.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: biggovernment; gop; stephenmoore
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I suppose some FReeper Bush supporters will focus on words in this piece like "libertarian", "CATO", and "Club for Growth".

Regardless of the source of the essay, though, the facts within are worthy of discussion.

1 posted on 08/05/2003 4:39:26 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn
You know why bother electing Republicans to Congress? I'd rather have Nancy Pelosi and the honest socialists run the show that the counterfeit liberals in the GOP who have the temerity to call themselves "conservatives!"
2 posted on 08/05/2003 4:43:03 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: RJCogburn
Voting boils down to social issues. Big government in pursuit of social policy is accepted as a given.
3 posted on 08/05/2003 4:43:45 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: RJCogburn; hellinahandcart
You know it. It is becoming pointless to even engage them in a discussion.
4 posted on 08/05/2003 4:48:24 AM PDT by sauropod (I don't have a blog and I'm not starting one...)
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To: sauropod
Big government helps drive liberal social policy.
5 posted on 08/05/2003 5:08:15 AM PDT by GunsareOK
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To: RJCogburn
"Even though we now have GOP control of the White House, the Senate and the House, the bloated $2.25 trillion federal government has grown more rapidly on President Bush’s watch than it did under Clinton."

Nevermind the FACT that President Bush had to clean up one Clinton mess after another (White House/Air Force 1 vandalism, Sept. 11th, War on Terrorism, Clinton economy). Don't let the facts interfere with your Bush bashing!

6 posted on 08/05/2003 5:16:18 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: RJCogburn
Sometimes I wonder if the Republicans think they got elected by mistake. That's why they are afraid to be conservative and end up acting like second rate leftists.

Or maybe they are just as authoritarian as the Left, seduced by the thought of power and "doing great things."
7 posted on 08/05/2003 5:16:47 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: RJCogburn
I suppose some FReeper Bush supporters will focus on words in this piece like "libertarian", "CATO....

To the fanatical Bushites, everyone who used to be friends are now enemies. Rush, Novack, Will, CATO, Pat and half the people on this board. Their new buddy is Bill Kristol, who they used to hate.

Wierdos.

No deeply held principles whatsoever. Their entire political philosophy is based on the support of a single man who governs as a full blown socialist.

8 posted on 08/05/2003 5:18:30 AM PDT by AAABEST
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To: RJCogburn
Sadly, the "voters who sent them to Washington" are the same voters who sent the previous crew of RATs there.

Just because the RATs became SO bloated and corrupt that the voters grew sick of them does not mean that the average voter no longer wants tons of free stuff from their now GOP representatives and senators.

The Congress is giving the People what they want.

9 posted on 08/05/2003 5:22:09 AM PDT by Jim Noble
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To: Destructor
Yeah... Giving Money to National Endowment of the Arts and working with Teddy on a prescription drug program (which will just drive the already outragous prices of drugs through the roof, for everyone)is 'cleaning' up Clintons messes?

But don't let the facts interfer with your party blindness. This you know, is exactly what the dems do when their guys screw up. Deny it, cover it up, pretend it doesn't matter. Shame on you.

Bush is NOT keeping his promise of why we sent him to washington... he is following the rosy road of "I know my base will be there no matter how socialist I become, and maybe I can get some minorities to vote for me too"
10 posted on 08/05/2003 5:23:44 AM PDT by LaraCroft ('Bout time)
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To: goldstategop
At least then you know who the bad guys are.

Odd how that less of the Democratic agenda was enacted when the Republicans were the minority opposition, isn't it?

11 posted on 08/05/2003 5:35:35 AM PDT by Eagle Eye (There ought to be a law against excessive legislation.)
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To: LaraCroft
If you will recall President Bush was the one that proposed cutting or eliminating funding to the National Endowment for the Arts. President Bush also proposed eliminating the Income Tax in favor of a Consumtion Tax (National Sales Tax). In both cases, the status quo junkies turned out in full force and raised hell! So, both proposals were abandoned.

