October 2002 Archives
October 3, 2002
Ed Crane from Cato presents a powerful citique of the Republicans and the Bush administration from the libertarian POV in this piece in the FT. The Republican Party used to be (under Reagan) a party of ideas and a leading idea was limited government. That idea seems all but abandoned these days as the Bush team seems intent on winning support for the wars on terrorism and Iraq and on winning back control of the Senate. Worthy goals but at what cost? Reagan managed to fight the Cold War (and win) and against big goverment at the same time. Excerpt:
Perhaps the most egregious example of this is the issue of Social Security reform. One of the few initiatives that Mr Bush has put forward that would reduce the government's domestic role is the idea of allowing at least partial privatisation of Social Security. A Zogby International poll conducted this summer shows that, despite corporate malfeasance and declining stock prices, 68 per cent of Americans favour some form of Social Security privatisation. Yet the Republicans in Congress, their incumbency protected by campaign finance restrictions and computer-designed district borders, are loath to consider anything that might prove controversial. A typical Republican stance is the statement of John Swallow, the GOP candidate in the second congressional district in Utah, who has said: "Democrats across the nation are touting that Republicans want to 'privatise' Social Security. Nothing could be further from the truth."
The truth is, Republicans do not want to do much of anything, other than retain political power. That separates them from Democrats who do, in fact, have an agenda they want to pursue - one that would have the tendrils of government reaching into every corner of civil society. Until the GOP rediscovers its principles - and the fact that most Americans share them - its prospects for the mid-term elections depend almost entirely on international affairs.