Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush Republicans?

Daniel Casse attempts to explain how Reaganism can’t be the future of the Republican Party and how GWB might be onto something. Here’s the beginning of his explanation:

Rather than trying to unite his party behind less contentious issues, Bush has been steadily steering the Republican Party into policy areas where it never has never been very confident but that can no longer be ignored: healthcare, immigration, retirement. Coupled with national security, they have become some of the most contentious, pressing and divisive issues the country faces.

If he’s right (and I think that he has identified the big underlying domestic issues for the next generation), then it’s not clear that we can turn the clock back to 1980, however appealing that might seem.
 

Discussions - 15 Comments

Seems to me that 1) spending our way out of social problems, and 2) opening up the borders aren’t very good solutions. Doesn’t take a lot of leadership to accomplish that...I’m waiting for Bush to show some leadership on domestic issues by using his veto pen.

It’s beginning to become clear that George Walker Bush and Andy Card are leading this administration over a cliff.

Branding senior citizens concerned about an invasion from the south as "vigilantes."

The ports deal.

Harriet Meirs, {I’m not convinced at all that GW didn’t know her weakness, IN FACT, I think THAT’S EXACTLY what he was looking for, he never wanted to put TWO SOLID CONSERVATIVES ON THE COURT, he wanted to emulate the actions of his father, place a conservative and a non-conservative to offset, [I would like to do some checking to see too how much exactly GHWB KNEW about Souter, I no longer think that Rudman, Sununnu and Card put Souter over on GHWB, I think that Souter was consistent with the Bush’s Rockerfeller Republican inclinations]}.

A White House staff that scorns politicking.

A White House that scorns communicating, and views the prospect of actually articulating their ideas for the war as a sad drudgery.

A White House that now delivers mixed messages on the war, {the ports deal, hand holding down in Crawford, refusing to do more then offer lip service about the border}.

Then when they aren’t equivocating, they are branding the base "sexists," "elitists," "nativists" and "racists."

The budget, going from over 1.6 trillion to over 3 by the time he leaves office.

The new entitlement that 75% of SENIORS never wanted any part of.

BUT ULTIMATELY, the entire tone of the administration, which sees political combat as something to be avoided, that hasn’t taken the oppositiont to task for being in bed with Michael Moore and Hollywood, that refuses to speak the truth about the war, about our enemy, about the stakes.

It’s getting old, it’s getting real old.

Booooo! Prof. Knippenberg, you should know better than to play the ole’ "reactionary" card when anyone suggests "going back" to true, timeless principles. The principles of limited government were true in 1980 when Ronald Reagan espoused them and they are just as relevant today. In fact, they were just as relevant in 1776 when Adam Smith wrote and will be equally as relevant in the year 2176. Conservatives are defined by their belief in eternal principles--limited government among them. I am a little weary of people who used to understand this now cave into the canard that "it can’t be done," just because nobody IS doing it (most prominently our President). Limiting government has been done, can be done, and should be done. Let us not explain away political cowardice by claiming that it CANNOT be done. This is a lie.

2: Dan, you put this very well. Mega-dittoes.

Gee Dan ... you’ve woken up!


Howard Dean could have told you this in 2004, aren’t yah sorry Clinton (the original, accept no substitutes, Clinton) can’t be wheeled out to save the country?


Well ... don’t you miss him jus’ a lil bit?

First of all: Brian, hahahahahaha...

The Clintons truly are political animals, but political power was the end (telos) for Bill Clinton, never the means for something better (Hilary might be another story, but we’ll see).

Second, as a young conservative the issues brought up are very poignant to me. That said, the nature of both human beings and politics (are they different?) mean we can’t simply deport all the illegals in the country; we’re in too deep, and the real problem now is how do we TRULY Americanize them (the scenario of a majority of Mexicans with voting rights ceding chunks of California and Texas to Mexico is becoming less and less far-fetched).

In regards to healthcare, the more math and real numbers the Republicans use the better. Young people don’t want to finally embark on their careers only to find they have to support two retired folks through their federal taxes. As a wise man once said, "Men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony." Sad but true, and in regards to health care it’s in the Republicans favor.