As for this on-going lie about President Bush growing the government- what choice was there in the wake of Sept. 11th? Our nation was (and still is) vulnerable, so it was necessary to create a new government agency to oversee efforts to address the threat of terrorism. What other choice was there? Was President Bush supposed to ignore Sept. 11th like Clinton did?

Shame on you for believing all of these lies that are being put forth by the Liberal Dimocrats, and their Liberal-tarian counterparts!

12 posted on 08/05/2003 5:48:31 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: Destructor
Nevermind the FACT that President Bush had to clean up one Clinton mess after another (White House/Air Force 1 vandalism, Sept. 11th, War on Terrorism, Clinton economy).

Perhaps you might explain how...

The new $100 billion farm bill is the costliest ever, and gives many rich farmers $1 million in handouts.

cleans up any of the Clinton messes, of which there were disgustingly many.

13 posted on 08/05/2003 6:05:09 AM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: Destructor
Can you explain to me the connection between the multi-billion dollar "pills for granny" welfare program and the "war on terrorism"? Is Bush actively campaigning to pare back federal spending? You must be hearing different news reports from those I receive.
14 posted on 08/05/2003 6:05:20 AM PDT by reelfoot
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To: RJCogburn
They'll just concentrate on the social issues. Most people in America have precious little understanding of economics, and consequently don't actually believe that cutting taxes and spending is pro-growth. They just want government handouts for THEIR favorite cause. Most Republicans anymore are no more anti-big government than their Dem counterparts, they just want it spent on different things.
15 posted on 08/05/2003 6:08:15 AM PDT by austinTparty
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim, I know you argue eloquently that we need to change the governmental status quo by having Republican appointed judges and career bureaucrats.

Nevertheless, the cost, as examples in this essay point out, seems almost intolerably high.

"What else would you do?" is a question you ask and it is a good one and not easily, for me at least, answered.

I certainly would, even if continuing to support Republicans, spend a lot of time pointing out their failings as this essay does and as a lot of us should, otherwise how can we ever hope for or expect any better?
16 posted on 08/05/2003 6:12:41 AM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: Destructor
Liberaltarian. That's SOOOO original. Never heard that one before. Thought it up all by yourself, did you?
17 posted on 08/05/2003 6:14:19 AM PDT by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: Destructor
Nevermind the FACT that President Bush had to clean up one Clinton mess after another (White House/Air Force 1 vandalism, Sept. 11th, War on Terrorism, Clinton economy).
Which Clinton mess required increasing the budget for the Department of Labor by 65-70%?

Which Clinton mess required increasing the budget for the Department of Education by a similar percentage?

Which Clinton mess required $100 Billion in welfare payments to farmers?

Which Clinton mess requires $?? Trillions for a new prescription drug entitlement?

Yes, some of the increases were needed for national security, to fight the war on terrorism, and for other necessary expenditures to correct Clinton administration neglect. However, much of the discretionary domestic spending has been nothing but liberal welfare state expansion, and that expansion has been very rapid and huge under Bush and a Republican controlled Congress and Senate.

18 posted on 08/05/2003 6:19:48 AM PDT by cc2k
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To: RJCogburn
> Republicans....have forgotten who they are and why voters sent them to the capital

> buy the most votes by passing out the most pork to the special interest groups

The problem can be summed up by a statement I heard by ex-Representative Lindsey Grahm after being elected Senator. Appearing on a cable news show they started off congratulating him on becoming a Senator. His responce - "It's a wonderful career."

There you have it. There are such personal benefit in being a career pol that these guys will do anything to remain in the action.

19 posted on 08/05/2003 6:27:59 AM PDT by u-89
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To: AAABEST
....you've hit the nail right on the head!
20 posted on 08/05/2003 6:31:27 AM PDT by taxed2death (A few billion here, a few trillion there...we're all friends right?)
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