The Republican Party's full-court press to enact the biggest expansion of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" welfare state by passing the recent Medicare reform bill proves that the GOP is the "fraternal twin" (Howard Phillips) of socialist Democrats. In fact, G. W. Bush and his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill make Bill Clinton look like an economic conservative!
Furthermore, Robert Novak was quoted in The Washington Post as saying the arm-twisting of recalcitrant conservatives within the GOP by party leaders was nothing like many Republican congressmen had ever seen. Novak quotes Rep. Nick Smith of Michigan as saying he has never seen anything like it in his 11 years in the House.
According to Smith, threats and intimidation to swallow his convictions and support the bill got "personal." After rebuffing midnight appeals from House Speaker Dennis Hastert and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, fellow House Republicans told him they would make sure Brad Smith (Nick's son) never came to Congress. (Brad is running for his father's seat as Nick is retiring from Congress after this term.) After the bill passed without Smith's support, California Congressman Duke Cunningham, and other Republicans, taunted him, saying his son was "dead meat."
Other conservative Republicans who refused to support the socialist Medicare expansion bill, such as Florida's Rep. Tom Feeney, had to resist insistent phone calls from President Bush. Regarded as an up-and-coming leader within the GOP, Feeney was told a 'no' vote would delay his ascent into leadership by three years, or more.
In the end, only 25 Republicans in the House of Representatives had the courage to oppose the Medicare bill. Those brave souls include Todd Akin (Missouri), Gresham Barrett (S.C.), Dan Burton (IN), Steve Chabot (Ohio), John Culberson (Texas), Jim DeMint (S.C.), JoAnn Emerson (Missouri), Tom Feeney (FL), Jeff Flake (Arizona), Scott Garrett (N.J.), Luis Gutknecht (Illinois), John Hostettler (IN), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jeff Miller (FL), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Marilyn Musgrave (CO), Charles Norwood (GA), Ron Paul (Texas), Mike Pence (IN), Jim Ryun (Kansas), John Shadegg (Arizona), Nick Smith (Michigan), Thomas Tancredo (CO), Pat Toomey (PA), and Zach Wamp (TN).
The sad truth is, the current crop of Republicans has increased federal spending more in three years than the Clinton administration did in eight. With Republicans in charge of all three branches of the federal government, spending at the federal level now consumes some $21,000 per household every year. That's up from $16,000 some four years ago. In fact, federal spending has grown by more than 25% since G. W. Bush took office.
Rep. Ron Paul correctly pointed out, "With Republicans controlling the administration and the legislature, and nominally controlling the Supreme Court, the party has run out of other people to blame. One thing is certain: Republicans who support bigger entitlement programs and bigger federal budgets have lost all credibility as advocates for limited government."
It is time for conservatives to see the Republican Party for what it really is: another big-spending, socialist party that cares nothing for the U.S. Constitution, limited government, or conservative principles. However, before conservatives can see anything, they must open their eyes to the truth, and that doesn't appear likely to happen anytime soon.
© Chuck Baldwin
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