Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Shed No Tears For The GOP

(With a few exceptions inserted into the text, the essay below closely reflects my sentiments. -John / Ad Orientem)

This election's stunning results are testament to Barack Obama's oratory, background, and skills as a politician. They also amount to a repudiation of today's Republican Party.

The rejection is richly deserved. Over the last eight years, Republican politicians increased the national debt by roughly 2.5 times, ran up what may be a multi-trillion dollar tab in an unnecessary war in Iraq, and spent hundreds of billions on a Wall Street bailout that seems to be doing little good. (I hate to say this but the so called bailout was probably a necessary evil. Things would be much worse if that had not passed.)

Then there was the debacle called Gitmo, a general disdain for basic principles of federalism, the warrantless wiretapping program and hostility to the rule of law, the ascent of so-called neoconservatives, and dizzying fiscal recklessness and government growth. In this decade alone, over 700,000 new pages of proposed or final federal regulations have appeared. (Can I have an AMEN please!)

President Bush can claim some successes, including his 2001 tax cuts (bad idea while we still were running a national debt), his sincere support for immigration reform, and his enthusiasm for free trade (with some protectionist lapses). He was on the right track with private accounts for Social Security and health savings too. (Another bad idea. If those accounts had been privatized they would have been murdered along with the rest of the stock market.)

But those stands can't make up for the rest of his party's policies, such as its enthusiasm for a war that has yielded infamous torture memos and caused the deaths of thousands of American troops and at least 88,000 Iraqi civilians.

If a Democrat had proposed many of the above ideas, Republicans would have yowled. Instead, they adopted them as part of the GOP platform.

No wonder we're not hearing about President-Elect John McCain today.

Perhaps this was an impossible election for any Republican to win. But it was McCain's position during the September debate over the bailout bill that seemed to doom his campaign.

In mid-September, both McCain and Obama enjoyed roughly even odds of winning. Then, after the Arizona senator signed onto the bailout, he slipped so far down he could never climb back. Republican pollster Frank Luntz says McCain could have been a "hero to tens of millions of hard-working middle-class voters who resent seeing their tax dollars handed over to fund the retirement packages of the Billionaire Boys Club." (I think it was less the bailout than the general collapse of the financial markets which precipitated the great awakening on the part of the American people to the realization that we are in serious trouble.)

From the Republicans' perspective, perhaps the best that can be said about their losses on Tuesday is that the GOP has been given a second chance to figure out what its principles are.

In a 1975 magazine interview, Ronald Reagan said: "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is."

Unfortunately, that describes concepts that today's Republicans have either discarded or forgotten. Neither the act of creating the U.S. Department of Homeland Security nor the choice to push for the No Child Left Behind law, to take just two examples, would jibe with Reagan's ideas of "less government interference" and "less centralized authority."

Neglect of those principles has created a dangerous situation in the U.S. Congress, where Democrats have just gained five Senate seats and are close to becoming a political monopoly.

Neither party is especially prudent on fiscal matters, of course. But the ability of either to exercise monopoly power in Washington, or something close to it, should worry anyone concerned about limits on government and worried about new taxes and harmful restrictions on free trade.

Divided government has its benefits. One calculation says the best times for the U.S. stock market -- a 20.2 percent stock market return and a 4 percent GDP increase -- happened under a Democratic president and a Republican Congress. Then there's the remarkable stock market boom after the 1994 mid-term election.

If the GOP can do some honest soul-searching and kick its big government addiction, it might get somewhere in the 2010 elections. Otherwise, we may have just witnessed the dawn of a long-lasting Democratic majority.

Too many Republicans have gotten away with talking up free markets, limited government, and the power of the individual, while quietly doing the opposite once elected. This year, at least, voters seemed to have figured that out.



Steve Hayes said...

Who does one believe?

Did Bush increase the US national debt or was it all smoke and mirrors as some claim?

Ad Orientem said...

Bush increased the debt. The excellent link you provided provides a damning indictment of spending policies under the GOP over the last eight years.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

There is a huge difference between "conservative" and "neo-conservative." The neo-cons, who hijacked the Republican Party, are no true conservatives at all; they are wolves in conservatives' clothing. It is they whom we repudiated in this election, thank heaven - not true conservatism.

