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The Christian Republican Union
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This is a very apt description of President Bush...
Bush is not a conservative. He's a Christianist in social policy; and a left-liberal on entitlements.
And there, I believe, is where the Republican Party will end up if the social conservatives — the "values voters" — continues to dominate the party.

Read the platforms of the German Christian Democratic Union party, or the Finnish Christian Democrats. Consider this statement of principles...
As Christian Democrats we to want help build a society where people are willing and able to care for each other and where the weaker ones are looked after. Our aim is that initiative and enterprise in our society are rewarded. We hold up the family as the basic unit of our country but we do not forget those who live alone.
[...]
We regard our social security, health care, education and experience as common capital on which we cannot compromise. Everyone, regardless of wealth, must have adequate and high-quality basic services available without long queues. We must ensure that local authorities have the essential prerequisites to maintain central basic services.
Functionally, that's really no different than "We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move".

Perhaps a return to minority status followed by a confrontation with Democratic plans to expand government even further will revive the notion of limited government. Otherwise, if the Republican Party retains the majority for much longer with the political incentives that inevitably follow permanent campaigns, I suspect the political frame will have permanently shifted even farther to the Left.

UPDATE:

Via reader Keith, I see Boortz has a list of good questions for President Bush. A few...

Show/Hide

One answer to those questions would be that the President is simply not a conservative; President Bush is a Christian Socialist.
 
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That’s actually a pretty fair assessment of Bush’s style of governing, IMHO. The only evidence of "small-goverment conservatism" has been the tax cuts, which while effective in the short run, will be overcome by the profligate spending in the end.
Perhaps a return to minority status followed by a confrontation with Democratic plans to expand government even further will revive the notion of limited government.
Alas, this is probably true. Unfortunately, what we will get instead is a more expansive version of the same. Congress has been unbelievably irresponsible in every area of its purview, including national security. I am deeply skepical that Republicans will "get religion" once returned to the minority status, or that gridlock will in fact happen. But what other tool do we as voters really have? I guess we have to cross our fingers, punch the Dem. (and more likely than not, the Lib.) ticket and hope for the best.
Otherwise, if the Republican Party retains the majority for much longer with the political incentives that inevitably follow permanent campaigns, I suspect the political frame will have shifted permanently to the Left.
You mean this hasn’t happened already? When Republicans can only win elections by acting like Democrats, I’d say the frame was "permanently" shifted quite some time ago.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Of course, all thats makes the ASSUMPTION that the small government conservatives are the majority or plurality... in the Republican Party or in the electorate, and I’d submit that is not true. So rather than carping about how out-of-step the Republicans are, many here might profitably examine how out-of-step THEY are...

Personally, I’m a small government, social Conservative. I’m not trying to be snarky, but I get tired of the IMPLIED belief that QandO and it’s readers are the majority. It might be nice if they were, or at least 40% of the party, but you guys aren’t. Rather than complain, you need to convert...

Lastly, you ASSUME that if the Republicans lose in ’06, that they will come a’running back to your position(s). It’s just as likely they will try to be more "Progressive" as less. You assume that they will diagnose their defeat as one of not being libertarian enough and the fact is that they may decide they need to be LESS not more libertarian.

And that underscores another complaint against libertarian conservatives/Republicans. You seem to want us to be in the minority, so we’ll learn a lesson, but we might not learn YOUR lesson, as I’ve said. So rather than pull for defeat how about pulling for a victory and then changing the Party’s orientation? I don’t remember the McGovern wing of the Democrats hoping for a Democratic debacle. They took the party over from the inside. Just something for you to think on. Unless you think that a party dominated by Harry Reid, Pelosi and Chuck Schumer is going to miraculously transform into the party of your dreams.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What if tax cuts don’t get overcome by future profligate spending? Ive been reading a little about Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near recently. What if our economic growth continues as it has on its parabolic curve upwards, and tax rates can remain steady or decrease, while revenues continue to increase? At what point do libertarians say that government programs are O.K. because they dont cost the taxpayer hardly anything?

I get the feeling that Bush and Republicans in Congress keep spending huge amounts of raw dollars, because they can...without raising taxes and the budget will still be balanced in 2008
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://mooreisfatduhimstoopidilikeanncoulterandchickenfries.ytmnd.com/
You mean this hasn’t happened already? When Republicans can only win elections by acting like Democrats, I’d say the frame was "permanently" shifted quite some time ago.
Good point. I’ll amend that to "permanently shifted farther to the Left".
Of course, all thats makes the ASSUMPTION that the small government conservatives are the majority or plurality
I don’t make that assumption at all.
I get tired of the IMPLIED belief that QandO and it’s readers are the majority.
Nor have I implied it.
Lastly, you ASSUME that if the Republicans lose in ’06, that they will come a’running back to your position(s).
No. I think that a minority Republican Party will shift to "opposition", rather than enabling. Opposition, after all, being the job of the opposing party. I think that would give we limitedgov types more leverage within the Party, but I have no delusion that we’ll "take over" the party to the exclusion of the social cons.
So rather than pull for defeat how about pulling for a victory and then changing the Party’s orientation?
Winning parties have little incentive to change. Losing parties — like the Democrats after McGovern’s loss, for example — do.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Rather than complain, you need to convert...
Heh. Isn’t this just screaming out to be put on a bumper sticker somewhere?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
What if tax cuts don’t get overcome by future profligate spending?
You’re assuming a stasis in spending that isn’t very likely, and historically has not ever happened.

