Wednesday, September 01, 2004
So, I caught Arnie's speech the other night. It was a good speech. But, as William Saletan said on Slate today:
It's telling that Schwarzenegger says he's "proud to belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan, and the party of George W. Bush." The GOP under Bush is nothing like what it was under Lincoln or even Roosevelt. The notion of wartime deficit tax cuts would have made Lincoln ill.
And that is precisely the problem. The GOP Arnie spoke of is the GOP from when I was a kid, not the party as it stands today. Schwarzenegger's ideas of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism are no longer welcome in the GOP. Sure, they give it lip service, but no moderate Republican is in any position of power amongst the hierarchy. DeLay, Hastert, Brownback...these are the men who run the party on Capitol Hill.
Let's make it real simple: There is no big tent. Maybe once there was, but that time is long-gone. The party is lurching towards something unrecognizable to Lincoln, TR, and even Reagan. A big-spending, socially-repressive, nation-building, religiously-intolerant, government-growing monolith. It's frightening. What party is there now to speak for individual freedom, limited spending and fiscal responsibility? None.
Two more Saletan quotes, which sums up what is right and wrong with Bush (as well as Kerry):
Schwarzenegger applauds Bush for taking a hard line on terrorism. So do I. Bush's clarity on this subject is his finest quality. But it doesn't make his foreign policy wise, any more than liberal piety about compassion makes liberal social programs effective. In Iraq, Bush has confused a mortal enemy with a less urgent one, and he has botched the worthy idea of American military leadership by biting off more than we can chew.
I'm no huge fan of John Kerry. He sees two sides of every one-sided issue, and four sides of every two-sided issue. But the alternative is a president who sees one side of every issue, no matter how many sides it has. Given the how many sides there usually are, and given how little effort Bush makes to learn about each issue, the odds are that, on average, he'll pick the wrong side.
As an aside to Arnie...don't use Nixon as a touchstone for free enterprise. This is the same guy who instituted wage and price controls.