There’s an old saying: Republicans get elected saying big government doesn’t work, then go about proving it.
In recent years, America has become a breeding ground for liberals. The Left has used their universal distaste for George W. Bush to recruit new footsoldiers all over America. They’ve been voting in Democratic primaries at twice the rate of the GOP primaries. They deride the President as a smirking, right-wing buffoon. And that’s probably what it says on his fan mail.
Naturally, much of liberal distaste for President Bush stems from the Iraq war. But war in itself doesn’t necessarily fall anywhere on the liberal-conservative continuum. The reason more Democrats don’t start more wars is because only one Democrat has been elected in the last 28 years. As everyone can recall, the modern-day liberal gold standard, John F. Kennedy, got us into Vietnam – and it was LBJ in 1965 who escalated our presence there. Clearly, misguided wars are a bipartisan problem.
What’s most interesting, however, is that when Bush has blundered badly with regard to domestic policy, it’s because he’s moved over to the liberal side. Dabbling in big-government solutions has delivered Bush some puzzling embarrassments, especially since much of the criticism he gets comes from the left wing. In effect, Bush has shown how ineffective, wasteful, and sometimes scary, big government can be – a lesson Bush haters should take to heart.
Take, for example, Bush’s most public embarrassment – the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort. We all remember the mass of humanity outside the Superdome without food or water, and people trapped on top of their homes waiting to be rescued. While Bush made some symbolic tactical mistakes, such as not visiting the disaster site in time, it was actually FEMA that proved to be disorganized and ineffective. Layer after layer of bureaucracy crippled the department, with few people in charge knowing what was going on. As a result, Democrats hammered away at Bush for the confusion, scoring political points along the way.
In the meantime, conservatives weren’t surprised at all at the atrocious response to the hurricane. This is the federal government, they pointed out. This is what happens when we pump money into a disorganized bureaucracy with no real accountability. The only difference between FEMA and other federal programs is that Medicaid hasn’t been underwater yet. Of course, the hush money taxpayers have shelled out to displaced victims of the hurricane has been exposed as a fraud time and time again. Who could have seen that coming?
Bush was also heavily criticized by the Left for another foray into big government: his Medicare Part D prescription drug program. While the President thought pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into helping senior citizens pay for prescription drugs would keep them off his back during the 2004 election, they hung it around his neck like a cold fish. The program actually ended up being a political liability, as Democrats successfully portrayed it as a “giveaway to big drug companies.”
Apparently, Democrats were surprised to find out that when you buy prescription drugs, it actually involves purchasing them from pharmaceutical companies. Liberals were likely confused when they found out you can’t buy bulk prescription drugs from Ben and Jerry’s. Yet if it were Barack Obama that proposed the program, Democrats would be building monuments to him in every city in America.
Bush repeatedly failed conservatives during his tenure. His plan to grant expedited citizenship to illegal immigrants flopped badly. He never pushed for his plan for personal retirement accounts, instead allowing Democrats to scare and confuse seniors by labeling it “privatization” of Social Security. (Democrats’ Plan B to confuse seniors was to explain to them what a “stop sign” is.) Ironically, liberals savage Bush’s attempts to expand wiretapping of terrorists. Of course, wiretapping isn’t necessarily a “liberal” ideal, but let’s be honest – electronic surveillance of citizens is much more often associated with oppressive socialist regimes, not capitalist, free market societies.
So I’d like to welcome our liberal friends over to our side. Their repudiation of George W. Bush is proof that they, in their hearts, know that big government doesn’t work. In many ways, to reject Bush is to reject the notion that government can solve our problems for us. Until, of course, President Obama magically transforms the federal government into a finely-tuned bureaucratic machine.
-March 13, 2008
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