The Republicans have gotten what they deserve. They have proven over the last four years that they are anything but the party of conservatives. Rather, they are just a different flair of the big government statist that true conservatives despise. They heckle the Democrats for practicing “tax and spend,” while they simply “spend.” Under the “small government” rule of the Republicans, some of the most egregious and “big government” legislation in history has passed. The past six years have seen the President use his veto power less than almost any President in the nation’s history, yet our national debt is spiraling out of control.
We conservatives have given them four years of complete control of the government—these “small government” Republicans—and have seen an increase in unnecessary spending. And this increased spending has given us nothing but bridges to nowhere, the encroachment of government into the bedroom, the invasion of our sacred civil liberties, and an assault on the Constitution—in the form of an unnecessary amendment that would make a minority group in America second-class citizens. All of this, of course, was done under the public’s nose while it was busy worrying about our current entanglement in an endless war.
What legislation exactly has the “small government” administration given us? Well, there’s the No Child Left Behind Act; Terri Schiavo’s Law; the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act; the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (remember this one? The one where Bush lied to conservative Republicans about the cost of the Act’s implementation?); and let’s not forget the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq.
Then, of course, there’s the really bad stuff—the stuff “big government tax and spend liberals” wouldn’t dream of—the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, and most recently, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which could be the most unconstitutional piece of legislation since the Alien and Sedition Acts (especially since this one is explicitly aimed at circumventing the decision of the Supreme Court which already said this is blatantly unconstitutional in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld).
When I began writing this article, one of the most grievously theocratic members of Congress, Senator Rick Santorum, had just been ousted. The race had just been called for his opponent with a spread of over 20 percentage points. The Senator who compared the war in Iraq to the eye of Sauron looking at Mordor, who argued that sodomy laws were needed to “protect society,” and who compared homosexual acts with “man on dog” acts, had been defeated. This Senator—who, scarily enough, had presidential aspirations—has been shut out for good. The public soundly rejected his theocratic lies and his support for an administration that seems to only come up with unworkable and unconstitutional policies.
I can only hope that this will serve as a wake-up call to the Republican Party.
Maybe they will move to kick out the theocratic statists that have lately come to dominate the discourse in the party. Maybe they will return to being the party of Goldwater rather than the party of Santorum. Maybe, just maybe, they will realize these Democrats were not only elected by liberals and moderates, but by true conservatives like me. Maybe they will agree with John McCain that the party has become about “power over principles” and that it has gotten too far away from true conservative principles.
If not, expect a repeat in 2008 and beyond as the conservative wing of the G.O.P. leaves for good.