wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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The thing in the bathtub

My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.
-Grover Norquist

One of the things I don't do often enough is sit down and talk politics with windelina. The reason I say that is because in spite of the fact that we're both fairly partisan people, we do sometimes agree on some fundamental things...such as the Federal government being way too rich and powerful. I have to admit I was surprised, as we chatted over the quesadillas and burritos, to hear this sort of thing from her. Isn't the default DFL position that bigger government is better, and that the cradle-to-grave welfare states of Europe are the model we should be following? Isn't the default GOP position that we should be wedging dynamite under the cornerstones of the Energy, Education, and Transportation Departments after giving all the bureaucrats their pink slips so they can join the Amtrak and CPB employees in the private sector?

On the other hand, after the unrestrained gluttony practiced by our Congresscritters these last five years with no vetoes by W to stay their snouts, one can be forgiven for becoming confused...things are almost at a pass where I'm half hoping Tom DeLay gets convicted. No, I don't really think he's guilty of having violated some dumbass campaign finance regulation, but I do think he deserves some kind of payback for having sold the fiscal conservative wing of the GOP down the river in return for accepting the old New Deal model of political success: if you can't convince them to join you, bribe them with pork.
This is bad If for no other reason than that it satisfies the cynics who maintain there really isn't any difference between the Democrats and the Republicans after all, and I don't think that's a good thing.

I suspect windelina, like a lot of other Democrats, is waking up to something Republicans used to take as an article of faith: big government is inherently bad, because sooner or later it's going to be run by people who don't see things the way you do. When that day comes, they're liable to use all that gubmint power to put the screws to you, and the consquences of that sort of behavior can be seen as far back as the Roman Republic. So maybe we're seeing federalism finally getting its own Strange New Respect award, though in this case it's not the recipient but the awards committee shifting ideological ground. Sure, the Kos Kidz and O-Dub may still dream their feverish dreams about a Great Angry Leftist Revolution just around the corner, but I think most Democrats are a lot smarter than that.

I'm seeing the Porkbusters project as a promising sign in this regard. Bloggers from both ends of the political spectrum are piling onto this effort, and Jeff Jarvis thinks it might be the leading edge of an internet-based movement to hold Congress responsible for this kind of nonsense and pressure them into stopping it. Perhaps the movement needs a catchy slogan, something like "Don Young delenda est!" (Hey, it worked for Cato, right?)

I think a lot of the interparty/Red State-Blue State hostility has its roots more in the NYDCLA media culture and its obsessive focus on conflict than it does in reality...good heavens, if we all hated each other that much I daresay the shooting would have five years ago, but instead we manage to work together, put on anime & SF conventions together, and sometimes do lunch without heaving the salsa at each other in a fit of rage. Maybe, just maybe, we can finally all agree that Washington needs to be cut down to size so that we can concentrate on the more important things in St. Paul, Des Moines, Madison, Annapolis and Richmond. I think it would do a world of good for a lot of people.
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