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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 10-08-06, 09:44 AM   #1
NCMojo
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End of the Revolution?

There is a pretty good article in Time entitled End of the Revolution. I don't want to quote the whole thing -- I think too much of it deals with the Foley scandal, which in my eyes is the most minor offense perpetrated by the GOP leadership -- but it brings up some excellent points on What Went Wrong:

Quote:
After controlling both houses of Congress and the White House for most of Bush's six years in office, the party has a governing record that has come unmoored from those Grand Old Party ideals. The exquisite political machinery that aces the elections has begun to betray the platform. To win votes back home, lawmakers have been spending taxpayer money like sailors on leave, producing the biggest budget deficits in U.S. history. And the party's approach to national security has taken the country into a war that most Americans now believe was a mistake and that the government's own intelligence experts say has shaped "a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives."

One of the problems is that after the Republicans got into power, the system began to change them, not just the other way around. Among the first promises the G.O.P. majority broke was the setting of term limits. Their longtime frustrations in the minority didn't necessarily make them any better at reaching across the aisle either.
Compromise, that most central of congressional checks and balances, has been largely replaced by a kind of calculated cussedness that has left the G.O.P. isolated and exposed in times of crisis.
And later on, they speak of their overarching partisanship:

Quote:
In 2003, instead of fashioning a compromise that might woo a few Democrats, Hastert and DeLay held what was supposed to be a 15-min. vote open for three full hours as they squeezed the last Republican votes they needed to pass a bill to provide an expensive prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program. Far more than in the past, they brought bills to the floor with no chance of amendment and allowed the normal appropriations process to be circumvented so that pet projects could be funded without scrutiny. When DeLay faced indictment by a Texas grand jury, Hastert changed the Republican rules so that DeLay could stay on as leader—though in the ensuing outcry, he had to reverse himself. Hastert was successful, however, in purging the ethics committee of its chairman and two Republican members who had reprimanded DeLay for misconduct. Stretching the limits of arcane House rules and shuffling committees around may not seem like earthshaking offenses, but they are the same type of procedural strangleholds and power plays that the G.O.P. had hoped to excise from the body politic 12 years ago.

"The Republican Party of 2006 is a tired, cranky shell of the aggressive, reformist movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change," Frank Luntz, one of the strategists of the G.O.P. takeover, wrote this week in a column for Time.com. "I worked for them. They were friends of mine. These Republicans are not those Republicans."

On policy matters, Hastert's leadership approach has been to act as though the Democrats—and sometimes the Senate—simply do not exist. He squeezes hard-edged partisan bills through the House to please the G.O.P. base, even though they have no chance of ever getting through the Senate and reaching the President's desk. "There have been numerous occasions when bipartisan approaches, which would have benefited our conference more than Democrats, have been rebuffed by the Speaker," complains a senior Republican aide, who says he likes and respects the Speaker. "His strategy seems to be, 'Well, don't worry about it. We'll blame [Democratic Leader Nancy] Pelosi.' That might work in isolated circumstances, but when your party's numbers start to tank, and people want to see that you can govern, that approach is not a solid one."
At its core, the Reagan Revolution was supposed to be about fiscal responsibility and moral conservaticism. The Contract With America presented the GOP solution as a "new broom" that would sweep away corruption and entrenched constituencies. What we've ended up with is a crowd that wants to win at all cost -- it's less about what they can do with this power, and more about just holding on that power for as long as possible.

Do you believe the "revolution" is over? If so, what are the causes of its demise? And what is the future of the GOP?
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Old 10-08-06, 10:10 AM   #2
al_bundy
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the revolution ended in 1998
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Old 10-08-06, 10:17 AM   #3
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I think Bruce Willis said it best when he said "Welcome to the party, pal."
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Old 10-08-06, 01:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
lawmakers have been spending taxpayer money like sailors on leave
No.

Sailors only spend their own money.
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Old 10-08-06, 01:12 PM   #5
grundle
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I put the most important parts in bold:


http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6713

October 3, 2006

Give Divided Government a Chance

by William A. Niskanen

William A. Niskanen is chairman of the Cato Institute and was a former member and acting chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers.

