Opponents of the Republicrat Axis of Evil rightly grumble that neither major party can be trusted with the public weal.
Thus do they call for a third party that would mind the Constitution.
More optimistic observers suggest voting for the lesser of the two evils (Republicans, conservatives believe), rather than "throwing your vote away" on a third party that cannot win.
Maybe it can't. But that doesn't change the simple truth that both parties are invested in an anti-American, anti-Constitutional federal establishment. We have two parties, but one ideology; i.e., the ideology of big government.
This ideology, not "party politics as usual," is the cancer killing the Republic.
Why Government Keeps Growing
Time was, Republicans paid at least lip service to the Constitution.
With the ascendance of the Reagan movement, for instance, conservatives talked about abolishing the departments of education and energy and other worthless, unconstitutional agencies. They swore that Republican appointments to the Supreme Court would reverse the trend toward centralizing judicial power in Washington.
But the cancer treatment never occurred.
Ensconced in the capital city, conservatives realized controlling government was more profitable, financially and professionally, than reducing it. Also, it's much more fun to violate the Constitution than to uphold it, for violating the Constitution permits politicians and bureaucrats to accumulate power.
If Reagan had abolished the Education Department, "conservatives" could not have run it. Ditto for the energy department, and the national endowments for the arts and humanities and the Legal Services Corporation.
When Republicans took over the House of Representatives a decade ago, the "Gang of Four" Republicans wrote legislation abolishing four cabinet departments. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his deputies killed it.
Conservatives also accepted the illegitimate decisions and power of the federal judiciary and try to use it for their own ends.
Thus, the unconstitutional Leviathan kept growing.
Battling For Control
But don't believe the shift toward protecting the Leviathan is strictly a matter of calculating political profit.
Listening to conservatives, it is clear that many, if not most, particularly the younger crowd, don't know what the Constitution forbids and permits.
Conservatives never speak of restoring the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, the last two codicils in the Bill of Rights. They never discuss the damage done to the Constitution and state and local prerogatives, by judges manufacturing law with the 14th Amendment and Commerce Clause. Conservatives blithely accept the last 75 years of unconstitutional jurisprudence.
With Americans who blindly accept the income tax and Social Security as inevitable facts of life, "conservatives" operate comfortably within the corrupting ambit of an unconstitutional regime. Indeed, they thrive in it. The thought that his job might be an unconstitutional arrogation of power and tax money never occurs to the conservative jobber in Washington.
This truth also applies to liberals, for the Constitution says what it says, ideology regardless. Liberals statists create one unconstitutional program after another, enact one unconstitutional regulation after another, whether on education, the environment or business.
Problem is, conservatives, who should know better, cooperate willingly, hoping to prevail in the battle to control the statist Leviathan bureaucracy.
So taxpayers lose, and federal power wins.
It isn't just one party or the other that is wrong. Both embrace the malignancy of unconstitutional, omnipotent central government.
Only a radical third party can cure it.
July 9, 2003
Syndicated columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send him mail] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.