“The Era of Big Government Is Over”

Grand Old Pragmatists, Cox & Forkum, 3/22/2005

(Cox & Forkum's “Grand Old Pragmatists”)

Lately I've been troubled. It all reminds me of a Bill Clinton quote (originally from his 1995 State of the Union Address, but expanded later) from 1996:

We will meet these challenges, not through big government. The era of big government is over, but we can't go back to a time when our citizens were just left to fend for themselves.

That was hardly true then, and hardly Bill Clinton's intention. What's going on now? The Grand Old Party is in (nominal) charge of two branches of government and often claims to be the party of smaller more accountable government. But these last few weeks we have seen some intrusiveness that can hardly be overlooked.

Ryan Sager noticed too:

In coming years, political historians might look back and try to pinpoint the day or week or month that the Republican Party shed the last vestiges of its small-government philosophy. If and when they do, the week just past should make the short list. For it was in this last week that the Republican-controlled Congress made it clear that it sees no area of American life—none too trivial and none too intimate—that the federal government should not permeate with its power.

I've resisted commenting on steroids and Schiavo, myself. They are really none of my business.

Frankly I think there should be two sports communities: one where everyone is natural and tested to an outrageous extent, and another where people can do whatever they want. Let the market decide what it wants. There might be enough interest in both. There may only be enough interest for one.

As for Schiavo, I think it's a mess I know little about. What I feel is that if there is someone competent willing to take care of her then Michael Schiavo should be able to completely sever himself from her (marriage, inheritance, lawsuit awards, whatever) and go on with his life as if they had never been together. The law made them together and it can make them apart. Unlike the abortion debate, there's no biological connection clouding the issue.

But in both of these cases the GOP has clouded the issue. In the Schiavo issue, instead of making a law protecting rights, they performed some sort of machination that allowed a Federal judge to review a State case. If there's anything broken about the legal aspects of this it's that there has been no way to produce any additional or reviewed findings of fact. Only one court had that power. If courts can review and re-review findings of law, should there not also be a way to re-review findings of fact? I'm no lawyer, but that part mystifies me.

It also mystifies me that it's legal to starve this woman to death but not a dog in the state of Florida.

In the steroid issue they held a hearing where they threatened to regulate an industry. I'm all for hearings. Congress should have the power to inform the public about a matter of national interest. Baseball players are public figures and are heroes to some youth, they should promote activities in the best interests of those youth. I'm not about to force them to do it, though. However, it didn't stop there. It seemed to me like there really was interest in regulating as an undercurrent in the affair. Ryan Sager points out one:

Still, such concerns didn't deter supposed small-government conservative Sen. John McCain from suggesting that “we ought to seriously consider… a law that says all professional sports have a minimum level of performance-enhancing drug testing.”

I've never liked Senator McCain since he came to Oregon to promote regulating gun shows, but don't let my bias throw you.

Oh well, I've never really liked sports and I stopped watching long ago. I hope I don't have to give up watching politics because they ticked me off too… Clinton's quote still resonates in my ears all these years later: “…we can't go back to a time when our citizens were just left to fend for themselves.” What we are left on our own to deal with dwindles every year, and it's not just because of middle-left Democrats like Clinton and middle-right Republicans like McCain, it's because of authoritarians who obscure the difference between the two parties with their lust for forcing everyone to their righteous path.

Update: I'm adding this to the “Beltway Traffic Jam.”

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Mar 22 2005 11:02 PM

Adjacent entries


« Washington State Senate Repeals I-601 Taxpayer Protection
Conservatives, Judges and Schiavo »





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