Friday, June 03, 2005

The Incredible Shrinking Tent

Do you ever wonder what happen to fiscal conservatives? Did they just all drop dead? The Economist remind us of the day of Barry Goldwater, when conservatives still want less government. Why do we have more governments, it is especially ironic when a self-proclaimed conservative is in the White House, and we dominate both house of Congress.

As this Economist's article explains, the Global War on Terrorism is a poor excuse.

…The explanation among Republicans is the war on terror. Surely you need to spend more on defence when the country is under attack? Surely you need a stronger federal government when terrorists are trying to kill you? As the Cato Institute shows, this is tripe. Even if you strip out spending on defence and homeland security, Mr Bush still win the prize as the biggest booster of public spending for three decades... [Emphasis is mine]

There is a definite shift in conservative ideology when it comes to the government.
Ten years ago, the champions of conservatism were anti-government radicals such as Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. Today they are patronage-wallahs like Tom DeLay. The congressional Republican Party, once a brake on spending, is now an accelerator. Congress trimmed Mr Clinton's budgets by $57 billion in 1996-2001; in Mr Bush's first term, it added an extra $91 billion of domestic spending.
That is $148 billion in additional domestic spending. But it is not the issue that is being discussed among conservatives. What happen to the “Contract with America” when Newt Gingrich promised to balance the budget. Has the Conservative Revolution of 1994 become counter-revolution? Instead of fighting for smaller government, defense of marriage, abortion, and Terri Schiavo dominate conservative forum. Social conservatives have always been part of the conservative movement. They always had the fair share of attention, equal to that of other blocs. But today, their issues are the only issues that matter, all other priorities push aside. No, I am not anti-social conservatives. I am willing to support their agenda, but I expect them to push my agenda with equal zeal.

Why nobody seem to be upset about Republican defection on Social Security reform, but plenty of anger over judicial nominee. No one is screaming at the rising budget deficit. The Economist has a reminder.

One reason why Ronald Reagan had such an invigorating impact on his party is that he never allowed the Christian right to gain too much power at the expense of the Goldwater right. Messrs Bush and Rove may have to pay more attention to that balance if they are to realise their dream of turning the Republicans into America's permanent ruling party.

The requirement this day for Republican Presidential nominee is that he/she has to be a social conservative. I can live with that. My question is why fiscal conservatism is not also a prerequisite. As I said here before, I am really concern about the shrinking tent.


Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

People who use the label "conservative" to describe their politics place loyalty above truth and integrity.

If the GOP leadership tells them not to worry about deficit spending today's political "conservatives" go along.

You should be asking why they are so compliant.

2:03 PM  

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