People who vote Republican in the belief that the GOP is the party of small government need to get out of their codependent relationship.
Republicans claim to be the party of the head rather than the heart, the party that never lets wishful thinking trump the law of unintended consequences — unless, of course, proper reverence for the Flag or Fatherland is involved. And recognizing that actions have consequences, in the realm of foreign policy, is just a fancy way of saying “defeatism.”
Come to think of it, there really seems to be a lot of messy Freudian stuff lurking beneath that Republican facade of stern common sense, doesn’t there? Just consider how prominently accusations of being “soft” on this or that, or “getting tough” on something or other, or “showing them” or “teaching them a lesson,” figure in their rhetoric. The Republicans: party of penis envy?
Republican claims to be the party of small government are equally nonsensical.
First of all, it’s a rather odd conception of “small government” that doesn’t count the military and police as part of “the government.” It’s hard to believe that conservatism in this country was once identified with an opposition to foreign entanglements and large military establishments, or that the perpetual warfare state was originally created by liberals. In fact, the legal precedents and constitutional arguments that the neocons appeal to in order to justify their wet dream National Security State all come from paragons of conservatism like Lincoln, Wilson and FDR.
Today, we’re constantly reminded by self-described “conservatives” that loyal Americans rally around their “Commander-in-Chief” in wartime, and “politics stops at the water’s edge.” Sean Hannity got his knickers in a twist because some Democratic senator accused “our Commander-in-Chief” of lying–in (gasp) WARTIME! Not only does “politics stop at the water’s edge” for Republicans, but apparently Acton’s Law stops there as well. Seems to me that if patriotic Americans are required to suspend their normal distrust of government in wartime “for the duration,” that’s a mighty powerful incentive for the “Commander-in-Chief” to STAY at war as much as possible. As Dubya said some time or other, it’s a lot easier when you’re a dictator.
(Ever notice, by the way, that the same people so outraged that Pelosi would accuse the “heroes” in the CIA of lying were themselves making the same accusation back when it involved Valerie Plame and Doug Feith?)
It’s also an odd conception of “small government” that tasks it with making sure no two people with the same kinds of pee-pee get married, that nobody sees Janet Jackson’s tit or hears one of George Carlin’s “seven words,” and that everybody “Just Says No” to drugs (other than Ritalin and Gardasil).
But even stipulating that “small government” principles only refer to domestic economic and regulatory policies that don’t involve drugs or genitalia, the Republicans’ “free market” rhetoric is a bunch of buncombe. The Reaganite agenda of fake “deregulation” and “privatization” usually involves, in actual practice, the same kind of kleptocratic insider dealing that characterized Yeltsin’s Russia. The GOP’s “small government” economic policy, when you get right down to it, is even more corporatist than that of the Democrats–and you’ve got to go a ways to beat them.
What about the Republicans as the party of “strict constitutionalism” and “original understanding”? What that translates into in plain English, Jeffrey Toobin says, is “a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society.” Chief Justice Roberts, in every major case, “has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.” And come to think of it, I don’t recall Madison and Jefferson advocating a set of Executive “national security” prerogatives as unbounded as those of Charles I.
(Did you notice, by the way, that these enemies of “judicial activism” were pressuring Sotomayor to discover a new fundamental right–the right to keep and bear arms–among those incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment?)
You folks out there with “Democrats Care” bumper stickers shouldn’t be enjoying this overmuch. Behind all the crap about “America’s working families,” the Democrats are really just the other corporatist party. Democrats need to get over their own codependent relationship. But that’s another column.