Government Spending

3 Signs The Republicans Aren't Serious About Cutting The Size & Scope of Government When They Get Back in Office


You remember the late 20th-centry GOP, right? They were the rag-tag band of crazy dreamers who managed to take over Congress in 1994 and, with the help of a pliant but deft Democratic president, give us kinda-sorta balanced budgets within a few years. Then, when they got full control of the federal government, blew the doors off any semblance of spending, foreign policy, and regulatory constraint (yes, it's all true).

And, arguably worst of all, they took what even Democrats in the mid-'00s conceded was looking like a "permanent Republican majority" into a series of slam-dunk wins for the party of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and all the goddamn stupidity that that implies.

The best strategy in electoral politics is to let the other party drive the country into a ditch every once in a while. That way, you can take back the House or the Senate or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue without actually doing any serious work. And by fiddling while Rome burns and playing to useless side issues rather than putting forth a serious counter agenda.

With that in mind, here's three reasons why the Reps aren't serious about advancing any sort of real reform when they get in office. Keep in mind it's mere months before midterms when they just might take over one house of the gummint.

1. All this mosque madness. Sweet fancy Zardoz! Whatever else you can say about the Cordoba Initiative (not to be confused with the Chrysler Cordoba—and one wonders just what sort of Muslim triumphalism its seats of rich Corinthian leather were meant to symbolize), if this is where the leading lights of the GOP are flying like moths to a flame before the big election, you know they are ready to bullshit rather than cut spending. Gingrich, Palin, the Mighty Mitch McConnell, John Boehner: Don't you got something better to do?

2. Speaking of Boehner, what's the hell is going on with this 14th Amendment re-looking? The man who would be Speaker supports that. Yet the "anchor baby" argument against a long tradition (read: court-verified legal right) of birthright citizenship is crap on a stick. But more important, in nobody's universe other than the fevered, no-humidity nightmares of Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce and World's Toughest Sheriff Joe Arpaio can this issue be worth talking about. Word to the wise: When a Republican like Sen. Lindsay Graham is leading the charge on anything, slowly sneak out the back door when the forward movement begins.

3. Speaking of Boehner again, check out this transcript of his August 8 appearance on Meet The Press, where he doesn't really name a goddamned thing he would do to gut the spending that started on the GOP watch under Bush and then lifted off like an Apollo mission under Obama. The best he can do is to say not to spend whatever's leftover from the stimulus plan and not to put "the cart before the horse" when it comes to entitlement reform (because that, like, might piss off his constituents). And to raise in passing Rep. Paul Ryan's flawed but at least serious long-term budget reform plan that Boehner has made sure to distance himself from. On the same show, a more-plainspoken pol, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), put it this way:

You know that during the first six years of this decade, I spent most of my time fighting against runaway spending under Republicans.  I opposed No Child Left Behind, I opposed the Medicare prescription drug bill, I opposed the Wall Street bailout.

That's all great, until you reread the first part of that statement. Do we have any idea of what the GOP is going to do come fall? Other than talk about mosques, birthright citizenship, and what a sack of shit Obama is/was/will forever be?

It is a given that the Democrats have already stunk up the joint. What was good about Bill Clinton was that he was actually for things like free trade and welfare reform. He was genuinely pro-business (his income tax increases were paired with significant cuts in capital gains and other business rates). None of that can be said about today's Dems, especially Obama, who seems to have no firm ideas about anything than a BCS playoff system, which is about as central to America's future as whether or not a Muslim community center or an Islamic gay bar gets built on the sight of a destroyed Burlington Coat Factory outlet.

But what can be done—what should be done—about an ascendant national GOP that has had plenty of time to offer up alternatives on the things that matter most and instead farts around with the rankest sort of sham symbolic junk?

Hey, Ray Bradbury, I take it all back! We never should have left the moon. Is that window seat on the next shuttle to Alpha Base still available?

NEXT: Long Ago Life Was Clean, Sex Was Bad and Obscene

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  1. Threadjack:…..future.ars

    Music labels and radio broadcasters can’t agree on much … But the two sides can agree on this: Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics.

    Hat-tip to Kolohe.

    1. Wow, what a load of bullshit.

  2. The only thing the BCS needs to do is adopt an 8 team (using a combination of the current BCS poll and only selecting the top conference champions), 3 round format.

    The 8 teams play in the BCS bowl games, the 4 winners compete in a championship semi-final, and the 2 remaining go on to play for the championship.

    1. Of course, I’m concerned about having as fair a format a possible while also preserving the bowl games that are historically significant in FBS football.

      1. And if I can force the bowl games to end their contractual obligation to host certain conference champions, I’d also have a method for seeding the games.

      2. An eight team playoff would have seven games and there are currently only five BCS bowls. Moving to a playoff would allow for to more BCS bowl games.

