Face/Off

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New at Reason: Republicans and Democrats are trading places. Does anybody care?

NEXT: Give Peace a Glance

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  1. excellent work Tim. Why is this so underreported? Why is it that Republicans just don’t care that they are now the party of Wilson, FDR and LBJ?

  2. How can you tell the evil party from stupid party?

    classic

  3. I think the disparity between Dem support for Kosovo and not Iraq comes from the fact that it was their boy signing the orders for Kosovo. They had no choice but to back the president. We all remember McDougal. Here, it’s not their boy, so presumably no action by Hussein short of an all-out nuclear assault would have been sufficient for them to go along with it. They have no choice but to oppose the president, because many of their voters are too dumb to realize that if Milosevic met the standard for Assholes Who Deserve the Hague, then saying that Hussein – who if I’m not mistaken remains the most prolific killer of Muslims in our time – was above the same standard just because Bush didn’t have The U.N. Rubber Stamp of Approved Aggression is a wholesale cop-out.

  4. I need a drink.

  5. This is not of course a new development. It is merely the latest exmample of the old problem of oppositional politics.

    When one is out of office, it is easy to come up with principles that those in power ignore in their drive to exert power or negotiate a “workable” compromise. But once one gets in office, then those principles seem less easy to put into action. At some point, one’s principles mutate completely. As Bucky Fuller put it in another context “yesterday’s vices become today’s virtues and vice versa vices virtues.”

    The classic form of this is to be FOR liberty when out of power, but to be FOR power when in power. We’ve seen this with Republicans many a time before. Only now, when the Republican leaders are so corrupt on so many levels, the mutation is complete.

    Thanks for addressing the most recent example of the principle.

  6. It’s really quite ingenious: The GOP’s spending programs will make them more popular than the Democrats, so the GOP will get an ironclad grip on power. But the soaring deficits will eventually mean that the entire budget is consumed by interest on the debt and we’ll have to cut spending.

    If all goes according to plan, the need for spending cuts will kick in right around the time when they get an ironclad grip on power. Then, when the government is bankrupt and there aren’t enough Democrats in office to mount a filibuster or anything of the sort, they’ll downsize the government.

    So, just keep voting for Republicans, and make sure to donate to their campaigns. They’re just handing out goodies so they can get the power necessary to drastically downsize the government. Give them 2/3 of each house of Congress, and enough guaranteed electoral votes so that they don’t need to worry about the Presidential elections anymore. Then they’ll fix everything.

    Trust them. They’re from the government and they’re here to help!

  7. I am not sure I agree with you, Thoreau. I say if Stalin were alive today he would be a republican, not a democrat.

  8. In congress they haven’t exactly “traded places”

    From: NTU.org
    http://www.ntu.org/news_room/press_releases/P0310ntuf_pp_145.php3

    House Democrats called for an average of $417.6 billion in new spending, nearly 13 times more than House Republicans ($32.3 billion). Annualized over 10 years this level of increases ($4.2 trillion) is over twice the size of the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 combined ($1.7 trillion).

    Despite this difference, both political parties in the House proposed agendas that were 7 times higher than their average 106th Congress totals. In the Senate, the spending sponsorship gap was only somewhat narrower ($150.9 billion/Democrats vs. $34.2 billion/Republicans).

    NTU’s sad conclusion:

    The results of sponsorship records during the 107th Congress show that there is indeed a difference between Republicans and Democrats: one party proposes bigger government, while the other party proposes much bigger government,” Brady concluded. “For taxpayers who prefer prudence to profligacy, reversing this trend will remain their top concern.

    There are some good Republicans, just 27 or 29 in the house, who are truly frugal. 9 in the senate. Check out the list at NTU.org. Thats damn few, and no Dems. make the list.

    We have got tell the GOP congress people; “Cut spending or live with out our votes.”

  9. rst,

    The Iranian mullahs and the Taleban were fairly prolific Muslim killers too.

  10. Ex,

    That some of us drop in here to bitch from time time does not necessarily invalidate or rule out the possiblilty that we are indeed trying to change the world.

    Sometimes a good bitch really helps the psyche

  11. Noname says, “With the interview last night on The late Show with that wacky libertarian, even Dr. Suess sounds better!”

    Who was interviewed? I actually went to sleep early last night so I could wake up and see my son off on a holiday trip — his first out-of-towner without his mom and me.

  12. joe,

    I’d say the Repugs were *marginally* less interventionist until Nixon. Eisenhower expressed some misgivings over the M-I complex, and Kennedy got elected demagoging on the missile gap. But they were a very close second ever since the decline of the “isolationist” winge in the late ’40s.

  13. I think the Iranians are still at it, no?

  14. The dynamic the GOPers are working under is fiendish. They fear that, if they didn’t pass an “education bill,” the Dems would pound on them as “anti-education” in the upcoming elections. The same thing goes for the Medicare “reform bill” and a ton of other stuff. One would hope that the traditional “stupid party” could at least have put in some reforms – such as school vouchers – that speak to market-based approaches. Instead, Bushie let Kennedy, which is to say, the teacher’s union, write that bill. With Medicare, the `phants are so scared of the Lincoln Chaffees of the world crossing the aisle and turning control of the Senate to the donkeys, that they decided to write a “me too, but less” Medicare bill. At least it has some competitive provisions, but the dates they kick in are so far in the future the Reps could lose both the House and Senate before they became realities, and the one-size-fits-all straitjacket could be lashed in place. Then we have ex-majority leader Lott, who, prevented by the willful operation of his own big mouth from ever being a national leader, has succumbed to his natural tendency to bring pork back to his state, ensuring a Byrd-like career, with, he hopes, similar longevity.

