I keep harping on the sad fact that when it comes to important issues like U.S. belligerence, we might as well not have a functioning opposition party. It’s sad to note that when it comes to big government bloat the problem is the same.
Andrew Sullivan watched the Republican convention and notes:
[C]onservatism as we have known it is now over. People like me who became conservatives because of the appeal of smaller government and more domestic freedom are now marginalized in a big-government party, bent on using the power of the state to direct people’s lives, give them meaning and protect them from all dangers. Just remember all that Bush promised last night: an astonishingly expensive bid to spend much more money to help people in ways that conservatives once abjured. He pledged to provide record levels of education funding, colleges and healthcare centers in poor towns, more Pell grants, seven million more affordable homes, expensive new HSAs, and a phenomenally expensive bid to reform the social security system. I look forward to someone adding it all up, but it’s easily in the trillions. And Bush’s astonishing achievement is to make the case for all this new spending, at a time of chronic debt (created in large part by his profligate party), while pegging his opponent as the “tax-and-spend” candidate. The chutzpah is amazing. At this point, however, it isn’t just chutzpah. It’s deception. To propose all this knowing full well that we cannot even begin to afford it is irresponsible in the deepest degree. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the only difference between Republicans and Democrats now is that the Bush Republicans believe in Big Insolvent Government and the Kerry Democrats believe in Big Solvent Government.
Jacob Sullum of Reason too, notes that at the convention, “calls for cutting government and praise of the free market were conspicuous mainly by their absence.”
If it weren’t clear from their performance in Congress and in the White House, it would be clear from their platform that the Republicans have given up on reducing government even as an aspiration. The best they can do is assert that “our leaders must make sure that the growth of the federal government remains in check.”
Notice how, even in a document full of wishes that will never come true, the Republicans have resigned themselves to the inevitable growth of Leviathan. Notice, too, that they seem to think the government’s expansion is already “in check”; despite a 25-percent increase in federal spending , all they need to do is stay the course.