The GOP-It's Not For Me
When it comes to spending in Congress, the only difference between the GOP now and the Dems then is who gets the money. I'm now firmly in the Andrew Sullivan camp on this. Both parties are now for large government, and fiscal conservatism as we know it is dead. Lewis Black once said that the Democrats are the party of No Ideas, and the Republicans are the Party of Bad Ideas. This statement was made in the late 90's, so we can forgive Mr. Black for thinking the Republicans had any ideas at the time. Currently, they haven't come up with anything new since 2000, and what they have proposed they've done a piss-poor job of selling. I wish they had some bad ideas. It would be a change of pace.
Nothing would please me more at this point than to see the Democrats take back the House and Senate in 2006. Why? Because it might wake the GOP up to the fact that their is something seriously wrong with their current governing phiosophy, and because I don't see the Democrats doing any worse when it comes to handling our money. Since 2001, the size of the federal government has risen 33%. That same study shows a budget deficit of $873 Billion by 2015. That, fellow conservatives, is unnaceptable for a "conservative" President and a "conservative" Congress. I want to vomit reading that. So I'm going to add my voice to the debate on Conservatism that Peggy Noonan has suggested. Here are some ideas.
The President rightly campaigned to fix Social Security so that the next generation won't have to pay for this one. Well I'm proposing a freeze on any tax cuts, ESPECIALLY the Estate Tax, for the time being. You don't cut taxes and increase spending. The idea behind the Reagan Revolution was to cut taxes AND spending. I'd love lower taxes, but guess what: the Republican Congress SPENT any other tax cuts we might get. It's already gone. So for the next few years, expect higher taxes because your money is theoretically gone anyway.
It's also time for some spending cuts. The new blog-project Porkbusters is a good idea, but they've only found $13 Billion to cut so far. Talk to me when they find $100 Billion or so. $13 Billion is nothing, a drop in the bucket. We have to start seriously cutting government by first doing away with the Department of Homeland Security. It was a bad, bad, bad idea, and the failure of FEMA proves once again that creating new govenrment agencies is not the way to streamline government or make it more efficient. Take a look at the DHS orginizational chart. It's awful. So erase the whole mess, go back to the way it was set up before. The only real change needed after 9/11 was a renewed focus on the middle east by the CIA, greater information sharing between agencies, and some new law enforcement tools. The PATRIOT Act has probably done more to combat terrorism than the whole DHS every will. Bush was right to oppose it to begin with, then he bowed to public pressure. Time to right a wrong, Mr. President.
The Republicans used to talk about doing away with the Dept. of Education as well. It too is a bloated wasteland of inefficency. The "initiatives" section of the Department should be cut, wholesale. Some programs, such as Federal Student Aid could be transferred to Treasury, the Office for Civil Rights is redundant when there are federal agencies that do that already, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools office should be disbanded, etc. etc. Killing off the Department would eliminate untold ammounts of bureaucracy and probably make schooling in the US better. A double win!
The point is that Conservatism in America, at least the Conservatism I encounterd when I first became politically aware, was for smaller government and lower taxes. I think it still can be, or at least it can be rebuilt into something Barry Goldwater might recognize. However, Conservatives face a tough choice: Do we stick by the Republicans, hoping things get better? Or is it time to start a third party, maybe absorb some libertarians, create a party that does not bow too much to the religious minority "conservatives", who are not really conservatives but traditionalists who would do the Republic greater harm than a San Fransisco judge ever could?
For me, well, I don't trust the GOP anymore. I say, screw 'em. The President has lost my faith, completely. And I worked to reelect him, and I beleived a lot of what he said, which makes this even harder for me. As much as I desperately want Iraq to succeed, if the upcoming vote on the Consitution in Iraq fails, it will mark our ultimate failure there. Speaking to guys I know who spent time there feel a failed vote will lead to a civil war, which they also feel is kind of going on already. Of course, it might pass, though as this point, anything is possible. I believe that this was not inevitable, that we could have gotten most of it right. That the Bush administration has been so monstrously incompetent in so many areas is both simply shocking and the only consistent thing about the occupation in Iraq. Only the Afghans seem to have gotten things right. Perhaps it's because ethnic hatred is far rarer amongst them then in Iraq, or perhaps we had our best people there. Either way, if Iraq is lost, it will not be because of the soldiers, but the White House and the DoD, for not planning for the occupation. I say, we reclaim the title of Classical Liberal for our new movement, and let the left take it's true title- "progressive". Classical Liberalism, which championed smaller government and personal freedoms, is closer to what I wanted out of the GOP in the first place. American Liberalism is watered-down progressivism, sort of socialist-light, and one only needs to read the Huffington Post to see it's ideas aren't going anywhere. Let them have that label. I'm sick of supporting a corrupt congress and a President who is fearfully out of touch. They have ruined the term conservative. They have shamed Ronald Reagan while plastering his name everywhere. They are simply out of control. I want out, though certainly not off to the Dems. Is anyone coming with me?
(Edit: Truth be told, Bush lost me forever when he said Intelligent Design should be tought in schools. The rest has just been steam building up until I ruptured)