Hastert Delenda Est

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The Washington Monthly has a hell of a cover package this month: Seven well-known conservatives dump on the GOP majority and announce their support for a Democratic vote this fall. Former Congressman current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough rages, rages against the dying of the Right in terms that could have come from Reason Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie.

Compare Clinton's 3.4 percent growth rate to the spending orgy that has dominated Washington since Bush moved into town. With Republicans in charge of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, spending growth has averaged 10.4 percent per year. And the GOP's reckless record goes well beyond runaway defense costs. The federal education bureaucracy has exploded by 101 percent since Republicans started running Congress. Spending in the Justice Department over the same period has shot up 131 percent, the Commerce Department 82 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services 81 percent, the State Department 80 percent, the Department of Transportation 65 percent, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development 59 percent. Incredibly, the four bureaucracies once targeted for elimination by the GOP Congress–Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development–have enjoyed spending increases of an average of 85 percent.

It's enough to make economic conservatives long for the day when Marxists were running the White House.

The rest of the essays are interesting, but I'm disappointed the Monthly couldn't nail down a sitting Republican to diss the majority and pray for relief from Majority Leader Murtha. Earlier today I spoke with Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for an upcoming Reason package, and as much as I pressed him to come up with reasons for libertarians to pull the GOP lever, he accentuated the negative. I'd ask him to present a great policy that a new GOP majority might push through, and Flake would lean his head back, exhale, and say something like: "At this late date? Adjournment."

NEXT: Poker in the Front?

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  1. I think the Republican Party is a liberal plot. In two years, we’ll all be begging Hillary Clinton to lead a coup d’?tat of the White House.

  2. David – any word on whether Flake is running again this time around? Last I heard this was his last hurrah, but has he changed his mind, realising he’s one of the only fiscal conservatives in Congress?

    He’s not in my district, so I can’t vote for him anyway, but I am curious to know whether he’s done or not. (And yes, I can probably google it, but the last time I did, I didn’t really find a definitive answer.)

  3. He’s running again. I didn’t ask him, but I figure he’d be most excited to stick around the Congress if Republicans get beaten badly enough for John Boehner to face a leadership challenge. Flake wouldn’t run, but John Shadegg would probably run again, and stand a better chance of winning. And Flake would have a lot of influence, strategic and ideological, in a Shadegg-led party.

    Flake’s other hope would be for John McCain to run for president in 2008 and win; the open Arizona Senate seat would become highly winnable for him.

  4. The concept that Republicans are more fiscally responsible is, and has been, a myth. It was nothing but a battle cry while the Democrats had control of the purse.

    Being that the Republicans were not in control for something like 40 years, they could claim their anti-Democrat votes were part of their “fiscal conservative ideology” when in reality they were just voting against the Dems.

    Talk is cheap. You prove what your made of when your handed the ball. When the Republicans were handed the ball they proved what they really think about fiscal conservation. They don’t.

  5. I wonder how much of this is some sort of GOP-showing-its-true-colors explosion, or just the sort of thing that will naturally happen when one party controls both houses and the White House (esp. when the supposed opposition party is too scared to stand up against much of anything)?

    Yes, I suppose that assumes that the “fiscally conservative” label was a joke. But that’s no surprise.

  6. Bottom line: personality studies on politicians show that priority #1 is acquiring and maintaining power. The reason they spend like drunk bachelor partiers in Vegas is that the electorate wants Santa Congress to keep the gift train coming.

  7. Did anyone else find the linked Scarborough piece fairly amusing, or am I alone in that? His comment about the impeachment of Clinton and the politics of the ’90s was great.

  8. That Buckley piece was brutal.

    I wonder if Charles Krauthammer is going to accuse him of being mentally ill.

  9. Talk is cheap. You prove what your made of when your handed the ball. When the Republicans were handed the ball they proved what they really think about fiscal conservation. They don’t.

    So I suppose the budget showdown of 1995 was just an illusion? The Newt-led GOP tried to reduce the budget and failed, because of all the grief they got over the gubbimint shutdown and the loss of all those “essential services.” The American public clearly showed that they were more interested in pork and nanny statism than in responsible government.

    That put the DeLay-ites clearly in charge and hooked the GOP up quite firmly to the big government teat.

    I’m not saying that the GOP was every completely libertarian on the issue, but they were once much more legitimately interested in smaller government than they are now.

  10. Don’t worry, people — the Republicans will announce some more tax cuts just before Election Day, and libertarians will pull the GOP lever just like always.

  11. incontinent conservatism

    Haha, I’m going to start using that one.

    and libertarians will pull the GOP lever just like always.

    The funny thing about statements like that is that it only takes one libertarian not voting republican to prove it wrong. Let’s see if I can find one…hmmmm…Oh yeah, there’s me!

  12. SteveM, I found it amusing.

    “”So I suppose the budget showdown of 1995 was just an illusion?””

    The illustion might be that is was “for the country” instead of “anti-democrat”

    But I think your making a great case of what the Republicans can do when they are NOT in full control.

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Republicans are not immune, nor will they take the moral high road when given the keys to the country.

  13. But I think your making a great case of what the Republicans can do when they are NOT in full control.

    Actually, I’m gonna agree with you here. I think divided government would be a wonderful idea in the near-term and I hope that the Dems take over one or both chambers in November.

    However, here is where the problem is: By wishing for perpetually divided govt, we are essentially saying that the status quo is ok. In other words, divided government will never undo the New Deal, Great Society, and Nixonian mischief like the EPA and Legal Services Corp. etc., etc.

    As libertarians, are we really reduced to saying that we can live forever with the damage that has already been done to the concept of limited government? At some point, in order to achieve our goals, there has to be a govt. that is capable of getting stuff done.

  14. But I think your making a great case of what the Republicans can do when they are NOT in full control.

    Actually, I’m gonna agree with you here. I think divided government would be a wonderful idea in the near-term and I hope that the Dems take over one or both chambers in November.

    However, here is where the problem is: By wishing for perpetually divided govt, we are essentially saying that the status quo is ok. In other words, divided government will never undo the New Deal, Great Society, and Nixonian mischief like the EPA and Legal Services Corp. etc., etc.

    As libertarians, are we really reduced to saying that we can live forever with the damage that has already been done to the concept of limited government? At some point, in order to achieve our goals, there has to be a govt. that is capable of getting stuff done.

  15. I’m so profound I gotta say it TWICE! Good Gawd Y’all!! Take me to the bridge!

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