To all conservatives (and especially those in the Republican Party),
You probably enjoyed yesterday’s post quite a lot. You have probably enjoyed many of my posts so far. But that is because they have focused almost exclusively on economic issues.
The term conservative is far more difficult to define than liberal. Almost 25% of registered Democrats consider themselves to be conservatives. Then there are those in the Constitution Party who declare that they are the real conservatives. Of course, there is also the crowd that calls former President George W. Bush a liberal.
Who is a conservative? Is John McCain a conservative? Is George W. Bush? Is Ron Paul? Is Mitt Romney? Is Sarah Palin?
Does conservativism seek to maintain the status quo? Or, does it seek to return to the “good old days?”
Just as with liberals, there are a range of people who are considered conservatives. I am writing to the broadest range of them. This is much more difficult to do with conservatives than with liberals.
You claim to be the party of small, limited government. Yet, each Republican administration that has come to power following a Democratic administration has increased the size and scope of government by more than the Democratic administration preceding it. I have little doubt that if a Republican candidate were to defeat President Obama in 2012 or win in 2016, he or she would increase, rather than decrease the power of the federal government.
In the months after 9/11, President Bush’s approval ratings reached 90%. Did the Republican Party use its new political capital to eliminate wasteful programs? Did it use this power to create any committees to review proposals for the reform or elimination of Social Security, Medicare, or any other significant government program? No, in fact, you pushed for—and got—a large expansion of Medicare. The No Child Left Behind debacle which was an extremely expensive bill which was pushed by conservatives and Republicans and gave the Federal government much more power over education.
You claim to be the defenders of the Constitution. You rail against liberals for violating the 2nd and 10th Amendments. True, they do ignore those amendments. But you do your fair share of ignoring them too. President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was an unconstitutional violation of the 4th Amendment. And lets at least be consistent on the 4th Amendment. When President Bush and his team pushed for the monitoring of phones, you called it necessary for the protection of America. Yet, when Democrats and President Obama want similar powers over the internet, you cry foul. As if your defense of warrantless wiretapping didnt set this up.
And while we are on the Constitution, you have also ignored the 10th Amendment and used it for your own political purposes. Whether you support or oppose abortion, the federal government has no Constitutional basis for setting abortion policy. The same is true for gay marriage. The 10th Amendment gives this power to the States, where it belongs. This power was delegated to the States so that divisive social issues would not be played out on the national arena.
How can those who claim to support limited government continue to push for so much expanded power of the government? The simple answer here is that many of those who claim to be opposed to government control are actually only opposed when their side is not in control.
You claim to be the party which supports freedom. You claim to be the party of personal responsibility. Yet, you have prosecuted an endless war on drugs. Your policies have sent millions of your fellow citizens to prison for offenses which harmed no one but themselves. I know that the Democratic Party has not exactly come out in favor of legalization or decriminalization of drugs, but the Republican Party has been relentless in promoting the prosecution of drug offenders. [Plus, President Obama has made some great moves in this area. More on that in a future article.]
You rail against President Obama for supporting bailouts and stimulus, but remember that the first stimulus bill was passed last year and signed by President Bush. The TARP bill and several other bailouts, including that of AIG were all pushed through by President Bush. I know that many of you have been against these moves since the beginning, but plenty of you were not and did not take a stand until President Obama took office.
You have supported economic populism, creating and continuing policies which have contributed to the current financial crisis. Using the government’s power of regulations over financial companies to force banks to lend to those who couldnt afford to buy homes is exactly what caused this mess. Yes, this practice was made government policy under President Clinton, but Republicans controlled Congress then–and did for another 8 years.
You criticize the Democrats for supporting inefficient social welfare programs which you say infringe on the free market. Yet, you support corportate welfare. You have given American companies tax breaks to ship jobs overseas. Yes, outsourcing is a good, natural step that our economy needs to take, but the government should never subsidize private companies, especially for the purpose of eliminating American jobs.
Previously, I wrote that I found “it ironic that the same people who criticized President Bush for every little thing that he did–whether it was right, wrong, or unimportant have now resorted to questioning the Patriotism of people like me for simply disagreeing with President Obama.” You conservatives probably loved that comment. But when did this start? Anyone who criticized the previous administration was criticized as unpatriotic, un-American, or was accused of being soft of terrorists. The medicine doesnt taste so great when you have to take it.
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