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The stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression caused the political parties to separate into two ideological camps, the Republicans retaining a laissez faire hands off position and the FDR Democrats developing a new meddlesome hands on one. The zenith of the divergence in thought between the two parties was reached in 1964 with the Johnson Goldwater Presidential campaign which laid the foundation for Ronald Reagan’s re-evaluation of FDR activism where he famously joked about the scary words. “We are from the Government and we are here to help you.” Ever since Democrat activists have been on the defensive while Republicans have morphed the joke to: “We are from the Government and we are here to arrest you.”
It is because of the left right political confusion that the fundamental incompatibility of free market ideology with authoritarian meddlesomeness imposing government’s blunt instrument is tolerated. Republicans with their Red State base appear to be made up of meddlesome types. There is not a political tent that can hold together a Libertarian, free market, ideology with an Authoritarian one and the sooner politicians understand that the sooner they can craft their message so that it makes sense to themselves and to voters.
Fox news and right wing punditry aside, The Obama Administration has many indices headed in the correct direction for those of us wishing for less government and more liberty. The economy is growing with private employment up and government jobs down making government smaller than in the previous Republican administration. Currently the deficit is dropping like a rock and with the poor predictive record of budget analysts could surprise us all with a surplus in the President’s last year similar to the one Clinton’s well managed Treasury handed over to Bush’s profligate one. The salutary effects of disengagement from war is quickly making itself evident with a drop in military expenditures in one month of twenty billion dollars from a year to year comparison in Afghanistan alone. Other foreign events have been dealt with a clear head and in partnership with our allies so that our unilateral foreign adventurism is gone. Finally the legislative momentum has been brought to a crawl. The prospects as articulated in the President’s last State of Union Address are so muted that there is no possibility of harm being done as the country mends itself these next few years. Obama’s legacy will be of an exceptional candidate having governed with competent leadership exposing Republican’s lame opposition.
While not inclined to embrace the Affordable Care Act it is recognized as a program within the FDR tradition of Democrats and consistent with their ideology. Secondly they had the managerial wherewithal to come back from behind and enroll many more than originally projected. It is an example of Democrat’s managerial prowess. A prowess that a Clinton Administration managed into a booming economy with huge surpluses which then turned it over to the most economically inept Republican one, ever. That there is a possibility of a surplus once again after Obama’s long hard slog thru the incredible depths handed to him may be the death knell to Republican claims of being good stewards of our economy.
Republicans raised record amounts to push a stale message developed in the eighties that lower taxes promote the economy, yet George W. Bush’s tax cuts gave us only ephemeral Wall Street profits for a few and financial disaster for many. This is so because the economic opportunity of lower taxes is currently lost to the concentration of economic power to a few wealth keepers. Alan Greenspan, an Ayn Rand Libertarian and Federal Reserve Chairman, was particularly blind to Wall Street’s concentration which betrayed Adam Smith’s free market requirement of many players acting in their self interest creating a public good. Teddy Roosevelt may have been an anathema to traditional Republicans but his trust busting was a benefit to the wealth of our nation.
The avoidance of these big picture observations and the mindless criticism of Obama fostered by Republican leaders using selective anecdotes as proofs dooms the party to a reckoning in this November’s midterm election. The sudden turnaround of the Health Care Act puts the Democrats on the offensive, especially with the deficit disappearing and the prospect of the act possibly being affordable. For example, Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett is toast for having taken what he thought was a principled stand for fiscal responsibility by not accepting the Act’s Medicaid expansion for his constituents with a need for health services.
There are some Southern Red States whose Republican governor’s made the same decision and one wonders how much longer will they be able to keep their citizens on the plantation with their call of denying healthcare to their poor and yet favor the wealth takers. An outside overview of the supposed wealth creating low tax environment of southern red states is that they are the last to recover and last as usual on every other economic indice. Yet Jason Carter, former President Jimmy Carter's Grandson, of Georgia is running a timid, rather deferential to Republican propaganda, campaign for Governor.
North Carolina currently has a Republican Governor whose policy of nurturing an economic power; Duke Energy, the Governor’s former employer, by decimating the State’s environmental agencies would normally be supported by Libertarians. Except for the fact that the Governor has asked his regulators to appeal a court decision brought by private environmentalists forcing Duke Energy to clean up a coal ash spill despoiling the State’s rivers and shoals. It appears Governor McCrory works for Duke Energy and not for the people of North Carolina when he subverts a perfectly Libertarian use of the courts to remedy an abuse of power. Crony gives Capitalism a bad name and Carolina should re-consider its Red State status when the party in charge manages the State’s resources contrary to its best interests with cynical shop worn platitudes of those who apparently have been in charge for too long.
Less Government More Freedom is a an ideal that can not be taken for granted as something that can fit into an inclusive tent which as its core is grotesquely authoritarian. Currently a Libertarian Republican is an oxymoron, emphasis on moron. The more our left right political construct can evolve toward a Libertarian Authoritarian political spectrum the clearer our judgement can be about our politicians and the values they promote. Currently the people of the State of Kentucky should retire Senator Mitch McConnell to the country club he came from. Republicans have to stop trying to convert prejudice into truth before they can be trusted to manage our country. A fresh perspective in the loyal opposition that relies on promoting, rather than denigrating, an individual would be a welcome change for the country and Libertarians.