1. It may really be and increasingly become more impossible for most ordinary people to save adequately for their retirement. What happens if the stock market is more or less flat over the next couple of decades, trends toward personal longevity continue, and the family continues to weaken? (I tell students: If you really want to solve this problem, start having babies and start smoking right now. THE PROBLEM is people having few if any kids and living a very long time.)

2. Certainly more and more people are going to be old, lonely, and not rich, and more and more people are going to die of Alzheimer’s (and be stuck with a long and expensive period of dependency). There’s no evidence that there is a wholly free market solution to this growing problem, part of the downside of our successful individualism. (I refer you to the President Council on Bioethics Report TAKING CARE.)

3. The Machiavellian-Lockean view of the Biblical commandment about honoring one’s parents should hardly be our guide now. So let me join Casse and Knippenberg in praising Bush for being open to thinking outside the Locke box on these matters.


The truth should be made available if it’s true. In this case, it isn’t, so please retract your comment, Jester.

Peter, I agree with you, truly, but prudence requires us to understand human nature and plan for the good around it. Hence, let people know they’re not going to have any spending money when they grow up because it’s supporting grandma and grandpa’s retirement, and they’re going to take social security reform very seriously.

Andrew,
The burden on th declining number of the young coming from the increasingly large, frail, and, yes, demented elderly population is going to be huge with or without social security. We’re not going to let the old folks languish in lonely misery, I hope. We’re not going to bring back heart disease and cancer as cheaper forms of death than the alternatives (both of them will, I think, rather rapidly be pushed back as causes of "premature" death). Even the help with the Mormons, evangelicals, and so forth, the birth rate is probably going to continue to decline. We’re not going to bring back the Sisters of Mercy or strong extended families etc. Something like eighty percent of caregiving in America is still done voluntarily by women. But that number is also bound to continue to decline. The number that’s steadily on the rise is 65-olds without spouses and children. WHY WILL ALL OF THIS NOT PRODUCE BIGGER GOVT.?? (Even as the safety nets of the current welfare state, including social security but also pensions of all kinds etc., seem to be in big, big actuarial trouble.)
THE QUESTION IS WHAT KIND OF BIGGER GOVERNMENT, AND HERE THE CATHOLIC PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY HAS TO KICK IN...

Do I miss the Clintons? Do I think that Dean warned me what would come with this Administration? No, and no.

My problems with the Administration would be solved by a Conservative crackdown, by the purging, by the ruthless purging of Card, Meirs, Bartlett, and just about the entirety of his political and communicative staff. And that includes Karen Hughes over at State. I would purge her just because of her general incompetence. She might have a finger on the pulse of America’s Bible Belt, but that’s about it. And I’m not even fully convinced of that. Congress is as much to blame as the incompetence of the White House staff.

While Bush’s presidency has been more controversial than Reagan’s because of less political skill, there are not substantial differences. I think that it is an illusion to split Bush and Reagan Republicans. Reagan may have been slightly more libertarian and small-government, but in nature both are the same.

Often conservatives fall into idealizing Reagan and seeing him as some super-hero of conservative small government. Sure after years of Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter--not to mention a Democratic Congress--he was a big improvement. But the fact is that he still spent a lot of money, and was plenty progressive in the way he ran government. "Reaganism" is more myth than fact; it is what we yearn for more than what we got. Therefore, Bush only significantly differs from the dream, not from the real Reagan years.

The question for conservatives is how to elect a real small government conservative like Coolidge again.

The question for conservatives is how to elect a real small government conservative like Coolidge again.

Easy. Vote Libertarian!

Vote Libertarian if you don’t give a rat’s behind for our culture or our people. Vote Libertarian if you think reducing taxes to near zero will solve most of our problems. Vote Libertarian if you want to create the most mean-spirited dog-eat-dog environment you can imagine. Ayn Rand, uber alles!

There is no way that California or Texas would leave the Union just because it might be majority hispanic.

The only way to break up the Union is by the force of arms and this Texan, just like Sam Houston, would be fighting WITH the Union and against the secessionists!

"To secede from the Union and set up another government would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you to death. It will take the flower of the country-the young men." - Sam Houston

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