Tags: Republicans | Revive | Big | Government

Republicans Revive Big Government

Tuesday, 20 September 2005 12:00 AM

I must be dreaming. This must be Wonderland, where deficits count as surpluses, and the more you spend, the more you have.

That must be true, because how else could we be fighting a war with no end in sight, with journalists abducted and killed in broad daylight, with government officials openly admitting that they go to work afraid every day, not knowing whether they will come home at night; and then at the same time, go on the biggest public spending spree in our history?

No offense, but when my friend Donna Brazile is the first to sign on, you know it's big.

And it's Republicans who are telling me that you don't have to pay for any of it. None at all.

Isn't that Tony Blankley, the editorial page editor of The Washington Times, telling Jon Kasich, who used to be House Budget chairman, that there is such a thing as a free lunch after all? It is.

You can rebuild all of New Orleans, better than new, while we're being shot at every day in Iraq and rebuilding there, as well – and the beauty of it is, we can cut taxes, run deficits and keep interest rates low, and it's no more than what any president would do.

It must be a dream. Where's Bill ...

But no, this is the New Bush Plan.

It was Bill Clinton who declared that "the era of big government is over." And now it is George W. Bush who has revived it.

As the late, great Paul Tully used to say, "Who'd a thunk it?

If you define Democrats as people who believe in top-down, big-government-based answers to local problems, where you make the promise first and figure out how to pay for it later, which is not how I would define myself, but is certainly how many of our critics have defined us for years, then the conclusion seems unmistakable that George Bush is a pro-life, big-spending capital D Democrat. He is, admittedly, a pretty rare breed by Democratic standards: socially conservative, fiscally irresponsible – but there seem to be a slew just like him these days among the leaders and talkers on the Republican side. Maybe we should give them their own caucus.

Certainly, any president who presided over the destruction of a major American city would have to also preside over its rebuilding, but Bush has been forced to promise more than most because of his falling poll numbers.

And why are those numbers falling?

Because he responded slowly, yes. But also because the peace effort is going slowly, worse than slowly, and it's much easier to be angry with the president about New Orleans than Baghdad, because there are no troops to worry that you're not supporting.

The problem is that the same vulnerability that forces him to do more constrains him from paying for it, and thus only increases his vulnerability in the long run.

So Bush doesn't go to New Orleans at all, buzzing it in his 747, instead, and then he goes not once but five times. He ignores the early pleas for help, then promises a $300 billion aid program to turn it into a true Wonderland.

Next thing you know, they'll be telling me deficit spending is good for the economy, and they'll be calling this a stimulus package.

Some people might say he is trying to throw money at the problem and buy his way out of his troubles. But those people would be his friends, and they don't know what to say. Who can blame them?

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I must be dreaming. This must be Wonderland, where deficits count as surpluses, and the more you spend, the more you have. That must be true, because how else could we be fighting a war with no end in sight, with journalists abducted and killed in broad daylight, with...
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2005-00-20
Tuesday, 20 September 2005 12:00 AM
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