For those of you with a partisan bent, I have some bad news. Our federal government may work better (well, less badly) when at least one house of Congress is controlled by the opposing party. Divided government is, curiously, less divisive. It's also cheaper. The basic reason for this is simple: When one party proposes drastic or foolish measures, the other party can obstruct them. The United States prospers most when excesses are curbed, and, if the numbers from the past 50 years are any indication, divided government is what curbs them.

Let's look at some statistics. From the dawn of the Cold War until today, we've had only two periods of what could be called fiscal restraint: The last six years of the Eisenhower administration, and the last six years of the Clinton administration, both intervals in which the opposition controlled Congress. Under Clinton, the average annual increase in spending was at about 1 percent, while, under Ike, it was negative. By contrast, our unified governments have gone on fiscal benders. Harry Truman, with the help of a Democratic Congress, sent the money flying, with spending increases of as high as 10 percent a year. Lyndon Johnson was almost as profligate. And today, unfortunately, George W. Bush, with a GOP majority, is the heir to their legacies. To put this in plain numbers, government spending has increased an average of only 1.73 percent annually during periods of divided government. This number more than triples, to 5.26 percent, for periods of unified government. That's a hefty premium to pay for a bit of unity.

Equally striking is that these spending increases have generally found the same recipient: the Pentagon. It's not that unified governments love to purchase bombers, but, rather, that they tend to draw us into war. This may sound improbable at first, but consider this: In 200 years of U.S. history, every one of our conflicts involving more than a week of ground combat has been initiated by a unified government. Each of the four major American wars during the 20th century, for example—World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War—was initiated by a Democratic president with the support of a Democratic Congress. The current war in Iraq, initiated by a Republican president and backed by a Republican Congress, is consistent with this pattern. It also stands as the only use of military force involving more than a week of ground combat that has been initiated by a Republican president in over a century. Divided government appears to be an important constraint on American participation in war. Needless to say, this reduces outlays in both blood and treasure.

There's one more advantage to tension between our governmental branches: Major reform is more likely to last. Since passing any measure in divided government requires bipartisan support, a shift in majorities is less likely to bring on serious changes or adulterations. The Reagan tax laws of 1981 and 1986, for example, were both approved by a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats and have largely survived. The welfare reform of 1996 was approved by Clinton and a Republican Congress and also endures. By contrast, any efforts during the past several years to reform the federal tax code, Medicare, or Social Security have faltered, and any changes forced through by the GOP would almost certainly be undone as soon as Democrats returned to power. Reforms of real magnitude will almost certainly depend on preventing immoderation and securing bipartisan support, and little of that seems likely in a GOP-only government.

American voters, in their unarticulated collective wisdom, seem to grasp the benefits of divided government, and that's how they've voted for most of the past 50 years. To be sure, divided government is not the stuff of which political legends are made, but, in real life, most of us would take good legislation over good legends. As a life-long Republican and occasional federal official, I must acknowledge a hard truth: I don't much care how a divided government is next realized. And, in 2006, there's only one way that's going to happen.

This article appeared in Washington Monthly on October 1, 2006.
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Old 10-08-06, 01:54 PM   #6
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That which governs best is that which governs least, and to get that, you need a divided government.

The Contract With America was intended to do one thing...get the House back after over 40 years. It nationalized local voting tendancies, and in political terms it was nothing short of brilliant.

But you can certainly see the potential of the current set up to bring us back to the glory days of Jimmy Carter. The only difference would be less tax loopholes and less taxes, so while I prefer this to that, I would think we would all be better off with split government somewhere.

Clinton had it for 2 years, and it looked to be starting the same stuff. But then he served for 6 years with split leadership, and we did quite well. It seems obvious that we need it. Probably just the nature of the beast.
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Old 10-08-06, 02:06 PM   #7
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Republicans breached the Contract With America. Thanks to them, we'll now see yet another extreme government, a liberal one, getting into office. Thanks George!

