Parties historically at odds

Published 9:46 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2008

By Staff
The American electorate blamed the great depression on the Republican Party. Herbert Hoover's cavalier laissez faire attitude seared a burning resentment into the souls of a citizenry in which half of its brethren were out of work and standing in food lines for a bowl of soup. Out of the ashes of the worst financial disaster in U.S. history arose one Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with an ambitious and audacious plan called the New Deal.
Out of desperation, the country embraced FDR and his New Deal. Evolving from the 1930's Roosevelt reign the U.S. House and Senate became overwhelmingly Democratic. This New Deal coalition of congressional Democratic power became entrenched.
The Democrats would remain in control of both houses of congress for 60 years, but in 1994, the Republicans, led by a backbench bomb thrower reactionary from Georgia named Newt Gingrich, took control of the House of Representatives. The heart and soul of the Republican initiative was to cut federal spending and government waste. The Republicans promised to balance the federal budget. This message resonated with American voters and Gingrich led the Republicans out of the wilderness and bondage of being in the minority.
However, within four years the temptation to reward their constituents and districts was too great for the Republicans to resist. They were hungry to bestow on their people the bountiful plums and fruits of the great money making machine in Washington D.C. Within six years the Republicans had forgotten their promise to the American people in the Contract with America and were at the trough to the same degree as their Democratic buddies.
After twelve years in control, the Republicans lost their majority in Congress to the Democrats two years ago. The Iraq war was the prevailing culprit of their 2006 demise.
There is a hardcore libertarian electorate that will not tolerate this spendthrift philosophy. They are intelligent, informed, independent, and highly motivated. These voters supported Ron Paul in the Republican primary. You could see a consistent vote in every state. If they stay home, the GOP is in for a long night in November.
These fiscal conservatives should embrace John McCain. He has been more of a warrior for fiscal restraint than Ron Paul or any other Republican. McCain has been an ardent soldier against pork barrel spending. His commitment to fight these deficit causing projects has brought him to odds with his GOP colleagues.
McCain reminds me a lot of the great legendary Republican Senator Everett Dirksen. The Illinois icon labored decades as minority leader of the Senate and denounced the Democratic grab-bag rituals of the 1960's. One day after being told repeatedly by Democratic senators in pursuit of a pork barrel project for their state, well it just costs a billion dollars. Dirksen finally retorted in exasperation, “a billion here, and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.”
Steve Flowers is a political columnist who served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at

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