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.