        1. That’s “two more BCS bowl games”

          1. If we abandon the current stand-alone title game and play around with the historical bowl games (Orange, Sugar, Rose, and Fiesta) that means 4 games and 8 teams.

            1. Exactly. There are five BCS games right now: Orange, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, and the BCS National Championship. The historical bowl games should be the first round games. Create two new BCS bowl games to be the second round. Keep the BCS National Championship.

              1. I wouldn’t give the two second round games any special name other than “BCS National Championship Games 1 and 2.”

                1. Pardon,

                  “BCS National Championship Semi-Final Games 1 and 2.”

          2. Add the two semi-final games (which can rotate on a yearly basis between the four locations) and the national title game which already rotates between the four locations.

          3. I’d rather not have a system where a team can win two bowl trophies. Let them play for one and then proceed on to the national title game.

            1. Tournament winner != best team. Consider me anti-tourney.

              1. That’s true in the same way that a single-game winner != best team. Either decide it by the poll and don’t have a title game at all, or use a tournament.

                1. The interesting thing about the title game we have now is that it’s more monopolistic than the old “settled by the polls” method. Sure, before the installation of the Bowl Coalition/Alliance/Champions Series there bowl games didn’t have to be quality match-ups. But because the trophy didn’t have to go to the winner of a particular game, the opportunity was open to the entire Division. For example, take BYU in 1984 and TCU in 1938.

                2. And I’m saying this as an Alabama fan.

                  1. I thought you were Tommy’s wife until you said that….of course from what I’ve heard about Tommy, his wife may be a Bama fan.

                  2. Of course, plainly settling things by a post-season poll produced the 1966 and 1977 title controversies that Alabama fans remember.

            2. I don’t want to dilute the regular season with a 8 team tourny. Top 4 ranked teams get in…and they MUST win their respective conferences…strenght of schedule still matters a LOT!…if you make it 8 teams then out of conference scheduling would go to shit.

              1. Okay, but shouldn’t those 4 teams come from the winners of the bowl games?

                The main thing I would change as to how teams get into the BCS bowls is to open it up exclusively to conference champions. For example, that would mean that the 2003 issue of Oklahoma getting into the Sugar Bowl would’ve changed to USC getting a chance to compete in the Sugar Bowl.

                After the conclusion of the bowl games, you take the 4 winners and have the compete in a championship semi-final. Then, take the two remaining as the title game participants.

                1. And for any Sooners fans, I realize that Alabama got into the 2009 Sugar Bowl and the Florida Gators got into the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

      3. 1-A, not FBS. (Yes, I know that officially, the name’s been changed.)

    2. Scratch that. We need to get the AP back into the system. Historically, the champion was determined by whoever could bring home the AP and/or the Coaches’ trophies.

      Since ’92, the system has been been intended to reduce the incidence of a split championship by averaging the polls, but without the AP’s involvement we are likely to one day have another repeat of the ’03 and what’s turning out to be the ’04 season.

      1. Oh yeah, the ’97 season had a split championship but that was largely settled by getting the Rose Bowl to release the Pac-10/Big Ten to a national title game should the polls necessitate it.

        1. But with split championships, we get more winners. That should make everybody happier and prepare them for the future when we don’t get to keep score. That will come with Obama v. Phys Ed a landmark 7-2 ruling written by Sonia Sotomayor.

    3. Stop talking to yourself about irrelevant shit.

      1. There should be a coaches poll to determine whether the Cordoba House should be built in lower Manhattan or Gainesville.

      2. lol

  3. You can’t pander to debt. Debt votes against you every time. And eventually it will destroy them.

    1. “”You can’t pander to debt. “”

      You can pander to spending. Elect me I will do all these things for you. The voting public is pretty good at ignoring the fact that government action costs money.

      1. My point is, eventually debt will destroy them and there’s nothing they can do about it except stop spending.

        1. Stop spending is off the radar when it comes to politics. People want more from government, yet they want low taxes and lower debt. It can’t be had both ways.

          I’m coming the conclusion that we need a proper level of taxation so we don’t aquire debt. Yeah, yeah, that would be huge tax increases. But it might take sticker shock before people realize more government is a bad thing if you want to keep most of your income.

          1. gimme gimme gimme

  4. Senator Jim DeMint is pretty serious about cutting the size and scope of government. He is likely to get some help from the 2010 elections too.

  5. Did anyone think they were serious? There’s a reason the Tea Party keeps the GOP at arm’s length.

  6. Well, you have to admit – Bill Clinton is living proof that the penis is mightier than the gun.

  7. Does anyone else think that the tea party might (MIGHT!) just evolve – if it can drop all cultural issues which can be left to team red or blue- into a legitimate third party with a libertarian slant? Am I just on drugs to think that?