Anonymous said...

All I hear from that diatribe is $$$$$$$$. What you failed to mention is the fact that now we that we have the precursor to Antichrist (perhaps the False Prophet) in the Oval Office, the not so silent holocaust of abortion will continue ad nauseum. He will sign into effect in the first 100 days of his being in office the Freedom of Choice Act. This in turn will overturn laws against the demonic practice of partial birth abortion (abortion at any stage of gestation is demonic let us not forget). Parents of teenagers who are pregnant will not have to be notified that their daughters will procure an abortion. We will probably see the overturning of the baby born alive act (imagine that, we had to have a baby born alive act) which in effect mandates that babies born alive after a botched abortion be kept alive and given emergency medical attention. Need I go on? I'm surprised that a priest like you thinks only of your pocket book.

Chris said...

This is very well articulated.

Ad Orientem said...

If all you got out of the essay is $$$$$ then I think you need to reread it. Invading a country that did not attack us and posed no threat to us and killing probably over 100,000 innocent people is not money. Ignoring the laws of the land when it suits him is not money. Suspending the writ of Habeus Corpus without authority is not money. Authorizing torture of prisoners both here and abroad is not money. I could go on but I think the point has been made.

I did not vote for President-elect Obama for many reasons chief among them being his support for unrestricted abortion which I concur is morally beyond the pale. However, I really do think we need to take a deep breath here and refrain from these sorts of histrionics. Your use of the various biblical pejoratives is way over the top.

Obama's moral compass is clearly out of wack. But you do not reinforce your case by hysterical rants which sound ludicrous to anyone even passably schooled in history and who can name true monsters that have run countries, even within the last century.

I am going to close with two suggestions First please read the guidelines for posting in the right side of the blog. And secondly please temper your language when expressing even strongly held disagreements with others. Like him or not, Barrack Obama has been lawfully and fairly elected to be the next President of the United States. The tendency among those on the political fringe (both right and left) to demonize those with whom we have strongly held disagreements is one of the more unfortunate developments in our modern culture.

For myself I intend as St. Paul commands us to do, to pray for him.

Yours in ICXC

Anonymous said...

Good reply to Anonymous.


Wordsmyth said...

Excellent post. Excellent repy to Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

In the first place, what you fail to realize good father is that the people who are warring with one another had the benefit of being of having parents who thought it worth while to bring them into the world because they had a right to life.

That you live in a free country where your right to voice your opinion is a result of those who had the benefit of being born into this world go over to enemy territory to fight to protect your right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Your right to life was honored by your parents. So, you benefit from the right to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness because of the people before us and also our contemporaries whose right to life was also honored by their parents. And they fight for you while you sit and pontificate about your pocket book. Shame on you. You have voted in a person who says that babies in their mothers' wombs do not have a right to life. Shame on you and everyone like you. You call yourself a priest, yet you deny by your very vote for Antichrist, the right to life of innocent babies.
Shame on you.

Ad Orientem said...

OK. I tried being polite about this but that seems to have failed so I will be a bit more direct. Please forgive me if the following offends you, but I must be frank, your above post is offensive to me.

1. I am not a priest. I am a layman. Perhaps you have me confused with Fr. David, an occasional contributor to this blog.

2. Your response ignores all of the points which I made in my previous response. You repeat the same claims which I refuted point by point.

3. I did NOT vote for Senator Obama as I have made clear on more occasions than I care to enumerate. Your claim that I voted him into office is patently false.

3. You have continued to ignore the comments policy which I have linked in the sidebar and which I specifically asked you to read before commenting again. Your decision to ignore my guidelines for comments by posting ad hominum attacks, which you are apparently afraid to attach your name to, does not reflect well on you and is at the least very discourteous.

4. I have asked you to cease your hysterical use of pejoratives and you have ignored that request, which I can only interpret as deliberate disrespect.

Since I apparently failed to communicate myself clearly in my previous post, let me attempt to remedy that. This is MY blog. Not yours. If you wish to post here, you WILL respect my rules. Otherwise post your screeds elsewhere.

Any further comments which ignore my guidelines will be deleted.

John / Ad Orientem
Blog Owner

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