Brad Harrington: The Republicans, it seems, often cannot do anything right — and, now, we are hearing that directly from the mouth of no less an authority than the chairman of the Republican National Committee himself.
“A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom and controls—with no principles, rules or theories to define either. Since the introduction of controls necessitates and leads to further controls, it is an unstable, explosive mixture which, ultimately, has to repeal the controls or collapse into dictatorship.”
— Ayn Rand, “The New Fascism: Rule By Consensus,” 1965
The Republicans, it seems, often cannot do anything right — and, now, we are hearing that directly from the mouth of no less an authority than the chairman of the Republican National Committee himself: Michael Steele, in his new book, “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda,” is convinced that Republicans have “screwed up” for the most part since Ronald Reagan was president.
Well, there’s certainly no doubt of that. From Bush senior’s violation of his now-famous “Read my lips: no new taxes“ pledge to Bush junior’s bogus “weapons of mass destruction” invasion of Iraq, the Republicans have presided over, and been directly responsible for, some of the most explosive and imperialistic growth of government in history — while, it should be added, enjoying a majority in both houses of Congress from 2003 through 2007.
As opposed to this kind of nonsense, Steele states, “We must return to the principles of the Founders, principles of small government, economic freedom, lower taxes and renewed commitment to personal responsibility for oneself and one's family.”
To “return” to somewhere, however, strongly implies that one was there at an earlier point in time. When have the Republicans, as a party, ever advocated such principles? Was it in 1953, when the Eisenhower administration decided to enlarge Social Security and create the Department of Health, Education and Welfare? Or was it in 1965, when 83 Republican congressmen voted for socialized senior medicine, aka Medicare? Or was it in 1971, when the Nixon administration decided to impose wage and price controls?
Nor was Ronald Reagan himself a very potent advocate of such principles: In 1980, for instance, Reagan campaigned on the promises to abolish both of Jimmy Carter’s creations of the departments of Education and Energy; yet, over an eight-year term, it never happened. Hardly what I’d call the promotion of “small government.”
And, also in 1980, Reagan promised to balance the budget within three years, which had a $73 billion deficit at that time. Balanced by 1983? I don’t think so—we were saddled with a deficit nearly triple that, at $207 billion, instead. Hardly what I’d call the implementation of “economic freedom” or a “return to the principles of the Founders.”
Not to say, of course, that I didn’t like Reagan, because I did; he was much preferable to the Democratic looters Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, and there is no doubt that if Carter had been re-elected in 1980, or Mondale elected in 1984, the federal government would have grown even more pervasive and expensive. Tax and spend, after all, is what Democratic looters do.
Slowing down federal growth, however, is not the same as cutting federal growth —a nd, to this very day, so-called “conservative” Republican looters still do not seem to understand the difference. Is it any wonder they continue to lose the confidence of America’s voting public? Looting, by any other name, still drains the economy.
Yes, Mr. Steele, there are major lessons to be learned here; but I would strongly suggest that the lessons be learned properly, for his party is on the verge of being swept aside by a groundswell of “tea bag” rebellion and revolution that is rapidly approaching a major flashpoint in this country and that hasn’t been seen since 1776. The fact of the matter is that it is the blatantly in-your-face and openly-socialist/fascist policies of the Obama administration and the 111th Congress that have done more for the resurrection of the idea of truly limited government than the efforts of all of the Republicans combined.
No, the real question for Republicans is this: not whether they will “return” to principles most of them have never advocated — but whether the highly significant portion of the American public that truly supports constitutionally-restrained government will dump the Republican Party mechanism in favor of a new party that actually practices what it preaches instead. For, when it comes to the Republican betrayal of individual liberty, be advised: they have been playing with ideological fire and they deserve being burned.
Bradley Harrington is a former Marine and a free-lance writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyo.