Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just Because Democrats Are Terrible, that Doesn't Mean Republicans Are Good

Howie Rich has a very good column at He asks whether Republicans have learned any lessons during their time in the minority, specifically whether they recognize that bloated and wasteful spending under Republicans is just as bad as bloated and wasteful spending under Democrats:

The GOP’s new revisionist message was summed up in a billboard that appeared recently on Interstate 35 in Wyoming. “Miss me yet?” a smiling picture of former President Bush asks passing motorists. In a word? “No.” What this theory of “Republican revisionism” lacks is even a tangential basis in fact. That’s because Republicans – at least prior to the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic President in 2008 – were engaged in precisely the same policies they now spend all of their time railing against. ...Republicans are no strangers to massive government overreaching. For example, President Bush responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks by creating a huge new government bureaucracy... Meanwhile, he supported the unconstitutional suppression of free speech by signing so-called “campaign finance” reform, dramatically stifling the ability of the public to criticize incumbent politicians. ...Bush and his cronies loved pork barrel spending, too. In 2005 – over the strenuous objections of taxpayer advocates – he signed a massive $286 billion transportation bill that included 6,371 pet projects inserted by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. ...Bush and his GOP allies also fought to create new entitlement spending – including a prescription drug benefit to Medicaid that has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. They federalized education with No Child Left Behind... Republicans are quick to forget that Bush is on the hook for a considerable portion of the unsustainable spending that is currently driving our debt even further into the stratosphere. Indeed, Bush cemented his anti-free market legacy in late 2008 with the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and tens of billions of dollars worth of automotive bailouts – additional examples of his kneejerk tendency to resolve every crisis faced by the nation with an unprecedented expansion of government power and taxpayer debt. Was Bush a better steward of your tax dollars than Obama? Yes – but that’s the problem. Getting mugged worse the second time around doesn’t absolve the first thief of his culpability.

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