    1. Before the tea party could even, or even “drop all cultural issues,” it would have to organize. There is no single “tea party.” There are tea party groups that say exactly what you do, that it wants to drop all cultural issues. There are other people from whom opposing immigration, say, is a key part of why they’re mad.

      Given the primary system and the legal backing for the two parties, it’s easier to run candidates and capture primaries.

    2. I’m afraid you are. The American right can always be counted on to veer off course for the sake of some KULTURE WAR! bullshit. The only real question is whether they actually have the attention span of a raccoon, or whether they are craven demagogues who don’t have the balls to be serious about actual issues.

      1. Are raccoons known for a short attention span?

      2. They are known to be distracted by shiny objects.

      3. I love watching how the mainstream media eats up the “culture war” talking points with a spoon and shits it out for weeks and weeks as if it were news.

        Its like pretending I still care and the Kardashians……

    3. My feeling is that libertarians should be applauding the Tea Party and providing detailed suggestions for shrinking government. Jump in front of the parade and give some guidance.

      Instead, from what I read around here, there’s a lot of “GOP=Dems” condemnation and insistence on ideological purity and support for hugely unpopular positions (e.g. open borders). I’d suggest allying with a mass movement opposed to high taxes and deficit spending first, and worry about social and other divisive issues later.

      1. Libertarianism is all well and good but we are still white people (as in the SWPL).

      2. The other side of that argument is, “why can’t the Tea Party try endorsing a Libertarian candidate for once?” If they are truly non-partisan and driven by principle, then why do all the party-pols they endorse seem to have “R” after their names?

        1. Ever heard of Rand Paul? Libertarian and Republican aren’t mutually exclusive by law of nature.

          1. Rand Paul recently got headlines for trying to distance himself from libertarianism. And some of his positions makes libertarians nervous. Ron Paul runs as a Republican — perhaps the only member of the GOP, for whom I could vote, were he on my ballot. On the other hand, Massachusetts’ Scott Brown is not very libertarian at all, and the Tea Partiers fell all over themselves to endorse him, even to the point of asking the REAL libertarian in the race to replace Teddy — ironically named Kennedy (no relation) — to drop out so that their non-Libertarian guy could have clear field.

        2. The main problem is that in our political system, third-party candidates rarely win elections, so it usually makes sense to vote for the least obnoxious of the two big parties. And what Cytotoxic said.

          1. Yeah, I would believe that IF the Tea Partiers could endorse Libertarians just a few times, even if they went GOP most of the time. Going with principles, and all, and flexing their political muscle. But they don’t. So I think something else is going on, and I don’t trust it.

  8. Can we have Bill Clinton back so long as we don’t have to hear about how violent video games are training teens to become vicious killers?

    1. Um, no.

  9. 3 Signs The Republicans Aren’t Serious About Cutting The Size & Scope of Government When They Get Back in Office

    Shorter version:
    1) Newt Gingrich
    2) Mike Huckabee
    3) Joe Arpaio

    1. Though compared to the others, Gingrich’s actual record isn’t bad. He just likes being a political bomb thrower.

      Mike Pence is a good guy; like a lot of guys from the more libertarianish wing of the GOP, I believe he’s a Daniels supporter. (From IN, so naturally.)

      1. Gingrich’s actual record isn’t bad


        Charlie Crist
        DeDe Scozzafava
        Bob Bennett

        Nancy Pelosi on “climate change”

        1. I was referring to his record in office and actual policy.

          Endorsing incumbents or party nominees is not a disqualifying offense. That’s far from the worst thing you could say about him.

    2. And to be fair to Huck, he’s never positioned himself as a Norquistian drown it in a bathtub type; economic populism is a key part of his brand and he’s always worn the social-con aspect of his political philosophy on his sleeve.

      1. It is not the fact of what Huck says that bothers me so much, it is the fact that he is considered a serious contender for the GOP nomination (or was, until his recent fall from grace over his pardons.)

        As with Arpaio, it is not the (R) after his name that puts the lie to Republican ‘small government’ claims, it is the fact that so many other Team Red supporters would like him to be their 2012 standard-bearer.

        1. Unfortunately, Huckabee still leads the Iowa caucuses in polling as of yesterday.

          The silver lining is that this demonstrates that the pardons didn’t really hurt him. I didn’t think that they would, really.

      2. Huck was still advocating in the 90’s the quarantine of AIDS patience long after everyone but the assholes he preaches to knew you could not catch it from a sneeze.

        Fuck the Huckster. There is no reason any rational person should have a kind word for that motherfucker.

        1. There is no reason any rational person should have a kind word for that motherfucker.

          There is no reason any rational person should insist on being dishonest and denying reason about those small areas where Huckabee is correct. The pardon that made the news was certainly the correct decision at the time (approving the board’s unanimous recommendation for clemency in a case where the sentence was very out of line with similar cases), and despite hating most of his policies, I will insist on having a kind word for him there.

