Friday, September 16, 2005

Mr. President, what happened to limited government?

Thomas Jefferson said, "That government is best which governs least."

This is the principle on which the Conservative revolution was built. It was the principle which made Ronald Reagan the greatest president of the 20th century. It was this principle that Americans voted for in droves in 1994, to sweep Republicans to a majority in the House and Senate for the first time in a generation. It was the principle which led a handful of freshmen Representatives in the House to reign in runaway spending and balance the budget, in spite of the efforts of a liberal president to expand government.

With liberals controlling the White House and Congress we expected government spending as a solution to every problem. Now we have a "conservative" president and solid Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. So what on earth has happened to the Conservative Revolution? Reduced taxes are only half of the equation. Without reduced spending, the whole thing fails to work. Five years into the Bush presidency, why is spending up sharply in nearly every category? The budget deficit is not caused by Bush's tax cuts. It is caused by Bush's failure to control spending. Nothing fundamental has changed. The government still acts as a nanny state, throwing federal tax money at every problem and subsidizing irresponsible behavior instead of promoting independence, self-reliance, and accountability. Nothing illustrates this better than the response to Hurricane Katrina. People seriously expected that the government would be there to fix everything within 24 hours of the storm. When these expectations were not met, they became angry and disillusioned, and blamed President Bush for failing to meet these unrealistic expectations. This response should be expected from those who have been conditioned to be wards of the State and dependent on government to meet their every need. However, there is no excuse for politicians, up to and including the president, accepting this response as valid, rather than pointing out that throwing huge amounts of federal money at the problem may not be the best solution. In five years, Bush has done nothing to change this mode of thinking. Entitlement spending and the resulting dependency has only grown in those five years.

Conservatives should be enraged that this great opportunity is being wasted. It is time to take action to get the Conservative Revolution back on track and on message. Write letters. Make phone calls. Contact the White House, Congress, and your newspaper editorial board. Let our elected officials know that they need to get spending under control or face the repercussions at the ballot box next year.


Michael said...

Part of the problem is that this President never really embraced Conservative values in the first place.

Smaller government? Homeland security and PATRIOT pretty much sank that.

Fiscal responsibility? This President has spent more on domestic programs than any Democrat while cutting taxes, running up huge deficits as a result.

I'm still not sure how the Iraq war figures in; there are Conservatives on both sides of that issue.

In fact, the only kind of Conservativism that this President seems to maintain is religious and cultural. In everything else he seems more partisan than principled.

Don Dodson said...

Actually, Bush campaigned as a fiscal conservative, and started out his term as a strong fiscal conservative. However, he stayed true to that principle only until September 10, 2001.