by Laurence M. Vance
by Laurence M. Vance
The Republican Revolution has been gasping for breath since the Democratic Party won the congressional midterm elections in 2006. After the Republicans were soundly defeated in the 2008 elections, the Revolution was in its death throes until noon on January 20 when George Bush's second term as president ceased and the Republican Revolution officially came to an end.
Thank God it's finished.
The Republican Revolution began on January 3, 1995, after the Republican Party had won control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the 83rd Congress (1953—1955) under Dwight Eisenhower. Although a Democrat (Bill Clinton) occupied the White House for the remainder of the decade, the Republicans hung on to the House and Senate until the election of a Republican president (George Bush) in the year 2000 gave them an absolute majority.
The Revolution had reached its zenith. Republicans were ecstatic. Although Vermont senator Jim Jeffords soon attempted to derail the speeding Republican train by leaving the Republican Party — temporarily shifting the balance of power in the Senate to the Democrats — Republican victories in the 2002 midterm elections restored the GOP's absolute majority.
After enjoying this absolute majority for the last two years of Bush's first term, Republicans coasted to victory in the 2004 election — retaining the presidency and further increasing their control of the Congress.
And the country is worse off for it. So worse off, in fact, that I, a conservative Christian who has nothing but contempt for the Democratic Party, much prefer the presidency of Bill Clinton the fornicator in chief to that of George Bush the warmonger in chief, spy in chief, and spender in chief.
The Republican Revolution was a failure from the beginning. The Contract with America that was introduced by the new Republican-controlled Congress in 1995 was bogus because it focused on reforming government agencies and programs instead of eliminating them. It was pointed out in 2000 that "the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%."
I remember speaking with Joe Scarborough, my congressman at the time, on a local call-in radio talk show in late 1994 or early 1995. I asked him about the new Republican-controlled Congress repealing some of the legislation passed during the first two years of the Clinton administration. He would have to stand in line to introduce such legislation, he said, because of everything his fellow Republicans had planned.
Okay, let's take two of the worst pieces of legislation passed during Clinton's first two years. Did the new Republican majority in the 104th Congress repeal the Family and Medical Leave Act (PL 103-3) or the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (PL 103-159)? Of course it didn't. Just like it didn't repeal the Motor Voter Act (PL 103-31) or the Violence Against Women Act (PL 103-322).
And what did the Republican majority in Congress do throughout Clinton's terms? Sure, there were a few good things that Congress did — like repealing all federal speed limits in 1995 — but how many major federal agencies, programs, or regulations were actually eliminated? How much really egregious legislation was repealed? How many pork-barrel projects were denied funding? How much was overall federal spending reduced? Was the government any less intrusive at the end of six years of Republican control of the Congress? What was actually done to limit the government to that prescribed by the Constitution?
The size and scope of the federal government were not reduced by one inch during the first six years of the Republican Revolution. All we heard during the six years of a Republican-controlled Congress under Clinton were excuses about needing a larger majority, a veto-proof majority, or, better yet, a Republican president to really complete the revolution.
But what happened when the Republican-controlled Congress finally got a Republican president? We got an unprecedented increase in the welfare/warfare/surveillance/nanny state. First came the ignoble USA PATRIOT Act (PL 107-56). This was followed by the No Child Left Behind Act (PL 107-110). Then came the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (PL 107-243), which gave us the senseless, immoral, unconstitutional, unjust war in Iraq that has already cost the American taxpayers about $1 trillion. Although the seed of the Iraq War was planted by the Iraq Liberation Act (PL 105-338), that was also passed by a Republican-controlled Congress. And then there is the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (PL 108-173) — the largest expansion of the welfare state since the Great Society. Even LBJ would be shocked at the cost of this welfare scheme. And who can forget the increase in farm subsidies, the crony capitalism, the mockery of the Constitution, the Republican acceptance of the neoconservative agenda, and the imperial presidency. No wonder Republicans earned the wrath of voters in the recent election. They deserved to lose as bad as they did, and more.
As I pointed out the following in my article on how bogus the Republican Revolution was, one statistic is all it takes to see that there has been no limit to the growth of government under the Republican Party — the national debt. Consider the following:
- On the eve of the new Republican-controlled Congress in 1995, the national debt was just under $5 trillion.
- At the time of Bush's first inauguration in 2001, the national debt stood at $5,727,776,738,304.64.
- At the time of Bush's second inauguration in 2005, the national debt stood at $7,613,772,338,689.34.
- On the day of the 2006 midterm elections, the national debt stood at $8,592,561,542,263.30.
- On the last day of Bush's second term, the national debt stood at $10,626,877,048,913.08.
Who is responsible for this tremendous increase in the federal debt? Not the Democrats. Not Bill Clinton. It is the party that laughingly said in its 2004 platform that it was committed to "lower taxes, limited regulation, and a limited, efficient government." Yes, the same party that helped the Democrats pass the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the Bailout Bill).
But is this really a surprise? Not if one knows anything about the history of the Republican Party — a history of state capitalism, militarism, presidential power, big government, plunder, compromise, and sellout.
Just look at the Republicans' latest outrage: the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Since the day her husband became the president, the personification of evil according to all Republicans has been Hillary Clinton. So, what did the Republicans do when Mrs. Clinton appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to receive the first vote toward her confirmation as secretary of state? With but one exception (David Vitter of Louisiana), the Republicans on the committee voted for Hillary. Then, when the full Senate took a vote on Clinton's confirmation on January 21, only two Republican senators (the aforementioned David Vitter and Jim DeMint of South Carolina) voted against her. During the presidential campaign, before it became evident that Barack Obama would get the Democratic Party nomination, John McCain never ceased to remind us how bad it would be if we voted for Clinton instead of him. And then he turns around and votes for her confirmation for secretary of State.
This, of course, does not mean that I prefer the Democratic Party. There is not a dime's worth of difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties. Neither party is the lesser of two evils; they are both pure evil.
Nevertheless, I rarely bother to write about the evils of the Democratic Party. The socialist and statist policies of the Democratic Party are well known. And since the Democrats don't masquerade as advocates of smaller and less intrusive government, it is pretty obvious that the Democratic Party is the party of liberalism, socialism, organized labor, environmentalism, affirmative action, wealth redistribution, the nanny state, and increased government intervention in the economy and society. Another reason I don't bother is that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Michael Savage need something to rant about.
Strom Thurmond was right. He left the Democratic Party because the party was "leading the evolution of our nation to a socialistic dictatorship." I would just go a step further: The Republican Party during the so-called Republican Revolution was leading the evolution of our nation to a faith-based, compassionate, fascist dictatorship.
When bad revolutions have run their course, they often lead to something just as bad or even worse. The Republican Revolution, like the French and Russian Revolutions, was an absolute disaster. And just as these revolutions gave the world Napoleon and Lenin, so the Republican Revolution has given us Barack Obama — a man with a radical left-wing congressional voting record, with even more radical associations, with a life spent in the service of racial preference, with an aberrant vision of Christianity, and with plans to further redistribute the wealth of taxpayers to tax eaters. That being said, whether he can possibly top George Bush in the "one of the worst presidents ever" category remains to be seen.
The Republican Revolution failed because it was not based on any real principles. Contrast this with the Ron Paul Revolution, which continues unabated because it is based, not on empty Republican rhetoric about the benefits of the free market and the need for less government intervention, but on the bedrock principles of peace, nonintervention, economic freedom, personal liberty, sound money, and a drastically limited state. Any Republican who really believes in these principles should abandon the GOP's sinking ship of war, statism, and fascism.
January 26, 2009
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. His latest book is a new and greatly expanded edition of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.
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