Carol Platt Liebau: Criticizing DeLay

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Criticizing DeLay

Here's some criticism of Tom DeLay -- and, more generally, politicians on both sides of the aisle -- to which I subscribe wholeheartedly.

Aside from being just plain wrong (and vaguely un-American, in my view), the problem is that when public officials are living like grandees, it will always hit Republicans harder than Democrats, because we are supposed to be the party of smaller government.

Fine for congressmen like Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) to declaim "I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen." That's because the Democrats are the party of Big Government. They believe Big Government is good, that it is superior to private-sector solutions, and people who are part of it derive their status vicariously from its importance. In some sense, voters don't expect anything better from them.

But Republicans traditionally have believed (correctly, for my money) that Big Government too often is greedy, oppressive, inefficient, spirit-killing and initiative-stifling. In recent years, Republicans -- comfortably ensconced in the majority (at least in the House) for more than a decade -- have decided to gamble, betting that by buying into the Big Government model they can silence their critics on the left, who claim they don't "care" about poor people.

Yes, well, nice try. We've learned that outspending Democrats doesn't buy any good will -- any more than having Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Alberto Gonzales as close advisors convinces those inclined to hate the President that he isn't a racist. No matter how much Republicans spend, Democrats and the left will always claim that they're uncaring racists -- because that's the best (albeit dishonorable) card in the Democrats' deck.

It seems to me that, in the end, it's a big mistake to start playing an opponent's game -- and tailoring a political approach to the goal of neutralizing criticism that's invalid ab initio. By buying into the Big Government model, Republicans have been complicit in helping our legislators forget that they're not supposed to be our "ruling class" -- they're supposed to be working for us. All of us -- including me -- who have kept silent about the ever-increasing spending have to accept our share of the blame. And then fix it.

If the Republicans can go back to being the party of small government -- so much the better! Don't apologize for it -- explain why spending other people's money through a vast and too often feckless bureaucracy really doesn't equate with "compassion."

And check out Porkbusters.


Blogger cookie jill said...

Carol -

Democrats are not the party of BIG Government. We are for government that works for the benefit of people, of human beings.

Republicans are the party of government for the enrichment of themselves.

1:00 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Democrats are not the party of BIG Government. We are for government that works for the benefit of people, of human beings.

Democrats are the party of SAYING they work for the benefit of people. No question about that. I'm sure they mean well, but after decades of failed social programs, can we start judging the results?

Republicans are the party of government for the enrichment of themselves.

That is the tiredest of tired rhetoric. The wealthiest members of Congress are all Dems, and all (with the exception of Corzine) are trustfund babies, to boot.... well okay, John Kerry married into his.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Orphan in Bama said...

cookie jill...please post exactly what the democrats have done lately. I mean besides the constant carping.....


6:17 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

I have to agree with Cookie Jill, here. (I know you are all amazed.)

In the past 4+ years, President Bush (Dubya not Herbert Walker) has increased discretionary domestic spending by a larger percentage than LBJ did in over 6 years in office, and Bill Clinton did in 8 years in office.

It is fairly clear who the party of BIG spenders is here.

Soueeeeeee, pig, pig, pig... Got some nice no-bid contracts for all y'all. Soueeeeee, pig, pig, pig...

7:02 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

The party of big spending is the party that... has control over where to spend the money.

As I've been telling all the Socialists around here in Maryland, give the GOP time and they'll be pimping for your vote just like the Dems have done for the previous 6 decades.

5:04 AM  

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