Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Tacitus is critical of the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush administration, but denies that Democrats would be better:
Even if you reject this thesis and champion the idea of Clintonian economic supercompetency, you still face the burden of showing that this is a characteristic of the Democratic party as a whole, and not just a feature of one particular administration. Given the post-2002 election backlash within the Democratic party, in which the base elected Pelosi and repudiated the DLC, I'd have a hard time buying that.
Maybe the lesson here is that divided government governs best. Or maybe the lesson is that neither the current Republican nor the last Democratic presidents represented the true natures of their parties' fiscal proclivities.
He's half right. On the Democratic side, there is considerable disagreement on fiscal policy. There are those (usually including me) who support Clintonian budget surplus and limited spending, and those who support much bigger government, often without being willing to back the taxes to pay for it. There are also probably some who believe in their hearts that the Clinton positions are right, but are tired of the politically disadvantageous role of being the Daddy Party that says you can't have big government unless you're willing to pay the taxes for it.
But he's wrong about the Republicans. There is no meaningful split within the Republican party - it is now all fiscal recklessness, all the time. Out of the entire Republican US Senate, only McCain voted against the 2001 tax cuts. The Republicans who voted for those cuts knew quite well they were bringing back deficits and they didn't care - in fact, they rejected, again on a nearly straight party vote, a bill to make the cuts contingent on a continuing budget surplus.
Of course, the Republicans also talk a lot about cutting spending. But they aren't just talk; they're also doing something about spending - they're increasing it.
The Republican Party as the party of fiscal prudence is now history, like the Republicans as the party of southern blacks or the party of tariff protection.