Skip to comments.Curing the Conservative Crack-Up
Posted on 03/28/2006 3:32:13 PM PST by Conservative Coulter Fan
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” That Dickensian description of Europe during the French Revolution holds true for American conservatives today.
In the modern American edition, though, the two cities of our tale are not Paris and London. They’re “Washington, D.C.” and “everywhere else.”
Beyond the Washington beltway, these are the best of times for conservatives. The vast majority of Americans embrace traditional social values and basic conservative policy principles such as limited government, rule of law and open markets. Spurred by prudent tax cuts, the economic expansion continues apace, with millions of new jobs created yearly, unemployment near record lows and inflation firmly in check. The best of times, indeed.
Yet conservatives who dare look at what’s happening in Washington can hardly be blamed for thinking it is the worst of times.
It’s paradoxical. Self-described conservatives have run the federal government -- both executive and legislative branches -- for half a decade. Yes, they’ve accomplished much good. But they’ve also dropped the ball, time after time.
Federal spending has exploded -- up by nearly half since 2001. The “conservative” Congress presided over a 40 percent increase in federal spending on local schools (“No Child Left Behind”) and enacted the most expensive new entitlement in 40 years (the Medicare drug program). From homeland security to farms to roads, there isn’t a problem this “conservative” Congress hasn’t tried to paper over with money. Lots of it. With pork on top.
It’s a huge problem. As government spends more and more, it insinuates itself more broadly and more deeply into our everyday lives. Yet people can build and maintain a healthy society only when they are free to create their own destiny -- to strive, to make and overcome mistakes, and to achieve success in their own way.
Once upon a time, conservative politicians remembered this. They rode the principles of limited government into office. But after holding the reins of power for a while, too many seem prone to switch horses and climb upon the Big Government mounts native to Washington.
Congressional leaders need to get back in the right saddle, so they can get government back on track.
The conservative majority that elected them can help by following the policy debates closely and making sure their nominally conservative representatives “walk the walk.”
Here are six simple questions our politicians -- and the people who elect them -- should raise when considering any proposed government action:
1. Is it the government’s business? Federal power should be brought to bear only on those things that cannot be handled more efficiently by a state, a community or an individual.
2. Does it promote self-reliance? Too many government programs punish individual initiative. Some even create a permanent underclass of dependents.
3. Is it responsible? Too many policymakers treat the federal treasury as a bottomless well of cash. It isn’t. Washington’s unfunded promises must be paid eventually. Where will the money come from?
4. Does it make America more prosperous? Politicians brag about “bringing home the bacon.” But all the pork projects and open-ended entitlements actually sap America’s prosperity.
5. Does it make us safer? Congress requires nearly 40 percent of federal anti-terrorism spending be divided equally among the states. Is the terrorist threat really as great in Montana as in California or New York? Government’s first order of business is to protect the homeland, not “spread the pork.”
6. Does it unify us? Our country grows stronger through addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division. Government policies should encourage patriotism, American values and a common language to foster a unified national identity.
Government is only as good as the people it represents, and that is actually to our advantage. The great “American Experiment” is the most successful in history. A handful of immigrants, bunched along the Atlantic coast when they won their freedom, set out to conquer a continent. Within a century they had.
If We the People start insisting our lawmakers answer the six questions above, we can keep their feet walking on the right path -- the one blazed by the Founders and those who came after them.
Like everything in life, these benchmarks are interdependent. Sure, politicians must compromise sometimes. But they’re paid to make difficult decisions, not to cave on the principles they articulate on the campaign trail.
With the involvement of a concerned citizenry, those they elected should be able to hold fast to the conservative principles and policies that expand freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all. That will produce a future that is, simply, “the best of times.”
Edwin Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org), a Washington–based public policy research institute and co-author of the new book Getting America Right.
Distributed nationally on the Knight-Ridder Tribune wire
A well put six questions which should be taped to every congresspersons forehead! Thanks for the article.
