Thursday, January 15, 2004

ONE REASON TO VOTE DEAN: In the face of continued Republican domination of Congress the only way to stop the government from spending and spending is to get a Democrat in there--preferrably a Democrat the Republicans despise, like the good Dr. Dean. So argues Radley Balko with three easy-to-remember points:

1. Republicans are most principled when someone they despise holds power. President Clinton was in many ways a better limited-government executive than President Bush. President Clinton talked big government talk on the campaign trail, but once in office, many times acted quite differently. He signed the free trade agreements GATT and NAFTA, for example, and rolled out an initiative to gut federal bureaucratic waste.


It?s pretty clear now that the GOP of the 1990s acted not out of principle, but out of spite. It?s no secret that the Republican leadership in Congress despised President Clinton. Republicans in fact shut the government down in lieu of capitulating to President Clinton?s policies. They simply didn?t want to give President Clinton any political victories. In contrast, the Congress has been so kind to President Bush, he may become the first American president since James Buchanan to go an entire term without using the veto.

2. Divided government gets less done (always a good thing in Washington). The Cato Institute?s William Niskanen points out that in the last 50 years, the only two periods of extended fiscal restraint from the federal government came during the Eisenhower and Clinton administrations, both under divided government. The two eras when government expanded were the Kennedy/Johnson administration, and the current administration, both under united government. Note that party affiliation really doesn?t factor into the equation. A government that can?t pass laws can?t spend money. It can?t raise taxes. It can?t create new federal agencies or benefits.

3. Republicans are more principled when they?re not in power. Remember the Contract With America? (search) It was introduced in 1993. At that time, Republicans were in the minority, and had been, for the most part, for decades. The Contract With America proposed a radical downsizing of the federal government, including eliminating entire Cabinet departments. It was born of a ?nothing left to lose? mentality. It was bold, brash and refreshingly principled. Of course, as soon as the Republicans won, largely because of the Contract, they promptly abandoned its most controversial provisions. They feared offending mainstream voters. They now had something to lose ? their power.

So, back to Howard Dean. More than a year into the primary campaign, it?s clear now that of the nine candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, Howard Dean seems to irritate Republicans most. He?s been the subject of the most press releases from the Republican National Committee, and attacks on him have popped up in conservative publications like the Wall Street Journal?s editorial page, National Review and the Weekly Standard. The mere mention of his name spikes Rush Limbaugh?s blood pressure. His supporters seem to be the very kind of youngish, hipster, anti-war, Volvo-driving types that send red-tied GOPers into a tizzy.

1. and 3. are kind of the same, but you get the idea. Vote Dean because given our political structure--and assuming limiting government is one of your priorities--he's a better choice than the other guy. Via Prestopundit.

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