So, the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections and gained six seats in the Senate. If you remember, or care, Republicans lost control of both the House and Senate for the last two years of George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency and suffered even more defeats in the 2008 election. The Republican margin of victory in the House in this election was the largest shift in power since the Democrats won a 91-seat majority 1948.
Pardon me while I yawn.
I remember all too well in 1994 when the Republicans regained control of not only the House, but the Senate as well. I remember sitting in my car and anxiously listening to Rush Limbaugh’s first radio show after the election. I remember speaking with my Republican congressman at the time on a local call-in radio talk show. I asked him when the new Republican-controlled Congress would begin repealing some of the legislation passed during the first two years of Clinton’s reign. The congressman told me he would have to stand in line to introduce such legislation because of everything the Republicans had planned.
Republicans managed to stay in power throughout the rest of Clinton’s presidency. But what did we get for it? Did Republicans repeal the Family and Medical Leave Act? Did they eliminate foreign aid? Did they repeal the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act? Did they lower overall federal spending? Did they repeal the Motor Voter Act? Did they eliminate any substantial business regulations? Did they repeal the Violence Against Women Act? Did they cut Social Security and Medicare? Did they repeal the Earned Income Credit? Did they eliminate any federal agencies or programs? Did they repeal any significant pieces of legislation passed during any previous administration? Did they shrink the U.S. empire?
Oh, Republicans made promises. They issued the “Contract with America.” They talked about reducing government. They preached the gospel of free markets. They used libertarian rhetoric. But then they did nothing to meaningfully reduce the size and scope of government.
Fast forward to 2010. Republicans have made their promises. They have issued their “Pledge to America.” They have talked about reducing government. They have preached the gospel of free markets. They have used libertarian rhetoric. And once again they will do nothing to meaningfully reduce the size and scope of government.
Oh, but Republicans are going to repeal Obamacare. Yea, and replace it with Republicancare. If Republicans are so concerned about socialized medicine and government takeovers of health care, then why haven’t they tried to repeal Medicare? Is it not socialized medicine? Is it not a government takeover of health care? But not only do Republicans accept the legitimacy of Medicare, they added to it a prescription drug plan. And now they propose in their Pledge to “support Medicare for seniors,” even criticizing Obamacare for cutting Medicare.
I am suffering from Republican Déjà Vu. When I look at Republicans in 2010 — the year they issued their “Pledge to America” and won big in a midterm election — I hear them uttering the same lies about fiscal responsibility and a smaller, less intrusive government that they did in 1994 — the year they issued their “Contract with America” and won big in a midterm election. When I write about Republicans I feel as though I could just take something I wrote fifteen years ago and change the date and some names and it would sound like I wrote it yesterday.
While doing some remodeling recently, I discovered in my files some long-forgotten letters to the editor about the Republicans I had written in 1994 and 1995 that were published in the conservative weekly Human Events.
I am reproducing them here exactly as they appeared. I have given the dates of publication in parentheses. The titles and material in brackets were supplied by Human Events.
King Commission Funding Proves Phillips Correct (July 1994)
I was outraged to read in your June 3 issue (see “Senate Votes Millions for King Commission,” page 4) about the support of Bob Dole and Jack Kemp for the funding of the Martin Luther King Holiday Commission. The apostate Republicans who were afraid to stand up to the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus for fear of being called racist should join the Democratic Party where they belong.
After almost unanimously confirming all of Clinton’s radical appointments, including Janet Reno, I didn’t think the Republicans could do any worse until reading about the King holiday commission.
It is also interesting that in the same issue, Howard Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, exposed the GOP for being full of “Big Government” conservatives (see page 12). Although certainly better than Slick Willie, a vote for Republicans like Dole and Kemp is a vote for four more years of George Bush.
What’s Conservative About Foreign Aid? (November 1994)
Although I was not surprised, I was nevertheless still appalled at the passage of the Foreign Aid Appropriations bill (HR 4426). But I was even more incensed to see in your August 19 issue [see HUMAN EVENTS rollcall, page 23] that Republicans like Representatives Bob Dornan (Calif.), Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Bill McCollum (Fla.) and other conservatives would vote to spend the taxpayers’ money in such a reckless manner. Let any basket-case foreign country send out an appeal for funds to the American people and they wouldn’t receive enough money to pay for the postage. Leave it to the U.S. Congress, however, to dole out the hard-earned money confiscated from the American people.
If any member of Congress or any U.S. citizen desire to enrich another country instead of investing in his own, let him be the first to write out a personal check. Foreign aid is the most obscene waste of the taxpayers’ money in history. The Republican “Contract with America” should include a provision to immediately eliminate all foreign aid. Anything less is just business as usual for what [nationally syndicated columnist] Samuel Francis calls the Stupid Party.
Why is GOP Leaving Liberal Statism Intact? (April 1995)
The Republicans are celebrating their first 100 days in power. But what have they actually done? Trumpeting how their block grants to the states will result in more dollars for school lunch programs instead of abolishing the program altogether is a typical example.
Where are the bills on Clinton’s desk to repeal the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Clean Air Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993? Why isn’t there legislation piled to the ceiling on Clinton’s desk to repeal CAFE standards, the freon ban, the Brady Bill, and all other statist legislation?
Every bill that Clinton vetoes will be another nail in his coffin at election time, if the Democrats don’t drop him first. And furthermore, if House Speaker Newt Gingrich desires to be a conservative leader, then perhaps he should publicly repent for voting for the Americans with Disabilities Act, congressional pay raises and bouncing checks at the House bank.
What Republican Revolution? (October 1995)
Donald Lambro’s article about the Republican budget that appeared in the August 25 issue of HUMAN EVENTS inadvertently exposes the failure of the Republican revolution. According to Lambro, “government spending is still going to grow in the years to come, up to nearly $2 trillion by the beginning of the next century.” Instead of eliminating failed liberal programs like Medicaid, Medicare and welfare, the Republicans want to increase spending on Medicaid by $329 billion, Medicare by $675 billion and welfare by $346 billion. The Republicans are actually bragging about how they plan to increase the transfer of even more taxpayer dollars to those on the federal dole. In the same issue of HUMAN EVENTS, it was also reported that the House rejected cuts in the NEA and CPB. In addition to this, our troops are still overseas, foreign aid is still on the rise and the power of the FBI, BATF, OSHA, EPA, and FEMA is still increasing. The Republican revolution will do down in history as the revolution that wasn’t.
Two things should be abundantly clear: Republicans haven’t changed and my basic criticisms of Republicans haven’t changed. Yet, in the recent election, millions of conservatives went to the polls hoping, and millions of Christians went to the polls praying, that perhaps this time the Republicans would not betray and disappoint them. Let’s hope and pray they didn’t hold their breath.