Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Less government is real change

True conservatives just want a turn
After 15 or 20 years of steady moderation, many conservatives think it might be time to give their ideas a try.

Bush's "compassionate conservatism" was promoted as an alternative to traditional conservatism. Bush promised to be a "different kind of Republican," and he kept that promise. He advocated government activism, and he put our money where his mouth was. He federalized education with No Child Left Behind -- coauthored by Teddy Kennedy -- and oversaw the biggest increase in education spending (58%) in history, according to the Heritage Foundation, while doing next to nothing to advance the conservative idea known as school choice.

With the prescription drug benefit, he created the biggest new entitlement since the Great Society (Obama is poised to topple that record). He increased spending on the National Institutes of Health by 36% and international aid by 74%, according to Heritage. He oversaw the largest, most porktacular farm bills ever. He signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a massive new regulation of Wall Street. His administration defended affirmative action before the Supreme Court. He pushed amnesty for immigrants, raised steel tariffs, supported Title IX and signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation.

Oh, and he, not Obama, initiated the first bailouts and TARP.

Now, not all of these positions were wrong or indefensible. But the notion that Bush pursued conservative ideas with "dogmatic fixity" is dogmatic nonsense.
When is the last time that wasteful federal government programs were completely eliminated? When was the last time that the budget was less than the year before? When was the last time the government's solution to a particular problem was to do nothing and allow the market to fix the problem?

Barack Obama ran his 2008 campaign on the vague notion that he would bring change to Washington. Unless you think that making things worse is the "change we've been waiting for," he hasn't. He's only offered more of the same: More big government programs, more spending, more regulations, more government control of private companies, more taxes, more debt and less individual liberty - i.e., more liberalism. Less taxes, less spending (in real dollars), less regulation and more individual freedom is REAL CHANGE and that's what Americans want and that hasn't been tried in an eternity. That's what conservatives can offer to the country and that's what conservatives need to do if and when they are given the opportunity to govern.