Men have been seeking the Holy Grail for two thousand years. The Republicans sought the American political equivalent - control of the White House and both chambers of Congress - that had eluded them since the first year of the Eisenhower Administration, for almost five decades before they finally solidified it in 2002. Now, in just four short, but alienating years, they have lost it. Probably for a long time. And with good reason. After years and years of arguing for limited government, individual rights, free enterprise, and a strong national defense, they swept into decisive control of Congress in 1994 in a record-setting repudiation of a new President.
Then they promptly turned their collective backs to the voters who finally had believed their message. First, they backed down in the 1995 budget battle, enabling a thoroughly-discredited Bill Clinton to win a second term. Then they adopted the re-election guaranteeing practice of pork-barrel budgeting patented by the Democrats, and over the next ten years increased federal spending 500 percent faster than the growth in population. They inaugurated the largest new federal spending program in forty years (Medicare Part D). They let the Federal Register to continue to add an average of 200 pages PER DAY of new regulations which further hampered the ability of individuals and business to manage their own lives. They artificially recharged the building of an economic house of cards with record deficit spending which, in turn, created a national security threat of foreign control of our dollar.
Finally, even in the face of a new era of international terrorism, they ignored a massive foreign invasion across our borders and instead focused on monitoring our telephone calls. It was hardly a recipe for Republicans to keep the respect and support of their own voters, who had high hopes when Bush II was elected, let alone gain new ones. Now they've been spanked. With Democrats in control of Congress, you will now see a full-scale assault on the White House.
They will likely send up legislation for all sorts of new programs, including Medicare-for-all national healthcare. After decades of incremental growth of government, the Democrats will now swing for the fences. President Bush, assuming he withstands the inevitable calls for his impeachment, will probably be forced into finally exercising his veto power.
This, however, will only serve to set the stage for 2008. The Democrats will be able to point to Bush's roadblock to their heartfelt efforts to save the nation, and the obvious answer will be to reward them by turning over the Presidency to their stewardship as well. Does any of this matter? On a practical level, probably not. Both parties have now proved to be equally keen on Big Government solutions. This is why Republicans will be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future - they either abandoned their own long-espoused philosophy as soon as they got into power or else they just flat out lied to their supporters all along.
It will take a long time to repair that party. "Big Government" is the American political euphemism for socialism. After fighting it worldwide for the better part of the last century, we are now rushing hand-in-hand to embrace it.
Robert V. Wickes is an Ordinary Joe who believes that other Ordinary Joes need to educate themselves about the reality of the American political system. Learn more at http://www.mythamericabooks.com