I really like reading Andrew Sullivan and his daily dish, and even though he said he "retired" from blogging he's still blogging but a lot less. A lot of the time I want to rant and rave at what he writes, but at least he provokes a response and gets debate going and questions to be asked on the front burner.
The following is from andrewsullivan.com today:
THOUGHTS ON SAGER/PONNURU: I've been following the Sager-Ponnuru debate over the balance within today's conservatism between social conservatives, big government conservatives and freedom-lovers. Latest installment here. I'm with Ryan, purely on the grounds that I think Bush conservatism has relied far too much on sectarian religious support and on expanding the power, reach and expense of the federal government. I don't buy the notion that Newt Gingirch killed off small-government conservatism and so Bush has no choice. Gingrich is and was one of the least appealing figures in American politics. His tactics were crude and dumb. To abandon every small government principle because he screwed up a decade ago strikes me as silly defeatism. Ponnuru argues further that he and others at National Review have indeed opposed Bush's big government nanny-state tendencies. (The massive exception is the anti-gay federal amendment, but let's leave that aside for the moment.) Fair enough - to a point. But try this counter-factual: If Al Gore, say, had, turned a surplus into years of mounting debt, if he'd added a huge new federal entitlement to Medicare, if he'd over-ridden the rights of states to set their own laws with regard, say, to education, if he'd put tariffs on steel, if he'd increased government spending faster than anyone since LBJ, if he'd said that government's job was to heal hurt wherever it exists, if he'd ramped up agricultural subsidies, poured money into the Labour and Education Departments, thrown public dollars at corporate America, spent gobs of money on helping individuals in bad marriages, used the Constitution as an instrument of social policy, given government the right to detain people without trial and subject them to torture, and on and on, I don't think National Review would have been content merely to nitpick. Do you? I think they would have mounted a ferocious attempt to remove the guy from office. The duplicitous, budget-busting Medicare entitlement alone should have caused an insurrection. It didn't. I think that tells you a lot about where some conservative thinkers are really coming from.
This time I couldn't agree more and have to again say, "Thank you, Andrew."
What the Bushies are doing makes LBJ's "Great Society" look like a socialistic program! On top of this, the billions going overseas and the time, money and energy being spent on social/religious issues could be used to solve a lot of the big issues much easier, for example the NCLB education fiasco & social security.
The Republicans have gone from the party of less government to big brother having his thumb on everyone. The Democrats are not even coming close to using this argument clearly. It's one of the reasons I couldn't get actively behind Kerry.
McCain, Dean and John Edwards tried to say these things in the beginning of their campaigns but were shouted down by unimportant people with inflated egos who told us what we should be worried about [read Rove et al, here] and political strategists who told them it wouldn't fly.
Where do we go from here?
just think about it...