      3. Grok this hypothetical:

        Huckabbe with Lieberman as his VP candidate.

        All the truly evil aspects of team blue and team red glued together in one big ball of shit!

    3. What ever happen to Bobby Jindal?

      1. He spoke in public.

        1. Yes, because body language and voice is far more important in politics than policy, intelligence, or competence.

          1. He loves big government.

  10. Gingrich, Palin, the Mighty Mitch McConnell, John Boehner

    First, we book them all on the same flight…

  11. With that in mind, here’s three reasons why the Reps aren’t serious about advancing any sort of real reform when they get in office. Keep in mind it’s mere months before midterms when they just might take over one house of the gummint.

    I am hoping for gridlock.

    I don’t expect that most Republicans are “Serious About Cutting The Size & Scope of Government”. Maybe a few are – given recent evidence that there is increased opposition to high spending. But the whole “business-as-usual” inertia aspect of the party would take a while to change (if it ever changes).

    But if the Republicans take back at least one house of Congress, they don’t need to be committed to limiting government size/scope in principle: they merely need to be willing to engage in cynical partisan obstructionism. This would still be useful in limiting increases in spending and regulations.

    1. I would usually hope for the same thing, or at least for all the crazies on each side to balance each other out. However we could just get a repeat of Bush Jr, who never met a bad idea he didn’t like. TSA, Freedom Act, Prescription Drug Act, No Child Left Behind, the list goes on and on.

      Maybe if DeMint, Flake or one of those more sensible types had sway and pull with the ideas guiding the party, but instead we have Palin and the Tea Party and the GOP desperately trying to latch on to their message to co-opt the drive they’ll provide in the elections.

      1. Maybe if DeMint, Flake or one of those more sensible types had sway and pull with the ideas guiding the party, but instead we have Palin and the Tea Party

        You do realize that DeMint’s endorsing a lot of these self-described Tea Party challengers? I don’t think your dichotomy of “DeMint vs. the Tea Party” works. I think he has a better rate in endorsements winning than Palin.

      2. I believe NCLB had broad bipartisan support, and Medicare part D was passed when Republicans controlled Congress. And Bush vetoed almost nothing (absolutely nothing until his second term). This is unusual for a president, and there is no evidence that Obama will have this idiosyncrasy.

        Also, I am not sure what bill a Republican-controlled Congress would want to push through anyway – they don’t seem to have many Big Ideas at the moment.

    2. Gridlock is right.
      The three points Gillespie mentions are all reminders about how much the GOP sucks, but they should get some credit for their “obstructionism” with regard to Obama. If repubs win big, the wars will probably continue (as they have with complete Dem control), but there will at least be a stronger opposition to big programs and Pelosi won’t be running the show any more.

  12. Not much more to say.

    We’re dooooooooomed.

    C’mon, zombie plague.

  13. Like I said yesterday, the Republicans have not been in the wilderness long enough to learn any lessons.

    Defense and entitlements folks. That’s where the big bucks are. Does anyone see a GOP dominated influenced congress addressing those two issues? Will they even forbid Fannie, Freedie and the FHA from guaranteeing any new mortgages?

    I didn’t think so. We are sooooo fucked.

    1. Does anyone see a GOP dominated influenced congress addressing those two issues? Will they even forbid Fannie, Freedie and the FHA from guaranteeing any new mortgages?

      There’s a chance that the bill to raise FHA down payments from 3.5% to 5% would pass.

      Fannie and Freddie, it’s hard to say. The previous GOP Congress and GWB almost passed a pretty good Fannie and Freddie reform and wind down bill until the Fannie and Freddie lobbying machine (“affordable housing!”) got enough GOPers to switch sides. There’s at least a fair chance that with the new optics that it might be different. (I.e., Republicans have to “do something” on housing.)

      1. There’s a chance that the bill to raise FHA down payments from 3.5% to 5% would pass.

        We’re saved! Hallelujah!

        1. *shrug*

          It’s politics, it’s about marginal changes, and I’m being realistic if pessimistic. Fannie and Freddie are popular. Sure, the losses aren’t popular, but “keeping home prices up” (for the homeowners) and “helping people buy homes” (for non homeowners) sells really well, even if it’s an oxymoron to do both at the same time.

        2. As a sign of the times, Republicans did get 43 votes this May for the McCain Amendment to wind down Fannie and Freddie. Party-line, plus Feingold and Bayh.

          I so wish that the Democrats had nominated Feingold, for the sake of the country.

    2. the Republicans have not been in the wilderness long enough to learn any lessons

      House Republicans were in “the wilderness” for 40 years prior to the ’94 elections. What did they learn then?

