Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deficit Concern Jumps ... Among the GOP

I've said it before but the Republican party always do a complete U-turn once a Democrat is elected and suddenly the people who claimed that one must support your president at a time of war find it is their patriotic duty to oppose him in everything that he does.

But now, this even applies to the deficit.

By contrast, 74 percent of Republicans in the new poll expressed grave worry about the deficit, 29 points higher than in December when George W. Bush held the reins.
Suddenly, they are all fiscal conservatives again. There's utterly no surprise to any of this as conservatives under Bush defined themselves as conservatives not through policy but through loyalty to the leader.

Glenn Greenwald eloquently made that point back in February 2006:
Now, in order to be considered a "liberal," only one thing is required – a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush. The minute one criticizes him is the minute that one becomes a "liberal," regardless of the ground on which the criticism is based. And the more one criticizes him, by definition, the more "liberal" one is. Whether one is a "liberal" -- or, for that matter, a "conservative" -- is now no longer a function of one’s actual political views, but is a function purely of one’s personal loyalty to George Bush.

That "conservatism" has come to mean "loyalty to George Bush" is particularly ironic given how truly un-conservative the Administration is. It is not only the obvious (though significant)
explosion of deficit spending under this Administration – and that explosion has occurred far beyond military or 9/11-related spending and extends into almost all arenas of domestic programs as well. Far beyond that is the fact that the core, defining attributes of political conservatism could not be any more foreign to the world view of the Bush follower.

As much as any policy prescriptions, conservatism has always been based, more than anything else, on a fundamental distrust of the power of the federal government and a corresponding belief that that power ought to be as restrained as possible, particularly when it comes to its application by the Government to American citizens. It was that deeply rooted distrust that led to conservatives’ vigorous advocacy of states’ rights over centralized power in the federal government, accompanied by demands that the intrusion of the Federal Government in the lives of American citizens be minimized.

Is there anything more antithetical to that ethos than the rabid, power-hungry appetites of Bush followers? There is not an iota of distrust of the Federal Government among them. Quite the contrary. Whereas distrust of the government was quite recently a hallmark of conservatism, expressing distrust of George Bush and the expansive governmental powers he is pursuing subjects one to accusations of being a leftist, subversive loon.
And now that Bush has gone they seem to think it will be somehow plausible for them to suddenly express shock at the size of the deficit and start to distrust their government again.

For eight years they did nothing as Bush ran up deficits by fighting two wars whilst simultaneously giving tax cuts to the rich - a notion that they now define as "generational theft". Of course, in the days when they were running up the deficit to record levels this was known as "stimulating the economy".

Their hypocrisy is to be expected, this is simply what these people do.

Click title for full article.

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