To bad the question of if it's Constitutional doesn't even make it on the list. What a big govenment and government solve idiot that writter is.
I agree. I took the 'making America more prosperous' in a 'do no harm' sense rather than as an active act.
But while Clinton denies that she's thinking beyond her Senate reelection this fall, the New York Post reports that "her political machine is so massive that it's more than four times" as big as Team McCain.
On the other hand, the Arizona Republican relies on just five staffers and a half-dozen consulting firms spread between his campaign and his Straight Talk America PAC, the paper says.
Mrs. Clinton's 20 troops are deployed to fundraising operations such as HillPAC and Friends of Hillary. Also on the campaign payroll, her Senate chief of staff, Tamera Luzzatto.
The former first lady's bloated operation costs her nearly $100,000 per month in payroll alone.
She shells out even more to a phalanx of "seasoned consultants" who handle media strategy, speechwriting, market research, direct mail and fundraising.
And although Clinton trails both McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in every national poll taken so far - and seems to be slipping in popularity with the liberal wing of her party - her one undisputed success has been fundraising.
The former first lady's campaign war chest has grown to $17 million - the biggest in the Senate.
Campaign spokeswoman Ann Lewis says that kind of cash flow means Mrs. Clinton's super-size operation is pulling its own weight.
"Considering the successful work that is being carried out by the FOH and HillPAC staff, including our extensive outreach to low-dollar donors, we think it's an appropriate number at this time," she told The Post.
Nothing quite like starting with a false premise, particularly as regards the courts.
This is not true.
Free Republic would certainly qualify as one of the best sources (and biggest) for the "feel and tone" of grassroots conservatives.
There is no debating this fact: if one were to check the thousands of threads here at FR about Bush/liberalism/socialism/spending etc. since Bush took office, you will find about 90% of the members here have defended the expansion of social welfare and defended the Bush agenda.
The majority here do NOT follow the mission statement of Free Republic, as expressed on the home page, about "rolling back government largesse", and the fact socialism is mentioned by Mr. Robinson as one of the key focal points we are fighting against.
Yes, 90% of the members here do not care about limited government nor of the creeping socialism (or surging socialism). About 10% do.
Again, there will be emotional hysterics, as usual, saying this is not true, but the FR archives shows clearly that the defense of the GOP has replaced the fight for limited government and the fight against socialism (by 90% here), even though limited government and fighting socialism is part of the the mission statement of FR.
I do offer a reason: I believe the reason is that so many here are outraged (rightfully so) against the RATs and the MSM, the Clintons, et al. That extreme hatred (well placed and right) does cloud the real vision of our purpose--limited government, anti-socialism, etc.--and makes these 90% defend the GOP simply due to the extreme hatred of all things RAT. t is too hard to swallow that our guy in the WH (a GOP Bush) and our guys in Congress (GOP both House and Senate) are allowing the move to the left (fiscally) to happen. The 90% are in denial. They defend the government expansion because they defend the GOP. In other words, the party has replaced the ideology (conservatism) as the item to fight for.
I welcome courteous discussion without the hysterics and flaming. But anybody who checks a typical "socialism thread" about some new entitlement or huge increase in social spending will see the point I am making--I am guessing roughly 90% are defending the indefensible for the reason I stated.
If FR is a good proxy for the rest of the nation (I believe so), that means this author is dead wrong about conservatives and "limited government". Bear in mind that this author said the "vast majority of Americans embrace limited government". That statement is lunacy. 50% of America is RAT infested and these 50% would welcome Marxism. I am restricting my comment to just the other 50% (Republicans). I say 90% of this 50% don' care about limited government either, based on the threads here at FR.
Bottom line--this author's statement is ludicrous. My hope is that FR members will reverse course and start fighting for what this forum was founded for (conservatism and limited govt.), not for a party label.
After decades of wasted votes, I am thinking nails not tape.
Taped?! Sorry, I'm holding out for riveted...
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