      1. Are you seriously arguing that there was nothing attractive for a libertarian about 1994-1998 as policy goes?

        1. No. I’m seriously arguing that Republicanism, as practiced by our contemporaries, is intellectually corrupt and hypocritical, and ’94 was a mirage, a false hope, a disappointment.

          1. As opposed to the democrats, whose ideas are pure genius, are only formed with the best intentions, and who would never, EVER, make a hypocritical statement.

            1. Not “opposed” at all, silly goose. Both parties are intellectually bankrupt.

              1. I believe Leroy was being sarcastic.

          2. And yet it was better than the alternative.

            Doesn’t seem very rational to insist on refusing to deal with the world as it is.

  14. The government has announced – “Put up a Christmas tree, and you’ll get stoned for free!” – SHOCKING story is at:


    Peace! 🙂

    1. Pretty fucking lame. In fact the lameness of the not even sophmoric humor attemots almost overshadows the blatant bigotry.

    2. the Muslim holy month of Ramalama-Ding-Dong

      Christ, you suck.

      1. Sure puts the bomp in the bomp-bomp-bomp

      2. Make fun of their body odor or their crazy eyes but please no awful lame play on words.

  15. Power, and the increase in that power, is the only thing that politicians are interested in. Money is power. The only way to stop this merry-go-round is to stop giving them money. Repeal the 16th Amendment.

    1. You are dead right, rac. Maybe we should do it for them and start by only sending in 80% of what we “owe”.

  16. That outfit looks like it would have serious taint-bind

    1. To think he gave up James Bond for that.

      1. He must have nightmares about that costume.

      2. Yeah. He gave up the Bond films so he could become a serious actor.

        Personally, I think he should use his earnings from the Bond franchise to buy up and destroy every copy of Zardoz in existence.

        1. Objection! I like Zardoz. Any movie that starts with a pagan god saying, “The gun is good! The penis is evil!” deserves a place of honor for its artful weirdness.

          1. Zardoz will be on the Fox Movie Channel tonight at 10:00 PM ET, once next week, and then three times in September.

          2. Objection! I like Zardoz.

            Sorry to hear about your brain injury.

        2. buy up and destroy every copy of Zardoz in existence

          Does this include all 154 illegally downloaded copies? What about the IP repercussions? Isn’t Connery’s package a metaphor for the rights of pirates everywhere, Pushy?

          1. I didn’t say it was practical. It would be a service to humanity, however, as well as Connery’s own acting legacy.

            1. I’ll take Swords for $100

              That’s S words, S words.

  17. “””When a Republican like Sen. Lindsay Graham is leading the charge on anything, slowly sneak out the back door when the forward movement begins).””””

    So this must mean that “immigration reform” is dead since Lindsay Graham is the leader on this too.

  18. I’ve reached the point where I don’t vote or care at the national level. I’ll vote locally and at the state level.

  19. It is not the fact of what Huck says that bothers me so much, it is the fact that he is considered a serious contender for the GOP nomination (or was, until his recent fall from grace over his pardons.)

    Republican primary voters aren’t fiscal conservatives. They’ll accept libertarian economic stuff if it comes along with social conservatism, but it’s not what they want. Their general-election voters are economic libertarians?in principle, at least?but they don’t decide who runs.

    And they won’t show up for somebody like the Huckster. Even McCain was too economically lefty for them; the “redder” an area was in 2008, the more he underperformed the usual Republican vote percentage. Huck would lose like crazy.

    1. . Even McCain was too economically lefty for them; the “redder” an area was in 2008, the more he underperformed the usual Republican vote percentage. Huck would lose like crazy.

      Interesting take. McCain was also too pro-free trade (check the CATO link, he’s one of the best free trade and anti-subsidy senators), anti-farm support, and pro-immigration for some of these “red” areas. Those views may be economically liberal in one sense of the word, but they aren’t “economically lefty.”

      1. I think trade is kind of a dead issue. But immigration is not. His immigration stance gets people fired up. But they still voted for him. And McCain get zero credit from places like Cato for his pro trade anti-subsidy stance.

  20. Ugh. Boehner was part of the problem why Republicans lost their base in the first place. “Here’s the new boss; same as the old boss.”

  21. Nick seems to be saying

    1. The Republicans talk about social issues I don’t like. Okay. That is true. But what that does that have to do with anything? Isn’t it possible Republicans are the evil Muslim haters Nick seems to think they are and still want to get rid of a lot but not all of the government Nick doesn’t like? Or maybe it is the case that they are politicians who trade on emotional issues for political leverage. Either way, their position on the mosque doesn’t seem to have much to do with anything.

    2. Republicans don’t like illegal immigration. Again, so what? It both irrelevant and an example of politicians doing what politicians do; take advantage of an popular and emotional sentiment.