Extreme governing only breeds more extremism on the opposite end. Hopefully I'll be wrong and Dems won't go apeshit over things like the Bush Administration has.
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Old 10-08-06, 02:24 PM   #8
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It is way to far in the future to guess that. You do need to hope that the Dems get either the House of the Senate now, and that George has 2 years with a split governement. That helped Clinton. If everyone had been up for election in 1994, you would have had the same thing. Now you will have at least 2 years to let that play out (again, assuming Dems control something). Ideally you end up with the Senate under one party, the House under the other, and then the President doesn't matter nearly as much.

Naturally, I am sure that NCmojo, classicman, etc. would love to see the Dems control it all, but they probably liked 93-94.
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Old 10-08-06, 02:54 PM   #9
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In 1993-94, when the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, we were pretty much undone by our own divisions. Congressional Democrats fought with the White House, refusing to unify behind a single agenda. I think the Democrats have seen the error of their ways... but I can definitely see the schism between the DLC and the progressive wing of the party deepening over the next few years.
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Old 10-08-06, 03:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCMojo
In 1993-94, when the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, we were pretty much undone by our own divisions. Congressional Democrats fought with the White House, refusing to unify behind a single agenda. I think the Democrats have seen the error of their ways... but I can definitely see the schism between the DLC and the progressive wing of the party deepening over the next few years.
The Republicans have those same internal divisions. I think if you believe they have seen the errors of their ways for the next time they are in power, you are not understanding the make up of a politician. Unchecked, either party will get out of control quickly. And the Democrats can't get behind a single agenda any more than the Republicans can because parts of the party are diametrically opposed. You can't cater to the moral right without pissing off the rest of the party. You can't cater to the Environmental left without pissing off the Unions.
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Old 10-09-06, 01:45 AM   #11
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Divided government ain't gonna do shit.

Here's what you do: Soak the rich.

Rich fuckers, corporations... tax the fuck out of them. The working poor and middle class then don't pay anything.

And watch the government shrink before your eyes.

Really, the problem is that the income tax (and local sales taxes) put a large burden on the poor and middle-class to keep government running. And all of these people are then helpless to affect any change; the only real option is to vote for Republicans who will spend your tax money on this, and Democrats who will spend your money on that.

Instead, you shift the tax burden onto the class who actually has influence on the government, and when they're the ones shelling out for all of this shit you can bet your ass that they're going to be watching every fucking penny.

Thirty thousand a year to keep one pot-head in prison for a year? Let's legalize marijuana.

The Iraq War is going to cost a billion dollars a week? Fuck it.

What's all of this welfare shit costing us? Hell, we might as well just all of these people and put them on our payroll.
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Old 10-09-06, 10:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Divided government ain't gonna do shit.

Here's what you do: Soak the rich.

Rich fuckers, corporations... tax the fuck out of them. The working poor and middle class then don't pay anything.

And watch the government shrink before your eyes.

Really, the problem is that the income tax (and local sales taxes) put a large burden on the poor and middle-class to keep government running. And all of these people are then helpless to affect any change; the only real option is to vote for Republicans who will spend your tax money on this, and Democrats who will spend your money on that.

Instead, you shift the tax burden onto the class who actually has influence on the government, and when they're the ones shelling out for all of this shit you can bet your ass that they're going to be watching every fucking penny.

Thirty thousand a year to keep one pot-head in prison for a year? Let's legalize marijuana.

The Iraq War is going to cost a billion dollars a week? Fuck it.

What's all of this welfare shit costing us? Hell, we might as well just all of these people and put them on our payroll.
I guess it'd be fun to watch the ECONOMY shrink before our eyes. But we all know that it's the poor who drive the GDP up, not those evil corporations.

And I don't think you could possibly argue that the middle class and poor share the majority of the tax burden, it's not even close. You may be able to argue, however, that the middle class' burden should be lessened.
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Old 10-09-06, 10:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Instead, you shift the tax burden onto the class who actually has influence on the government, and when they're the ones shelling out for all of this shit you can bet your ass that they're going to be watching every fucking penny.
If they are the ones who have actual influence on the government, won't their first priority be to not be soaked?
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