Rand Paul on the Intellectual Bankruptcy of the GOP
(The New American) -- by Daniel Sayani --
It is no secret to constitutionalists that the Republican Party has neglected to embody a political message consonant with the teachings of the Founding Fathers and the principles of free-market economics. The traditional conservatism of individuals such as Barry Goldwater and Robert Taft has given way to a nuanced “neo” conservatism, which instead looks to Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, and Reagan for inspiration.
Whereas traditional conservatives, regardless of party, assiduously adhered to a belief in individual freedom, a foreign policy of nonintervention, and the primacy of the Constitution, of limited government, and of the free market, today’s conservatives have gone astray, as evident in the GOP’s embrace of liberal internationalism, Keynesian economics, and heightened spending.
In a recent interview with Reason, Senator Rand Paul discussed what he believes is “the intellectual bankruptcy of both political parties,” as the GOP continues to struggle to articulate a cogent vision of what it believes the proper role of government ought to be.
Considering the political developments of the past several months, in which constitutionalists have found themselves at odds with the party establishment, it is an opportune time to explore Paul’s claims.
Many have said that when one political party controls the executive branch and both chambers of Congress, spending will be out of control, because of the absence of checks on power. This was the case for the six years that Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and White House (from 2000-2006), when the deficit skyrocketed and government spending rose to unprecedented heights.
The fiscal conservatism that characterized the Clinton years (when Republicans controlled Congress) gave way to an entirely new, destructive paradigm that led to the financial ruin of 2007, and the equally ruinous Keynesian, deficit-spending policies of TARP and stimulus spending.
In addition, Republican opposition to overseas intervention in the Clinton years (such as military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, and George W. Bush’s relatively non-interventionist-sounding campaign promises in 2000) gave way to unquestioned support for prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have proven to be a fiscal nightmare for the United States. It is developments such as these that lead Rand Paul and other conservatives to save some of their most impassioned criticisms for their fellow Republicans. As Senator Paul states in his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington:
When John McCain joined Bush in 2008 to bail out troubled banks, automakers, and even the housing market with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), grassroots conservatives vowed that the politicians who voted for these financial schemes — Republicans included — would pay a political price....MORE...LINK
Any self-described conservative who "misses" the last president and his version of the Republican Party should probably quit subscribing to that label. If judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush, given that he spent less money than his successor.