    3. The GOP won’t say what they are going to do. That is the only relevant criticism he gives. And he is right about that. I have no idea what they are going to do. Maybe they feel that they are better off not saying anything specific in order to give the Democrats anything specific to attack. Or maybe they want to raise the deficit to five trillion dollars, pass card check and go to single payer health care. You tell me because Nick certainly doesn’t.

    What a crappy post.

    1. Actually, Nick seems to be saying that the Republicans are wasting their energy on pointless non-issues like the not-at-Ground-Zero-non-mosque and illegal immigration instead of focusing on substantive problems like out-of-control spending and unfunded liabilities.

      The implication being that TEAM RED either has no idea how to fix these problems or no desire to make unpopular decisions. So they try to distract people with stupid bullshit instead.

      1. Maybe. But wouldn’t coming out with a radical plan to deal with these issues distract as well? It sounds counter intuitive but suppose the Republicans followed Nick’s advice and came out with a bunch of detailed plans of how to cut the government. It would then change the subject to their plan as opposed to how badly the Democrats are fucking up. Given that kind of a target, the Democrats could easily do much better by convincing people Republicans plan to throw grandma out in the street and getting them to forget what they are doing.

        Politically, it is a lot smarter to say nothing right now. I can’t really blame the Republicans for being smart. If and when they win, then I will start bitching about what they do or do not do.

        1. Nick also appears to slag off the Paul Ryan/GOP Roadmap for the Future as “flawed” without actually referring our referencing to what exactly is flawed about it.

          He spends the whole post bitching about how the GOP doesn’t want to cut the size and shape of the government, yet ignores the main economic plan that the ranking GOP Budget committee member has put forth that indeed will cut both the size and scope of government.

          It’s like a self defeating post. This is very flawed writing, and belies the bias Gillespie has against the right.

          1. Contrast this post to the excuse making and wishful thinking that was going on about Obama at Reason back in the summer of 08.

        2. John, it’s clear that you have resigned yourself to the inanities of realpolitik, but I have not.

          The Democrats give the Republicans daily opportunities to say “this is what the Ds are doing wrong, this is what we would do instead.”

          They can craft a critique to be specific, measured, and calm. They respond to Democrat demagoguery in the same tone.

          They are the opposition party, they have a minimum obligation to at least criticize the majority party. This bullshit armwaving they are engaged in actually helps obscure the Democrats’ mistakes and failed policies. That is worse than doing nothing.

          1. The Ryan plan is a start. And the realities of politics are what they are. And further, nothing they said would ever satisfy Nick anyway. What is Nick’s plan to reduce the government? I know what it is, but coming out for it would probably cause the Democrats to gain seats.

          2. The Democrats give the Republicans daily opportunities to say “this is what the Ds are doing wrong, this is what we would do instead.”

            And they did with the Roadmap plan. It may not be perfect but it is LIGHT YEARS more likely to cut the size and scope of government than anything currently in action by the democrats.

            They can craft a critique to be specific, measured, and calm. They respond to Democrat demagoguery in the same tone.

            Have you seen the Roadmap? It is all of these things- specific, measured and calm. Just because Gillespie and the left wants to ignore it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        3. “If and when they win, then I will start bitching about what they do or do not do.”

          We can’t know what is in the law until we pass it! Then we’ll find out!

          1. No. We can’t responsible for governing until you actually do it.

            1. In English please.

              1. That’s racism, straight up.

  22. “… Obama, who seems to have no firm ideas about anything than a BCS playoff system ….”

    Sorry, Nick, but Obama is totally “firm” for high-speed rail. In fact, plans for the revitalization of rail travel in New England call for speeds approaching 60 miles an hour, by the year 2525.…..8661.story

  23. I can’t really blame the Republicans for being smart.


    Good one, John.

    I blame the Republicrats for a lot of things, but being smart isn’t one of them.

    1. So you think they are being stupid for stepping back and letting the Democrats destroy themselves? You think they are being dumb for playing on popular emotional issues that put the Democrats at odd with their base?

      Considering that libertarians never get more than 1% of the vote, I guess their definition of smart is a little different than most.

      1. John, give a reason that you believe the GOP actually plans to do something positive regarding spending/federal power, rather than nitpicking the post and praising their “smart” rabble-rousing.

        Or do you really think the manhattan Islamic Center, the 14th amednment, etc. are the issues the country needs to face right now?

        1. I have no idea. I make no promises for them other than that might do the right things for the wrong reasons. It is clearly popular to cut government right now.

          Since there isn’t a viable third party, you can either vote Republican or give the Democrats two more years of inhibited power. At the very least the Republicans controlling congress will keep the Democrats from doing more damage.