I agree to a certain extent that our economy will continue to expand and that tax revenues will increase (with the inevitable ebbs and flows of course), but the rate of growth in spending, specifically mandatory entitlements (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, SS), will likely far outpace any expansion of the economy. And, given Congress’ penchant for self-interest, any new expansion of the economy will only lead to more rent-seeking and more opportunities for lawmakers to spend tax dollars in search of votes come election day.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
"At what point do libertarians say that government programs are O.K. because they dont cost the taxpayer hardly anything?"
How about when it’s actually true.

For the last 40 years (at least) federal spending has been running 17-23% of GDP. Do you consider 1/5th of the economy ’hardly anything?’ Furthermore, what evidence exists that we can increase the GDP such that spending as a share of GDP will decrease to ’hardly anything?’

Finally, the Congressional Budget Office projects spending as a % of GDP could reach as high as 40% by 2075. It’s ridiculously optimistic to think we’re going to grow our way out of that. If the CBO is correct, the federal government will need to double it’s intake to maintain its obligations. And that’s assuming health care is not nationalized.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
While I agree that Bush is no real fiscal conservative, Sullivan’s analysis, like much of what he writes, (sorry, but I think the guy is a joke) is slightly off-base. The govt. entitlement rolls are expanding due to rules that were put in place before Bush was elected: "found that enrollment increased an average of 17% in the programs from 2000 to 2005."

It’s just that more people are taking advantage of the handouts, not that Bush has prevented them from doing so.

Also, there has been a push to end the estate tax. I’m pretty confident that some sort of SS reform/privatization will happen by 2009.

One more pt. about Sullivan. I wish pundits would stop calling the guy a conservative. Look at his BlogRoll. He’s about as conservative as Jim Jeffords.
 
Written By: Comment #24 Has Been Deleted
URL: http://
No. I think that a minority Republican Party will shift to "opposition", rather than enabling. Opposition, after all, being the job of the opposing party. I think that would give we limitedgov types more leverage within the Party, but I have no delusion that we’ll "take over" the party to the exclusion of the social cons.
Now THAT’S a strategy, be a minority IN A MINORITY... man you guys’ll have boo-coo influence on public policy then. Dud, better to be the machinist mate on the USS Republican than the Executive Officer of RMS Titanic.
Winning parties have little incentive to change. Losing parties — like the Democrats after McGovern’s loss, for example — do.

Oh Jon, please look at HISTORY. McGovern came to power in 1970, in the Party... the Dem’s CONTROLLED CONGRESS then. The McGovern Wing came to power in ’70 and has infuenced the Democratic Party for the last 30-plus years. Successful parties DO change, thru time. So my advice is not pull for "Divided Government" but a government that you have some say in, and thru time INCREASE your say, in the OGVENMENT, not increase your say in the PARTY. After all Kos and the D.U. crew are INCREASING THEIR INFLUENCE WITHIN THEIR PARTY, but are they increasing their influence in government?

You make a confusion between party’s and government, the real power is in GOVERNMENT, so you want control of it, not greater influence in the minority party.

And divided government is NOT good. It means very little happens... in your world that means something, but as someone here said of the Rothbardians, "They were so busy being anti-state they forgot they were supposed to be pro-liberty." you’re so busy trying to stop government action that you forget that your programs require POSITIVE action by government... a divided and grid-locked government doesn’t enact libertarian reforms, it just taxes at the current rate and spends at the curent rate.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And divided government is NOT good. It means very little happens... in your world that means something, but as someone here said of the Rothbardians, "They were so busy being anti-state they forgot they were supposed to be pro-liberty." you’re so busy trying to stop government action that you forget that your programs require POSITIVE action by government... a divided and grid-locked government doesn’t enact libertarian reforms, it just taxes at the current rate and spends at the curent rate.
I think you’re conflating two separate issues Joe. One is a tactical resonse, the other is strategic one to fiscal proflagacy.

To begin turn around, you first have to slow your forward momentum. Tactically gridlock works in that respect. It will most likely produce a government which is less likely to spend like a drunken sailor. In the time George Bush has been president, the budget has increased from 1.5 trillion to 2.8 trillion. Fiscal responsibility (and conservatisim) is nonexistant. If it takes a divided government to slow that sort of spending down, then so be it. A completely Republican government certainly isn’t the answer, or at least hasn’t been.

Once that has been accomplished then you can concentrate on the strategic aspect of the fight: influencing government by working toward electing real fiscal conservatives, arguing the merits of fiscal conservatism and fiscal restraint, getting government out of areas where it has no business, etc.

