I first begin to feel disappointment with President Bush in the spring of 2003 when my friend David Boaz of the Cato Institute alerted me to an Op-ed he had written detailing the Republican’s spendthrift ways. Instead of containing the size of the federal government as our party had long committed to do, Bush had expanded it — and not just for national security.
I had initially hoped that with Republicans in control of the executive and legislative branches of government for the first time in two generations, we could finally start cutting a federal government which had grown so rapidly during decades of Democratic legislative dominance.
And now with Democrats returning to power, controlling the executive as well as the legislative branches, it seems they’ll continue to push the growth that my party failed to contain. Even after the GOP’s brief sojourn in power, they didn’t succeed in eliminating any significant federal programs. Instead of Democratic policies restoring some kind of status quo ante, they’ll just build upon the growth long since in place. Our government will be bigger than ever before.
So, herewith the great irony of the 2008 elections. We’re about to have the most left-wing government in recent history, elected to replace one perceived as conservative but which was, in practice, particularly on domestic issues, anything but.
The problem is that while Democrats (and sometimes even Republicans) succeed in expanding the size and scope of the federal government, Republicans (when they are at their best) succeed only in containing its growth, not reducing its size.
With the media on the side of the Democrats and bigger government, it seems we’ll never succeed in returning to the Jeffersonian ideal of limited government. Alas for our economy, for our nation, our freedom.