          The Reason staff is so in love with Blue Team culture they won’t admit that. And will no doubt be sad to see Congress change hands. No thank you. If the Republicans fuck it up, then create a third party to replace them. In the mean time, at least stop the Democrats.

          1. The Reason staff is so in love with Blue Team culture

            I don’t see this.

          2. “you can either vote republican or give the democrats more power?”

            The old “vote-wasting” argument. As if voting for an equally repellant party, knowing they won’t bring positive change, isn’t wasting a vote

            1. Then vote Democrat and be happy with it and stop bitching all of the time. You can’t bitch about a bed of your own making.

              1. There you go again. Not voting demo-rat? Vote repiglican then. Not voting repiglican? Vote demo-rat and shut up.

                Surely your smart enough to see the destructiveness of that mentality.

                1. Someone out there is going to vote Democratic I guarantee you. Not voting is the same thing as voting for Nancy and Harry. have fun if that is what you want.

            2. I advocate voting for a republican ONLY if you think he will cut government…that means don’t vote for most republicans. If the dems win then too bad…the country is fucked anyway.

              Might as well have the pissed off people with guns mad at the governemnt instead of the tofu eaters.

  24. Nick, I can’t believe that there are two of us who remember Zardoz.

    Now, excuse me while I bleach my eyes.

    This *is* the same Sean Connery (holding a gun) who quit playing James Bond to make a statement about guns and violence.

    1. Two words “Charlotte Rampling”.

        1. Is that Rampling in that Helmut Newton shot?

          1. I’ll take the first Charlotte Rampling link for $2000, Alex.

    2. Interesting that the previous comment is from “The Wine Commonsewer”: back in 2006, a Chilean winery came up with a Zardoz wine.

  25. “Do we have any idea of what the GOP is going to do come fall? Other than talk about mosques, birthright citizenship, and what a sack of shit Obama is/was/will forever be?”

    I’m not exactly optimistic about the Republican Party either, but I think there’s a chance that the leadership might change its tune after the next election…

    We have to make sure we’re talking apples and apples here. The Republican Party as it’s presently constituted is the same bunch who were running things during the Bush the Lesser years…

    The mosque thing resonates with the same voters who supported them during the Bush Administration, but if Republicans regain the Senate, it will be because of new blood… And I suspect the leadership may change their tune to reflect that new constituency.

    So, anyway, the new boss may end up being a lot like the old boss, but the new boss isn’t calling the shots yet, so before we start cutting on the new boss, maybe we should let him show up and clock in first.

    1. but what about the old new boss? and then the new boss will become the old boss and we’ll need a new new boss. But guess what!? We are going to meet the new boss, same as the old boss, just like we met the old new boss same as the old old boss. Ad infinitum.

      You just hope the new boss is more like an improved old old boss which is to say you still want a prototypical boss. Your faith in the boss sickens me, you are no different than the “hope” and “change” we got with the old new boss.


      1. Yeah, I just wanna be my own boss.

    2. but there is a key point here. A lot of the bush era GOP was wiped out of congress in 2006 and 2008. Also partcuarly int he senate, a lot more of them have retired this year. If the republicans take the house and/or the senate, then that would also mean there are a lot of new people. Between the retirements and enw seats taken, there will be a lot of new blood and this new blood would have just won almost exclusively on opposing dem fiscal/ big government policies. Though the leadership will be the senior members today, their caucus is going to be made up to be quite different. The 94 class of republicans were probably the best thing we have seen in recent times. It wasnt until a number of years later that they became drunk on power and spending.

  26. We can’t responsible for governing until you actually do it.

    They *have* a track record; they are part of the government, right now. And they haven’t shown me a goddam thing which would make me think they’ll do anything better or different than what they did the last time they had the reins and the whip.

    1. To me eye?

      The Republicans under Dubya and the the Tea Party inflected batch we see campaigning right now? Just aren’t the same thing.

      There’s no reason to think the party, when it’s beholden to Ronald Reagan style anti-tax people and Ross Perot style fiscal conservatives, will act like they did when it was essentially run by Southern Democrats…

      I maintain that George W. Bush and the Republicans under his tenure were essentially Southern Democrats in all but name. They’re the people from the south who became Republicans under Ronald Reagan’s coalition, part of what they used to call “Reagan Democrats”.

      Socially conservative, blue collar, religious–the South used to be all Democrats, remember. …and they took over the party. I agree that nothing’s changed since Bush (like Lyndon Johnson), a Southern Democrat was in office; but it’s still the same people running the party–so why would it change?

      Give them control of the Senate–and the fiscal conservatism, anti-bailout, and small government impulses of the new blood may change that.

      I suspect everybody reverts to form eventually, but there’s no reason to think the Republicans will behave exactly the same way when their last victory came as a result of the same impulses that drove the Tea Party.

