Friday, January 22, 2010

What a great week -- Digging ourselves out of the Bush/McCain holes
Mike Rappaport

It now seems that Democratic health care restructuring is dead.  And the Supreme Court has declared much of McCain Feingold unconstitutional.  Politically, it doesn't get much better than that.

But it is important to realize who put us in the situation where these actions were needed.  It is old news, but let us not forget that Bush's squandering of the small government, prudent spending issue did much to allow the Democrats to secure their dominance in 2009.  And while McCain was probably a goner in the election once the economy tanked, he could have done much better.  He might, for example, have announced he was against the bailouts.  That would have been a dynamic, risky move during the election -- supposedly something McCain does.  Instead, he ran to Washington to help with the bailouts.   

But the Bush/McCain irresponsibility is most on display concerning the campaign finance provision struck down today.  Of course, McCain was responsible for McCain-Feingold.  But Bush in a way is more at fault.  He signed the bill.  He didn't need to, but he did.  He thought the Supreme Court would declare it unconstitutional, but it didn't, not at first anyway.  It is only now, many years later, that the court finally reversed itself.   

Its a great week, but let's realize that a Ronald Reagan never would have gotten us into this type of problem.  He consistently fought big government, handing the Presidency to George Bush I (who of course squandered it).  And Reagan vetoed the Fairness Doctrine, not relying on the Supreme Court.  It is big government Republicans who are at fault here.  And hopefully the new Republicans who will be gaining power, with the boost of the Tea Parties, will be the smaller government variety.

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Mike Rappaport


Eh? Ronald Reagan was a big spender. And a big deficit spender. And he raised taxes. He's the first of the big government conservatives. He just never admitted it. But actions speak louder than words.

Please try to raise the discourse here above the tea party level.

Posted by: Facts | Jan 22, 2010 5:46:47 AM

Ronald Reagan consistently spoke for limited government, but he also grew it a lot ... Bush was much better than his father for limited government, and had a much less supportive political environment than Reagan. I think you underestimate Bush. Most of his errors he was pushed into by the McCain wing of the party; he had to surrender to McCain or lose to the Democrats, and chose McCain as the lesser evil.

Bush was a lousy speaker, that's for sure. But he was a good man.

Posted by: pj | Jan 22, 2010 5:47:10 AM

Well it's interesting, McCain lost, but his campaign was the beginning of the revolt against the Republican Party leadership that we are seeing bear fruit now. If you attended a McCain-Palin rally, you saw that this was not a typical Republican gathering--it looked rather more like an Allman Brothers concert than the usual button-down crowd. Some of these people are not very sophisticated and some are downright frightening. But there are certain basic truths that they have gotten the Party back in touch with and that are vital to conservative success. For better or for worse, I think that this is just the beginning.

Posted by: mike livingston | Jan 22, 2010 8:10:48 AM

Reagan strove to cut spending. If you read David Stockman's book he was fighting a losing battle with the Democrat congress who never cut any spending.Even the Grace commission was ignored.
Further, I remember Bush Sr. blowing $400 billion to fix the bank collapse that he ignored for months as it quietly ballooned because he had a reelection campaign to run. I remember Sen. Gonzalez , RIP, screaming about it when the problem was only $60 billion to fix.

Posted by: athena | Jan 22, 2010 2:03:58 PM

Anyway, it was a good week:)

Posted by: athena | Jan 22, 2010 2:12:25 PM

Some of the early commentators have their facts wrong -- facts and pj. Take a look at this post I wrote from last month. Reagan was the best of all Presidents on domestic spending going back to at least Eisenhower.

Posted by: Mike Rappaport | Jan 22, 2010 9:57:37 PM

Opps -- I left off the link:

Posted by: Mike Rappaport | Jan 22, 2010 9:57:56 PM

Part of the problem is the parties, part of it is election rules that allow crossover voting in primaries (e.g., Democrats for McCain), part of it is campaign-finance rules that make it difficult for anyone other than rich guys, and lowest-common-denominator hacks who can raise money, to run. A large part of it is the temperament of the voters. Small-govt candidates who libertarians and conservatives could support haven't gotten far in presidential elections since Reagan. The candidates themselves may be the least of the issue, and their flaws are usually clear before the election to anyone who will look (this was the case for both W and Obama).

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 23, 2010 8:24:49 AM