The blog’s newest tag – bush is what you get when you vote for a republican damn it – needs an explanation. It debuted in the most recent “Weekend Links” post. That George W. Bush’s presidency was a disaster goes without saying for those that were both alive and awake from 2001 until 2009. In case anyone needs a refresher, read this top ten list of the Bush Administration’s worst moments, with a few dozen honorable mentions included for good measure.
As uniquely bad as Bush’s presidency seems, however, it was not at all uniquely bad when compared to other Republican administrations. This is what I mean with the new tag; a vote for a Republican is a vote for someone usually incompetent at best and sometimes outright hostile to a functional government at worst.
Grover Norquist, perhaps the most powerful Republican lobbyist in the country, let the mask slip back in 2001 when he said: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Every remaining Republican candidate for president but one has signed Norquist’s pledge promising to never raise taxes for any reason. Donald Trump hasn’t signed, but Norquist is happy with Trump’s tax plan since like every other Republicans’ plan it slashes taxes, and therefore revenues. To make the point explicit, there is an obvious and direct link between reducing government revenue and eliminating effective government services.
What about the aforementioned other Republican administrations that rival Bush’s in ineptitude and/or malfeasance? Let’s start in Kansas, where a unified Republican government has managed to mismanage the state so badly that the school system may have to shut down next academic year. Governor Sam Brownback (R) and the Republican legislature have implemented the national Republican agenda practically in its entirety – slashed income taxes, raised taxes on goods that disproportionately impact the middle and working classes (in an attempt to make up for the lost income tax revenue), restrictions on abortion services, laws encouraging Kansans to walk around in public armed to the teeth, mean-spirited rules for welfare recipients, and so on. And the results of all these Republican supply-side economic and conservative social policies? Chronic state budget deficits, panicked cuts to essential services, and poor economic performance. This last link to a slideshow of all 50 states’ economic performances reveals a striking pattern among the bottom states: most are run by Republicans!
While Kansas is an ongoing case of Republicans destroying government in order to prove that it doesn’t work, the new Democratic governor of Louisiana is dealing with the fallout of the Norquist-inspired catastrophic policies of his Republican predecessor, Bobby Jindal. From The Washington Post:
Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. Without sharp and painful tax increases in the coming weeks, the government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including education opportunities and certain programs for the needy. A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships. Select hospitals will close. Patients will lose funding for treatment of disabilities. Some reports of child abuse will go uninvestigated.
Good job Bobby! Too bad your campaign for president went down in flames!
Okay, so Republicans may be bad at budgeting and maintaining useless public services like schools and hospitals, but at least they’re not poisoning anybody and withholding emergency funds from the victims that they have poisoned. Ha ha, just kidding! Of course they’re poisoning people and withholding emergency funds from the people that they have poisoned.
Let’s stop the childish nonsense – and I’m looking at you, Marco Rubio – of claiming that what happened to the people in Flint, Michigan was just some isolated random incident for which no one is to blame because the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, didn’t wake up one morning and decide to poison their water. We can all agree he didn’t do that, but Snyder did wake up on a series of mornings during which he decided to set in motion the blatantly undemocratic practices that resulted in high levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water. Was it predictable that a Republican governor slashing support for poor cities and appointing unaccountable emergency managers to squeeze savings from those poor cities’ government services would lead to such a horrific tragedy? Hard to say!
This is what the Republican Party has become. What happened under Bush, what happened in Kansas, and Louisiana, and Michigan – these are not unfortunate coincidences. They are the deliberate results of a party that does not believe in a common good served by a government of the people, by the people, for the people. When are we going to learn that people who have sworn fealty to a man who wants to reduce government to a size where he can drag it into a bathroom and drown it in a bathtub want to do just that?