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The Legislative Capture of the Limited Government Movement
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, May 05, 2008

As Fred Thompson often said, Republicans went to Washington to drain the swamp, and they ended up partnering with the alligators. Robert Novak has the latest sordid details.
Operating outside public view, the House Democratic majority is taking extraordinary steps to maintain spending as usual while awaiting a Democrat as president. Remarkably, the supine House Republican minority hardly resists and even collaborates with its supposed adversaries.

There has been little or no public Republican protest over seizure of the appropriating process by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her clique. [...] All Republican leaders voted against [a bill to expand medicaid spending], but their vaunted whip operation was dormant. With a rare opportunity to go on record against entitlements, House Republicans voted 128 to 62 for spending.
House Republicans had another chance last Thursday to demonstrate interest in restoring anti-waste credentials [by voting for Jeff Flakes proposal to limit direct farm payments]. ... The state of the GOP is indicated by the fact that the 104 to 86 vote by Republicans was seen as progress, while Flake's proposal failed. ... Another motion to lower farm subsidies, by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, was pending Thursday afternoon when the House adjourned for its usual long weekend of fundraising, politicking and recreation. Unchanged in Nancy Pelosi's House is bipartisan devotion to the three-day week.
Congressional Republicans are in the tank for the status quo. All I'm hearing from Congressional Republican is...
  • "Please, sir, can I have another earmark?"

  • "Please, sir, can I have another term?"

Reelecting these guys is like sending Norm Peterson to lead an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. They're whipped by Democrats and by the public choice incentives. There's just no significant ambition to limit government. More importantly, they have no ideas for how to limit the size of government.

To some extent, that's a failure of the existing Republican leadership. But it's more of a failure of the larger Limited Government movement that has been captured by Washington, DC. We've developed an entrenched bureaucracy devoted more to sustaining and propagating itself than to actually limiting government.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Too bad the Founders couldn’t have seen into the future. I’m pretty sure not even Alexander Hamilton wanted a ’professional’ government. If I could add only one Amendment to the Constitution, it would state: "No person may hold any office or position of the national government, either elected, appointed, hired, or contracted for a period greater than 20 years in total, nor may they hold the same position or office for more than 10 years consecutively."

I’d try to write it to include everyone above GS-5 or the equivalent, including Congressional office staff. I wouldn’t be averse to including judges, either.

At least it’d force the bastards to change chairs occasionally.
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://’s not the failure of the career panderer. It’s the failure of the American voter. Incumbency rates are a joke in this nation.

We get what we deserve....because we wanted it.
Written By: shark
URL: http://

Its a failure of the public. Far too many polls show that the voters want, generically, "less government". Yet we keep voting the biggest hogs back into office term after term. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Money talks and (you know the rest).
Written By: CR
URL: http://
Maybe there really isn’t that big a constituency for limited government in practice. Maybe the limited government folks are a small cog in the Republican machine, who should be happy with the occasional bone they get thrown as limited government rationales get talked up when Republicans find a program they want to cut anyway, for culture war or other reasons, or when Republicans want to play opposition party and pretend to care about fiscal discipline. Sort of like the gay rights folks on the left, except with the cultural momentum against them instead of with them. Maybe limited government is more of a catch phrase than a philosophy to the GOP.
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
What is the matter with Americans??

This is OLD, OLD news.

Remember the Republican Contract On America ??

How’ed that one work out for you, Republicans??
Written By: Juan Man
URL: http://
Remember the Shining City on a Hill Deficits?

When Bush 41 had the Morality to agree to pay a little of OUR DEBTS, he was branded as a traitor to Freeloading, Deadbeat Republicans and Conservatives everywhere.
Written By: Juan Man
URL: http://
Nice troll Juan, now go back to DKos little boy.
Written By: kyleN
Remember the Republican Contract Wtth America ??

How’ed that one work out for you, Republicans??
It worked out great, you dumba$$.....remember that it helped the GOP capture power again?

Now if they had STUCK with those principles, they’d still have power.
Maybe limited government is more of a catch phrase than a philosophy to the GOP
LOL well there’s the problem! Even Reteif can score one every now and again.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Maybe there really isn’t that big a constituency for limited government in practice."
No, I think that the people who care either don’t have much of a financial stake (they pay little in obvious taxes and aren’t educated enough about the hidden taxes) or are too busy enjoying their life to step into the quagmire that is government. Most of the capable, get-things-done and get-them-done well sort of people prefer the private sector. Government attracts the wrong people for the wrong reasons.
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
One wonders where it will all end? Government at all levels is consuming about 40% of the GDP. Comparable to the EU.
Written By: feeblemind
URL: http://
"The State is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

Frédéric Bastiat — 1848.

One only wonders how long it’s going to take to face the facts for what they mean.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
"It’s the failure of the American voter."

What are our choices? If it was a failure of the American voter, it was a failure long before our lifetime.

What is the current solution?

Written By: Dissident
URL: http://
Remember the Republican Contract On America ??

How’ed that one work out for you, Republicans??
Geeze, I don’t know, here we find a group of semi-conservative folks concerned that the Republicans aren’t delivering on the limited government promises.
And grumbling about it on the blog.

and you...lefty troll...are you going to write a blog posting on how the Democrats haven’t yet delivered on anything "Better and Smarter" since they took office in 2006?


Didn’t think so.

Written By: looker
URL: http://
The Democrats cut the total cost of the earmarks by about 1/2
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