Wanting gridlock at this time doesn’t at all nullify or prevent the fight for fiscal restraint and sanity in government. It simply helps stop the bleeding while we figure out a workable treatment to save the life of the "patient."
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ, divided govenment is just going to keep on keeping on....it’s not going to change. Yes my taxes won’t go up... much and the spending won’t rise... as fast, but there won’t be any fundamental change.... and that’s the goal, not holding the line... a little, today, for a while. And it’s entirely possible that the GOP will simply start out bidding the Democrats, whilst in exile, so that the end result is that the long-term goal is pushed back too.

You want change, find a party AND STICK WITH THAT PARTY! Libertarians want to be taken seriously, well you’re a MINORITY. You can contribute ideas and a few votes, BUT if your votes are fickle, then why court you? That’s right, Democrats don’t need you and figure if you turned on the Republicans why wouldn’t turn on them? And if you keep calling for divided government, i.e., Republican defeat explain to me why I’d want you in a coalition, again? And, YOUR ONLY HOPE IS A COALITION. It means dancing with the one what brung you...if you won’t dance you won’t get invited back.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m not quite sure why he thinks the war on the individual comes from the left. They aren’t the ones who claim they don’t need a judge to listen to phone calls or stick you in the clink. I’m not quite sure what his thing about Hillery is. Some guys just don’t like girls .


But (Not to be insulting)


Some times I am just AMAZED at how much libertarians have in common with a liberal democrat like me.


 
Written By: cindy bravo
URL: http://
US Federal Spending as a Percentage of GNP

Note both the post-depression and post-WWII trendline. It doesn’t appear that divided government has much of an impact on the long-term trends. I think our problems are more cultural than structural.

The chart comes from here.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Well Libertarians ARE A LOT LIKE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, that’s why? If you looked at their platform(s). And if you just believe in ending Welfare and Progressive Taxation and the end to Affirmative Action, and a reduction in the Federal Government by 50% or more you and they can be buddies!

But for the moment you don’t believe in that portion of their platform(s) do you? And you’ll note that the war on individualism DOES COME FROM THE LEFT, who practices "Identity Politics?" Who is it that passes Speech Codes and worries about "Hate Speech"?

And when did it become illegal to listen in on usama bin Laden calling into the US or to him when his call is routed thru the US? Oh and yes the government has ALWAYS had the right to stick you into the "clink" w/o benefit of a judge, its called being a Prisoner of War (Admittedly Padilla’s case made for some uncomfortable moments on the Right as well).

As to Hillary, wh is it that doesn’t like girls in your post... it ain’t the Right, as you’ll note our support and love for Thatcher and Condi, of course to Liberal Democrats they may not be "authentic" women, that is to say, Left-leaning Democrats.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well sure Cindy, libertarians have some things in common with liberal democrats because liberal democrats are in favor of some freedoms and some minimal government. Now if they could just get off the guilt-driven, ends-justifies-the-forced-means, feel-good, everyone-is-a-victim-of-the-white-man train we’d really be in synch.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
But for the moment you don’t believe in that portion of their platform(s) do you? And you’ll note that the war on individualism DOES COME FROM THE LEFT, who practices "Identity Politics?"
The Right. Indeed, that’s the point of this post, isn’t it? After all, Bush is identified as and identifies himself as a Christian, specifically a born-again one. Indeed, his most ardent followers believe in him because he identifies with their faith - a group faith. A faith they share. A faith they identify with. The ultimate in identiy politics.

There was a story recently on NPR that focused on social conservatives in Florida. To a person, each one admired Bush and held him in high esteem not because of his policies, but because of his faith. It was really interesting to listen to the persons they interviewed. It was almost as if Bush’s policies were meaningless. (With the exception of abortion and homosexuality.) His competence too. These folks simply didn’t care. They trusted Bush to do the right thing because he was a member of their tribe, i.e., evangelicals. Whatever Bush was for, they were for. Why? Because he shared their faith. He could identify with them and they with him.

In fact, you have to admire Bush on that score. He has cornered the market on identity politics. Identity politics plays on the view that a group has of itself - that the group are members of a repressed minority that has been socially or politically disenfranchised or marginalized. Bush plays on the views of Red Staters and Social Conservatives and Evangelicals. They view themselves as being oppressed by the coastal elites, Hollywood, gay people, and university professors. Bush (and the GOP more generally) has somehow managed to convince people that he is one of them, he identifies with them, and that he will free them from their oppression. (Indeed, that is what happened in 2004 - all those oppressed religious conservatives were called to the poll to stem the gay onslaught.) It is an amazing sleight of hand, considering Bush comes from perhaps one of the most blue-blooded families in America - one based in the liberal, coastal Northeast.

Bush is actually the ultimate "tribalist" - he has no overarching political philosophy, at least not in the traditional sense. He will do whatever he can to reward the groups that support him and punish those that don’t. That is his philosophy, if you can call it that. Calling him a Christian Socialist is just a shorthand.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://

 
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