How Did the GOP Become So Liberal?
Few on either the left or right would deny that America faces a great many problems today. The economy is on the brink of recession, gas and energy prices are higher than they have ever been, and dollar is frighteningly weak against the Euro and other currencies. Illegal immigrants continue to swarm past our southern border (and considering how urgent immigration reform was just a year ago, both parties seem to have shut up about the issue), and the federal government is deep in debt. It’s easy to explain that liberals bear the brunt of responsibility for these problems, but that isn’t fair. Conservatives bear responsibility as well.
Republicans have controlled Washington for six of the past seven years. For five of those years, we were openly at war with radical Islam, which relies on guerrilla terror tactics to advance its aims. In that sort of situation, protecting America’s borders would seem to be a top priority.
And if the threat of terrorists illegally entering the U.S. is not reason enough to guard the border, the financial stress caused by twelve million illegal immigrants is. It has been obvious for years that illegal immigration was out of control, and that eventually a price would have to be paid. (Right now, our options are amnesty and enforcement, both of which would be very costly). Yet Bush and the Republicans did nothing.
The federal government spends massive amounts of money—far more money than it actually has. In 2008, the federal budget was nearly three trillion. The federal budget has increased roughly $550 billion dollars a year since 2003, and George Bush has just signed into law the boldest federal aid package since the new deal. When Bush took office, the federal debt was five trillion dollars; now, it hovers around ten trillion.
Gas prices are skyrocketing, the price of oil is going up, and America may soon face a real energy crisis. Much of the problem is due to Democrat obstruction—they oppose offshore drilling and nuclear power. But if Bush had pressed for such things when he had a GOP-controlled Congress and reasonable approval ratings, it seems probable that the energy situation would be better today.
So how are conservatives responsible? Open borders is a liberal policy position, and a big government is one of the key tenets of the Left. Many of the nation’s energy woes are the result of liberal opposition to sensible measure such as off-shore drilling and nuclear power. True, George Bush bears responsibility for some of these problems, but he is hardly the embodiment of conservatism. Doesn’t the blame lie only with RINO’s and “centrists,” and not with true conservatives?
No. Conservatives have not supported Bush’s liberal policies, but they have enabled them. When Bush was busy signing the 2002 pork-laden farm bill into law, how many conservatives spoke out? (How many spoke out about the 2008 farm bill, which also received a great deal of Republican support?). When Bush proposed No Child Left Behind (which is at best ineffective and at worst a miserable and expensive failure), did conservatives oppose the law? And as Bush rapidly expanded the federal budget, did conservatives fight him?
The answer is no, mostly. Some did, but their opposition was not very vocal. For years, conservatives covered for Bush. (At least until the amnesty bill). Even as Bush saddled the government with an impossible debt, and egregiously mismanaged the Iraq War, conservatives stuck with him, and condemned anyone who criticized him. (John McCain took a lot of conservative flak for his early advocacy of the surge). Bush could always count on the conservative movement to have his back.
Some conservatives are so disgusted at the Republican party that they have decided to leave it to fend for itself, and either not vote or vote for a third party. While this feeling is, I suppose, understandable, it seems to me that this is the party conservatives paid for. When did conservatives fight against Bush’s spending, or against Republican corruption (Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young spring to mind).? They didn’t, at least not with appropriate vigor, and now we see the consequences. The Republican party has drifted away from conservatism, but conservatives have done nothing to arrest that drift.