Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Principle arguments

Making his pitch to lead the GOP, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has an Op-Ed on CNN that makes the usual argument that Republicans lost because they weren’t conservative enough...

Some on the left will say our electoral losses are a repudiation of our principles of lower taxes, smaller government and individual liberty. But Tuesday was not in fact a rejection of those principles -- it was a rejection of Republicans' failure to live up to those principles.

Watch those strawman arguments, Governor. No one is repudiating “individual liberty” on our side. In fact, the biggest opponents to individual liberty are on the Republican side where they want to strip away women’s rights to make their own choices on reproduction and where they want to deny homosexuals the social benefits of marriage.
But as to “lower taxes” and “smaller government”, those are two “principles” which can be taken too far to the point where it becomes detrimental for our country and our economy. Lower taxes are not ideal when we are fighting two wars at the same time and we are faced with a $10 trillion national debt. And smaller government is not ideal if it means that the government becomes too small to protect us from terrorist attacks or respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
“Smaller government” sounds like a good principle, but the ideal that we should really strive for is an “effective government” and an “efficient government” and a “responsive government”.
A small government that is ineffective and unresponsive is NOT ideal by any means. And lower taxes are not ideal when it means that our troops don’t have adequate armor or when bridges are collapsing because our national infrastructure has been neglected.
Republican “principles” are not bad. They are just simplistic and unrealistic. And when they are relied on exclusively, as they have been for the past eight years, the results can be disasterous. Just as we have seen.

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