People are welcome to think what they wish, but I will remind them they they are no more capable of determining the future with certainty than any of us. Try this: how many of you believed that this single-party government, over these past six years, would double the national debt and increase government spending on entitlements to unprecedented levels (well, since LBJ, anyway)? I know a lot of us didn’t expect much from the republicans, and we certainly didn’t expect any sort of real rollback of government, but I feel pretty confident that nobody in the world expected or predicted them to actually increase the size and scope of government to levels — and at a pace — that would make most democrat politicians blush.
And, of course, the democrats always have to be to the left of the republicans (it’s a natural law), so, no matter what the republicans do in a vain and stupid effort to win votes they would never win anyway, it’s never enough for the democrats. So, the effect, really, is that the democrats are pushed father to the left than they might naturally be by…by the republicans.
It’s all been a disaster for a long time, but I really just don’t buy the notion that the democrats are automatically going to make things a lot worse. In pure practical and comparative terms, they could do better than we expect, just as the republicans did far worse than we expected. Nothing is ordained. It does not have to happen in any pre-determined way. It might, but it might not. And don’t forget how bad the republicans were, either
That is the America we lived in for the past five (almost six) years.
During this time of fully-consolidated power under one party, the US
became uber-bizarro-land. To borrow a Winterism, it was like the Land
of Oz, where fantasy was more real than reality. It was bizarro-America
— still America, but somehow a caricature; a distorted hyperbole of
In bizarro-America, we could embark on a major foreign war and
occupation on ridiculous, cocktail-napkin justification and "evidence".
In bizarro-America, we would not only stay the course but change not a
single aspect of approach to this war, even as all indicators showed
progress deteriorating. In bizarro-America, it would always suffice
simply to spin this and other bad news. In bizarro-America, we could
double the public debt in four years, have deteriorating median
incomes, negative savings, and record deficits of all sorts, and be
told endlessly that the "economy is great". In bizarro-America, the
ranks of government would be infested with vapid appointees of the
President drawn exclusively from the chummy cesspool of his personal
friends, and friends-friends. In bizarro-America, it would take an
attempt to extend this m.o. to the Supreme Court to evoke broad
congressional opposition. In bizarro-America, that president would
become schematically a dictator, through the use of signing statements,
quasi-legal memos from his apparatchiks, and the general abuse of
emergency powers (culminating in the disassembly of habeus corpus). In
bizarro-America, congress would abrogate its duties and become an
obliging instrument of this dictatorial president. In bizarro-America,
it would take the irresponsible destruction of a major American city,
directly stemming from the president’s spending priorities, for this
congress to begin distancing itself from him. In bizarro-America,
internet gambling was made illegal based on transparently-hypocritical
moralizing, as the real purpose was to preserve the same legal-gambling
monopolies that keep kickbacks flowing to politicians. In
bizarro-America, this was insouciantly done mere months after the
racketeering ring of a corrupt "super-lobbyist," peddling in these very
same interests, was cracked. In bizarro-America, a congress that could
spend about 90 days total in session (they became effectively
ceremonial, after all) could convene overnight to intervene in the
Schiavo affair. In bizarro-America, discarded embryos were chosen over
suffering adults and medical science, all to strategically pander to a
minority of Christianist religious zealots in this country.
Yea, there’s a thing or two in there that I don’t see in the same light as Aaron, but when I read a list like that, it helps me to be reminded of how pernicious subjective bias is. As a practical matter, I’ve always harbored a bias for republicans for one reason or another. But when I look at the list above and ponder some of those items, I have to wonder what would be the reaction of many republicans had those same things been done by democrats.
The core problem is a philosophical one. Republicans often get a pass from guys like me by pure accident of the fact that some of what they say (not actually do, mind you) actually corresponds to a rational political philosophy based on individualism. But the problem is that in practice, republicans are every bit as collectivist as the democrats are in explicit spirit and political practice.
But it makes me wonder. What’s worse, what they all say, or what they all do? I’ll submit this thought for your consideration. When an action is evil rather than good; unjust rather than just; dumb rather than smart; ineffective rather than effective; is there not some consolation in at least having a proper characterization of the matter? We have just spent the last six years being told that the most expansive growth of government in 40 years was "compassionate conservatism" by republicans and "ultra-far-right" by the left.
So, if you’ll just excuse me; if we’re going to continue down this path of expanding the state to every nook and cranny of every life and ever dollar traded, then I will at least be refreshed to have it be more accurately characterized all around for what it really is. Perhaps republicans and their apologists will once again recognize an evil government program, for a change.