Whatever happened to Less Government?
Fellow Flacks, Hacks, and Dumpster Divers:
On the eve of this monumental expansion of government's reach into our lives - to the tune of a trillion bucks, I thought it might be time for some reflection.We have come a long way from those heady days in 1995 when a Conservative House of Representatives led the country to balanced budgets, a $155 billion budget surplus, and seeking every opportunity to shrink the size and scope of the federal government somewhere closer to the Constitutional parameters set out in our Founding Documents. It was the zenith of the movement of Ronald Reagan and William F.Buckley, Jr.; of Peter Viereck, and Russell Kirk.
Today, the Republican Party is rocketing toward mediocrity.
Since 2000, The Republicans led the way in creating the largest bureaucracy since FDR; the largest expansion of entitlements if not since the new Deal, then certainly Johnson's "Great Society"; to a projected budget deficit of one half trillion dollars (that's trillion, with a "T"). Ol' Everett Dirksen wasn't even close when he opined: "A million here, a million there; pretty soon we're talkin' big money" . Anymore, a million dollars is a "round up error" to these guys.
The Conservatives in Congress, and I regret there are so few left (perhaps 30 or so true Movement Conservatives), have been largely marginalized. The legacy of Ronald Reagan, the leadership of Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, the new ideas and fresh thinking of the RSC, are all just a fond memory of a time long ago when Republicans actually acted like Republicans, and Conservative ideology defined the parameters of the debate. Most Republicans can only be distinguished from their Democrat colleagues by their vote for Speaker.
Not that I can completely blame my malaise on the failure of the Republican Majority in the first years of this century at the feet of George W. Bush, he certainly had willing acolytes in both Chambers down Pennsylvania Avenue, but leadership does lead. The fact that the Congress didn't stand up and say "oops, wrong way" and redirect the ship back on course is also disappointing. To be fair, this Administration has faced some difficult and unprecedented challenges. Yet, I cannot but somehow believe that our conservative principles would have better addressed these challenges than a rush to infuse the federal leviathan with with even more nourishment.
The future is, well, "the future" and i do not know what lies across that horizon. I hope that better days are ahead for the Conservative Movement. Yet, I fear, there will be many dark days ahead before it is once again "Morning in America."