      People keep pointing to the fact that nothing’s changed–but the people haven’t changed! So, why would it change? If the Republicans take the Senate, there will be different people in the Republican caucus. …and it isn’t unreasonable to think that things may change after that.

      1. i should have read further down first

  27. I think some Republicans on the Hill are very serious about cutting the size & scope of Fedzilla and always have been. Unfortunately, bringing home the pork is what gives you longevity and therefore prime committee positions. So the people that actually run things on the Hill when the GOP is in charge are not the sort of folks we want.

    Politics is an ugly business. The best thing we can probably hope for is gridlock to prevent further damage caused by the starry eyed leftists currently running things.

    1. this is why flake has never moved into leadership. Wherease Paul Ryan plays just enough political ball to do so.

  28. Yes Yes Yes! You’re right. There’s no difference between Rick Santorum and Bob Casey. Nope nope, none at all.

    Didn’t some Libertarian Party up in SD helped to get another big govt. liberal (Tim Johnson) elected because the Republican wasn’t pure enough (plus he never jerked off into a Bible, so do we really want HIS kind in office?)

    There is nary a Republican who is in favor of nationalizing any industry. At least Bush put forward the idea of SS privatization.

    McCain/Hottie would have done none of the crap O!/Clean, Articulate White Guy have done domestically.

    And the wars are still going on. And peaceful Gitmo dwellers are still groovin’ to Ronnie James Dio and weed stores are still getting busted.

    Politics is about winning elections and advancing your ideas, not about picking lint out of your bellybutton while having imaginary an conversation with FA Hayek.

    Sorry, but fat, drunk and shilling for Leftwing foreign policy objectives is no way to go through life.

    1. “”At least Bush put forward the idea of SS privatization.””

      Wouldn’t that have the same constitutional issues the health care law has?

      1. Same constitutional issues as Social Security ….

        1. If the feds can mandate you to by a financial service, then they can mandate you to buy a health service.

          1. well with a slight caveat that the ss plan would have given you the choice to continue to stay in the traditional “pension” if you wished.

  29. I’m skeptical the GOP has has any libertarian revelation recently.

    But, to be fair, the Cordoba House and birthright citizenship issues aren’t really good examples of how they have not.

    One is, in your own terms, trivial, and the other really has nothing to do with the size of government.

    I’m pro-immigration, but birthright citizenship is sort of an issue of enfranchisement. You could have open borders and just not let immigrants vote.

    So out of your three, the only one I can really say stands as evidence the GOP hasn’t learned anything is #3.

    1. “You could have open borders and just not let immigrants vote.”

      What Hazel said. Toss in ineligibility for entitlements and we have a winner.

      1. Oh … and also toss in ending the Drug War, but this is my last territorial demand!

    2. “You could have open borders and just not let immigrants vote.”

      But that would defeat the whole purpose!

  30. I remember back in 2006, when we all got together and punished the Republicans. Hail Nancy D’alessdandro! Hail Nancy D’alessandro!

    Sure, the economy is in shambles. But that’s not what matters: we’re striking back at our parents and imaginary theocracy! Take that Flying Spaghetti Monster!

  31. Look, the party professionals know that the object is to get 1 more vote for your candidate in the election than the other side gets. Right now, no matter how much we love it, the “smaller government, cut programs, bring the troops home, put liberty ahead of security, and forget the social conservative issues” meme will not draw a majority. And until we build an actual majority constituency for such ideas, we will see one party or the other paying just enough lip service to put us in their winning coalition for this election cycle.

  32. Um, how can you have liberty if you have no security? My unicorns aren’t available 24/7, and with all of Obama’s new tax hikes, I may have to down to one part-time unicorn.

    1. C’mon Holy Cow, who said it was “either or?”

  33. The reason Republicans are still harping on the Cordoba Mosque deal is because it polls better than their normal issues. Almost all the old people in this country do not like Islam and they are the ones voting this year.

    1. No, because it obscures the issues that are a real threat to our Republic and our prosperity. Unlike Newt and Lindsey’s fetish for carbon taxation, or the Democrat’s every policy prescription, the Cordoba House does not cost me a Goddamned thing. If you old fucks have grown decadent and can’t keep your eye on the ball because you have sucked on the tit of government for too long to know when you are being swindled you are as big a part of the problem as Nancy, Harry and Berry.

  34. Summer Livin’ With Sean Connery!

  35. Speaking of Sean Connery, saw ‘Live And Let Die’ the other day, the scene where, for some weird reason, they have to try to disguise that big furry Scotsman as being Japanese is still hilarious.

    1. Sorry, “You Only Live Twice”, got my Bond movies mixed up.

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  37. But what can be done – what should be done – about an ascendant national GOP that has had plenty of time to offer up alternatives on the things that matter most and instead farts around with the rankest sort of sham symbolic junk?

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