November 3rd, 2006

Brad @ Burning Man

The Republicans Mean What They Say

In 1980, the late Ronald Reagan assembled the coalition that makes up the current Republican Party under one slogan: "Government is not the solution, government is the problem." Which, admittedly, after Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson wasn't the hardest case to make, since Lyndon Johnson made most of the same mistakes in Vietnam that Bush is making in Iraq right now. Bush's policy of pursuing huge federal spending programs without new taxes while the US is involved in a land war in Asia may well do to the US economy what Johnson's nearly identical "guns AND butter" policy did to it, namely, left us completely disarmed, dishonored, discredited, helpless, and broke, leading to the near collapse of the US economy and imposed economic sanctions from OPEC. So it's not that incredible to believe that when Reagan said that government couldn't possibly do anything right, that any tax money sent to politicians that isn't stolen will be wasted, that there are no such thing as competent politicians or competent government employees, that politicians can't help being influenced by corrupt lobbyists, and that any attempt by government to do anything will create problems instead of solving them, the American people were somewhat receptive to the argument. Republican Party attempts to undo the progressive income tax system, to eliminate all taxes on the only people able to afford to pay them, are there specifically for the reason that Republicans want the whole idea of the US having any kind of government, whether local or state or federal, to be rendered laughable or at best moot. As Republican strategist Grover Norquist is famous for having said, they want to shrink the government in size to the point where a single person could drown it in the bathtub, and given the fantastic job that Jimmy Carter did of discrediting the US government around the world, who could blame them?

But we've now seen what Republican rule looks like, and it demonstrates something interesting about the platform I just outlined. The Republicans have shown no inclination, let alone ability, to change any of the things they were complaining about. So may I make a suggestion of something for you to think about, between now and next Tuesday?

  • If someone says that government is the problem, not the solution, then if you elect them, government will cause problems instead of solving them.

  • If someone says that government can't do anything right, then if you elect them, they won't do anything right.

  • If someone says that any tax money you pay that isn't stolen will be wasted, then if you elect them, they will steal as much as they can and waste the rest.

  • If someone says that there are no competent politicians or government employees, then they are admitting that they are incompetent, and that if you elect them they will appoint only incompetent people.

  • If someone says that politicians can't help being corrupted by lobbyists, then they will seek out corrupt lobbyists and sell out to them.

  • If someone says that any attempt by the government to solve a problem will only create more problems, then they are admitting that they will not try to solve problems and that they will do nothing but create more problems.
That wasn't obvious to me, any more than it was to the rest of the voters, 26 years ago. 26 years ago, we thought that when they said these things, what they meant was "government by Democrats" was all of those things. But no, now that Republicans control the White House, majorities in both houses of Congress, six seats on the Supreme Court, and the majority of state governors' offices, I think we have seen the truth. They do not believe that those things are inevitable byproducts of Democratic Party rule. They believe that those things are inevitable byproducts of any government, including their own. And as a result, they're not even trying to do better.

This year, why not vote for the people who at least believe in the theoretical possibility of competence and honesty? We may fail occasionally, and have failed some times in the past. But at least we'll try, and that's more than you can say for the other guys. Please vote Democratic on November 7th. Thank you.
Meme Sheep

Actually, I didn't.

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Actually, I ignored most of high school, sat in the back and read. Auto-didact, indeed.
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