not so fast…

Posted on Sunday 29 October 2006

Where We Went Wrong
By Dick Armey

Dick ArmeyWhere did the revolution go astray? How did we go from the big ideas and vision of 1994 to the cheap political point-scoring on meaningless wedge issues of today — from passing welfare reform and limited government to banning horsemeat and same-sex marriage?

The answer is simple: Republican lawmakers forgot the party’s principles, became enamored with power and position, and began putting politics over policy.
The likely Republican losses in next week’s elections will not constitute a repudiation of the conservative legacy that drove the Reagan presidency and created the Contract With America. To the contrary, it would represent a rejection of big government conservatism. When we get back to being the party of limited government, putting a national agenda ahead of parochial short-term politics, we will again be a party that the American voters will trust to deal with the serious challenges facing our nation.

The 2006 midterm elections will be a success for the Democrats. Republicans will have to manage their own disappointment. Fingers will be pointed, and various villains will be fashioned out of recent events. But the plain fact is that Republicans have been setting the stage for this outcome for nearly a decade, running from themselves and their own principles. We will not find ourselves by conforming to the status quo, but by returning to our Reagan roots.

Newt GingrichWhile I think that Dick Armey is being genuine in this article and believes what he says, there’s a veneer of righteousness undeserved. The Speaker of the House in this great revolution of his was Newt Gingrich, truly one of the all-time unprincipled politicians in history. And the Congress he so respects has been very far from the Conservative principles that brought it to power almost from the start. Conservativism is hard to define except in the negative, and its stated principles have rarely been enacted once in power – certainly not by Reagan or either Bush.

The big showpiece of his beloved Reaganism, cutting taxes, was devastating in terms of the National Debt, and Bush is doing the same thing. Cut taxes, run up the debt. Their claim of shrinking government is as indefensible as their claim of fiscal responsibility. I’m afraid that this Conservativism they so  revere has, in practice, been a ploy to make the rich richer at the country’s expense. And they get themselves elected by tagging on to groups like the Religious Right by fanning fear and playing to prejudice. What went wrong? It was a sham from the start.

Sorry Dick, no cigar…

    October 30, 2006 | 9:35 PM

    […] Armey went on to say I’m not clear why we got in here [in Iraq] in the first place. We’re mired down here. It doesn’t seem to me we’re making any progress. I wonder if they’re doing it right and how in the heck are we ever going to get out of it. And then you take a look at that and say, who’s to blame? Well, there’s only one guy to blame, that’s your commander in chief…I don’t know how you get out of [Iraq]. Sooner or later, there’s going to have to be a decision to get out, probably with some disregard for the consequences. As I said below, I think Dick Armey [former House Majority Leader involved in the Republican Revolution of 1994] is a bit naive about the shoddy performance of our [twelve year] Republican Congress, but my hat’s off to him for this one. In this interview, Dick Armey is doing something that is unique for a politician, and unheard of for a modern Republican. He’s saying he was wrong – that he sort of knew it at the time. And he’s not making any excuses. […]

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