February 28, 2016

David Stockman on the Fall of the GOP

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

David Stockman writes:

The fact is, the GOP has mutated into the Warfare State party. Nestled comfortably in the Imperial City, it operates a plethora of special interest rackets which underwrite its incumbents’ bi-annual electoral campaigns out in the provinces.

In the interim, GOP politicians idle their time in the capital and on foreign junkets conjuring and embellishing scary stories about terrorist threats and hostile regimes. So doing, they perceive enemies of the American Imperium to be stalking the planet everywhere and even creeping onto these exceptional shores.

In a word, as the party of the Warfare State, the GOP’s main business has become promoting the agenda, campaigns, machinations and glory of the Imperial City. Whenever its pro forma rhetoric about small government and fiscal prudence becomes inconvenient to the needs of the military/industrial/surveillance complex or the fund-raising requirements of its special interest rackets, the GOP’s putative conservative economics platform quickly becomes “inoperative” in the Nixonian vernacular.

There is no better prototype for the new GOP than Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain. Their agenda consists exclusively of promoting and superintending Washington’s foreign projects, occupations, alliances and maneuvers. Cycling through Tel Aviv on a regular basis, showing up on the battlements of Kiev and lecturing the Chinese about maritime law in international waters, for example, they comically imitate the first century Roman Senators they fancy themselves to actually be.

Yet after decades in Washington they and most of their Senate colleagues have accomplished nothing that resembles the old Republican verities. In fact, during 2000-2006 when Republicans controlled the Congress and the White House, not a single welfare state program or agency was eliminated or even reformed, while vast new expansions of education, Medicare, agriculture, alternative energy subsides and much more were piled on the pre-existing heap of state.

Accordingly, the Federal spending share of GDP grew faster than at any time in history; and the $4 trillion worth of new national debt incurred during the eight Bush years smashed all prior peacetime records.

Even when the likes of Graham and McCain occasionally took time from their foreign adventures, it was not to lead a charge on shrinking the Welfare State or balancing the budget. McCain famously embraced the Wall Street bailouts in the fall of 2008, thereby ending once and for all GOP credibility on the sanctity of free markets and opposition to crony capitalism.

Graham was worse. He embraced the dubious science of global warming, the carbon tax and the vast expansion of the regulatory state that policy implies.

In all, the GOP establishment has become an integral part of the Washington ruling class. It has no passion——only lip service—–for the anti-Washington predicate on which the party was founded.

The entire piece is here.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com