Told you so

Well, I did, the day after the 2008 election, in a post titled Well, There You Go Again, I warned that the Democrats would mistake voter anger at Bush for a mandate to rush toward socialism and the voters would recoil. And they did.

I did not foresee the rise of the Tea Party movement and the swiftness of the Democrats fall, but nobody’s perfect.

Now we will see if the Republicans will make the same mistake and believe the voters anger at the excesses of the Democrats will be mistaken for a mandate to advance their social issues agendas. It is not, this is a rebellion of the voters against the excesses of government, not a choice for different excesses.

The people want stability  in policy and recovery from the reckless spending and failed stimulus programs. They want government to play by the rules, to be open and honest and not pass unread laws in the dark of night. They don’t want vote buying programs charged to their grandchildren’s credit cards. They understand better than their representatives that the economy does not need to be stimulated, it needs to be unburdened.In many ways, what the Tea Party has asked for, perhaps without realizing it, is for the GOP to be more like us Libertarians.

With control only of the House of Representatives for now, the GOP will be limited in its ability to make sweeping changes, the Democrats still control the Senate, and President Obama still has the Veto. But the House does have the power of the purse, as all revenue and appropriations must begin in the House, and the GOP should use that as a veto of its own.

When the Obama administration was unable to get a Carbon Tax or Cap and Trade measure even through the Democrat controlled Congress, it simply did an end around and will use the EPA to regulate CO2 without the consent of Congress. Similarly, when the Courts and the Congress rebuffed Obama on his ill considered six month moratorium on offshore drilling, the EPA simply instituted a new application process which will add far more than six months to the time required to start a new well.

So, what can the GOP do about that? Well, since the EPA clearly has excess resources available to it and can meddle in matters not in its intended mandate, the House can cut the EPA budget about 25% to focus their efforts on their core mission. If they persist in going around the intent of Congress, then further cuts would be in order.

The same applies to the BATF and the assorted Czar’s currently exercising powers contrary to the will of Congress.

Of course, exercise of that budgetary restraint will not be greeted with acclaim by the Press, so most of all, the new GOP Congress must communicate with the voters and do so with total honesty and transparency, making sure the voters understand the limits to their power and the purpose of their actions, and that mending what is wrong will take time and sacrifice.

The voters turned on the Democrats with amazing dispatch,  they could do the same for the Republicans if they do not maintain trust with the voters. If they waste that trust trying to hassle people about their sex lives  or demagoguing about illegal aliens instead of getting down to the business of reining in a government out-of-control, two years from now could as easily be their downfall as their triumph.

We Libertarians will be waiting to applaud them or replace them depending on their actions.

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4 Responses to Told you so

  1. Robert Lawson says:

    “If they waste that trust trying to hassle people about their sex lives or demagoguing about illegal aliens instead of getting down to the business of reining in a government out-of-control, two years from now could as easily be their downfall as their triumph.”

    I could not agree more. Unfortunately, my “gut instinct” tells me that the statism of conservatives in regards to social issues will rear its ugly head and take center stage as soon as the economic situation becomes a non-issue due either to the economy getting better or everyone forgetting about the economy (just like they’ve forgotten about the Wars).
    There’s even been some talk at Hampton Roads Tea Party meetings I’ve been to about “restoring the prominence of the Judeo-Christian religions in America.” To me, that is a very bad omen for the future of the Tea Parties and individual liberty under a GOP Congress.

    • Don Tabor says:

      Keep in mind that the Tea Parties have no structured leadership. Anybody can attend and anybody can say anything they want. That doesn’t mean anybody is taking them seriously.

      As a matter of consensus, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. The Tea Party folks I know very carefully tread around those matters to concentrate on limited government and fiscal responsibility.

      • Robert Lawson says:

        That is a good point.
        However, I think the conservative/statist stance on social issues is something many in the Tea Party assume it supports without saying so. My worry is that the Tea Parties will gradually shift to supporting statism in the social areas BECAUSE it is something that is unspoken – so no one will think to dissent from that until the religious right is already there in the Tea Party and entrenched.

        Maybe I’m sensitive because I’m not part of that “Judeo-Christian national heritage” but I do feel there is some cause for concern from independents, social liberals, and libertarians in the Tea Party: The “leader,” Karen Hurd, of the HRTP has stated that morality should be legislated by government and since morality can “only come from God” we should legislate religious norms. She has stated she supports government banning or restricting drugs and alcohol because “they harm other people beside the user.” One of the “HRTP Partners” listed prominently on their website is “STAND” which is aimed at “preserving our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

        It is things like that which cause me to keep a cautious eye on the Tea Party movement. I sincerely HOPE libertarians can have enough influence within the Tea Party to change people’s minds about their social statism. However, I am not holding out hope and am certainly wary because, if the religious right does gain power/influence, that will bode very well for people like myself who are not a part of that “Judeo-Christian heritage” because we will be the first ones the religious right will go after.
        While you may not think it is a serious issue, I hope you can understand where I am coming from in my skepticism and cautiousness regarding these social issues in the Tea Party. These are not going to be social issues which affect someone else that you or I don’t know… these have the potential to directly impact my life personally and that is a scary feeling to live with.

  2. Britt Howard says:

    Robert, the day the Tea Party becomes involved in pushing social issues is the day I am no longer a part of their movement. That said, I have no problem with Tea Partiers expressing their Judeo-Christian values and talk about how things should be. I believed in their freedoms of religion and expression as well as anyone elses.
    Coby Dillard may be the guy you mention from STAND. That is a different organization and can do as it likes. If it makes you feel better, Mr.Dillard publicly endorded Libertarian James Quigley over Chuck Smith who preached Christian Values thoughout his campaign. As a Republican facing party discipline, that took guts. Coby earned kudos on that one. Coby is well aware of differences between his views, Quigley, & the LP. That didn’t stop him.
    I am a bit more optimistic than you, but given the past performance of the GOP, I understand your concern. They’ll face angry voters if they get carried away with themselves.
    Nice article Don!

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