    Teddy’s opposition to the “Medicare reform bill” isn’t due to frugality. He is just peeved because Bush and the GOP may get credit for providing the “drug benefit,” and because the feeble start at consumer choice in provision of such welfare may actually take root someday. Given his druthers, those “free drugs” would be dispensed at government owned and operated facilities, not through the private sector.

    This is all eerily like how FDR encouraged companies to start offering health insurance as a fringe benefit in the first place. Under WWII price controls, giving a man a $50 a year raise was illegal without federal approval. Giving him an insurance policy purchased for $50 as a fringe was deemed legal. On top of that, the IRS decided that such benefits’ cash value wasn’t taxable. Employers who couldn’t compete for scarce labor by raising wages added fringe bennies instead.

    So the Republicans, spared the discipline of balanced budgets by dint of its being wartime, feel free to co-opt some of the Dems’ core issues, while lying to themselves that their versions of these projects will impoverish the country less than if the changes had been left for the next time the Democtats were to be in control.

    Kevin

  15. This reminds me a little of Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ where, at the end, they farm animals couldn’t tell the difference between the pigs and the humans…

    Is there a real difference between Dems and Repubs?

  16. This reminds me a little of Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ where, at the end, the farm animals couldn’t tell the difference between the pigs and the humans…

    Is there a real difference between Dems and Repubs?

  17. Speaking as one who is still young enough to know that he will be working for the rest of his life to pay for this BS I think it sucks.

    The next round of campaign finance reform should allow for direct purchasing of votes. It may open the door to widespread corruption but at least these assholes whould be buying votes with their own money and not mine.

  18. Amen StMack. I am going to vote democratic for the first time in my life, only to help split the power again, and maybe get some good old gridlock back.

  19. I would remind you split the power folks that the mid term elections handed Bush a majority in congress in spite of previous defections.

    What happens when Ted Kennedy gets what he wants and the Repubs can’t filibuster?

  20. “Kennedy, a senior himself, has of course learned the most damning fact of all about this bill: that it is widely supported by the Republicans and by President Bush.”

    This is the Kennedy who worked with the Republicans to pass health care portability? Who got all kissey face with Shrub on his education bill? There are very obvious philosophical differences between Kennedy and the Republicans on Medicare; to attribute his opposition to simple partisanship demonstrates a lack of perspective, and penchant for cheap shots, or both.

    Bad example.

  21. Can’t wait to vote for Dean in 2004. I too will vote for the first Democrat in my life. One reason only: we have got to get divided government back.

  22. The Orbital Mind Control Lasers are back!

  23. This is just Buchanan and Tullock at work. To believe that any party is really an idealistic or altruistic one ready to align with justice and truth is to believe in a benevolent leadership discounted since Hamilton, Madison, and Jay penned the federalist papers. I am with our friend above. I want divided government back to at least slow things, unfortunately, the weak-kneed, slimy Dean doesn’t really appeal. Could anyone even reasonably appealing jump in for the Dems?

  24. This is just Buchanan and Tullock at work. To believe that any party is really an idealistic or altruistic one ready to align with justice and truth is to believe in a benevolent leadership discounted since Hamilton, Madison, and Jay penned the federalist papers. I am with our friend above. I want divided government back to at least slow things, unfortunately, the weak-kneed, slimy Dean doesn’t really appeal. Could anyone even reasonably appealing jump in for the Dems?

  25. cloaked master,

    The Republicans have been the party of FDR ever since the ’50s, when their establishment abandoned the anti-interventionism of Taft for the national security state of Cold War liberalism. The Democrats still took first place in hawkishness and interventionism for another fifteen or twenty years (which party gave us Vietnam?), but since McGovern they’ve been the slightly less interventionist party.

    And at one time, it was liberals who viewed the moss-backed old “do-nothing Congress” as an obstacle to progress, and wanted to hand all power over to the executive as the “progressive” branch of government. It was conservatives who wanted to rein in the prerogatives of the presidency. But then Nixon came along, and that hypocritical old twat Art Schlesinger suddenly “discovered” the imperial presidency, and that party role was reversed too.

    To quote Robert Anton Wilson:

    “…When communism replaces fascism as the number one enemy, your small-town conservative will be ready for global adventures on a scale that would make the heads of poor Mr. Roosevelt’s liberals spin….
    “….Within thirty years, …anyone who attempts to restore power to the Congress will be cursed and vilified, not by liberals but by conservatives.”

  26. “(which party gave us Vietnam?)” Both. The Republican party stopped being isolationist while FDR was still in power. The level of agreement between the two parties on foreign policy from 1942 to 1966 or so was extraordinary. The Democrats may have held onto a reputation for being more hawkish because of Lend Lease and Pearl Harbor (which proved the isolationists wrong in the public mind), but on actual policy, there was very little difference. Which is why Republicans seeking to look “tough on communism” had to prove their bona fides in HUAC by making accusations of covert deeds, and nominating a war hero for president; there was really no daylight to exploit on actual foreign policy questions.

  27. The Republicans have been the party of FDR since Eisenhower, and Reagan made it official.

  28. So my question is, will people who have concluded that there really isn’t a dime’s difference between the parties (in the sense that each can successfully don the other’s costume), finally get the idea to vote Libertarian, or will the clamor begin anew for “a third party” which will ultimately go the way of the Reform Party, leaving us all holding the status quo bag?

    Maybe, with Seuss-hype practically everywhere these days, the Libertarians should rename themselves the Green Eggs and Ham party. That might encourage the public to give them a fair taste at the ballot box one of these election days.

  29. With the interview last night on The late Show with that wacky libertarian, even Dr. Suess sounds better!

  30. EMAIL: draime2000@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.enlargement-for-penis.com
    DATE: 01/26/2004 06:01:03
    Unusual ideas can make enemies.

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