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Bush’s GOP, however, is making a Democratic pitch to libertarian-minded voters more credible. The Republican Party is rapidly losing its identity as the party of fiscal responsibility and small government. And Republican intrusions into private and local affairs — think Terri Schiavo — are making Democrats look comparatively restrained.br> Sager is correct when he argues that President Bush’s love for big government has the potential to hurt Republicans. But he is exactly wrong for implying Christian conservatives are responsible for Bush-era profligacy. How can Sager, or any libertarian, argue with a straight face that the Religious Right is responsible for the Medicare Modernization Act, the bloated transportation bill, or the energy bill pork platter? (As for “Republican intrusions into private and local affairs,” Sager evidently needs reminding that Congressional Democrats, too, voted to intervene in the Schiavo affair and hardly stand to gain from the incident.)
Moreover, are there any political consequences to Republican fiscal irresponsibility? Are libertarians going to run them out of office? Hardly. To grasp the sheer political weakness of small-government conservatives consider what happened when Republicans acted on the myth they created about their 1994 revolution. When newly empowered Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tried to cut spending on several federal programs, recently neutered (politically, that is) President Bill Clinton handed him his hat in the government shut-down debacle. No successful politician has attempted to reduce seriously the size of the federal government since. That is probably because, despite political lore, the 1994 election had a whole lot more to do with “moral values” than “smaller government.”p>Sager is not alone in overstating the impact of the libertarian Right. Glenn Reynolds has posed arguments similar to Sager’s in the past: br> /p>
It’s certainly true that the Libertarian Party is trivial. But libertarian-leaning Republicans and independents are far more numerous, and have less reason to stick around given that their agendas aren’t getting much attention. What’s more, if libertarian-leaning conservatives line up against the Republican agenda, it’s likely to worry swing voters far more than if criticisms come only from the usual suspects of the left.br> … and has even found his worldview confirmed by the off-year elections of 2005: br>
I also think that I may have been right in suggesting that the GOP had lost its mojo with the Terri Schiavo affair. Things seem to have started to go south then, not only because of the issue itself, but because of the divisive venom that so many Schiavo partisans aimed at people who disagreed with them. I think it was very damaging to the GOP coalition, and they’ve continued to pay a price.br> And yet, as I pointed out at the time, while no faction of the GOP can claim the 2005 election vindicated their respective public policy catalogues, the “Prayerbook Right” easily outperformed the “Pocketbook Right.”
Yet despite their political impotency, the libertarian Right appears bent on bringing down the one political movement that has tolerated its know-it-all-ism and has in fact dragged it into the halls of political power along with it, rather like a ball and chain: the Christian Right. It is beyond arguing that a Democrat Congress would ever grant a hearing to small government libertarians come budget time. Under a Republican majority, made possible by the rise of politically active conservative Christians, the libertarian Right has had every opportunity to appeal for smaller government. That its appeals have been — and continue to be — unpersuasive cannot be the fault of Religious conservatives.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?