Thursday, May 26, 2005

What do Republicans stand for?

After considering gurufrisbee's confusion yesterday and following on from my post asking what Democrats stand for, I thought it might be interesting to ask what do Republicans stand for?

The Republican party spent many years crafting an image of a party that had a few simple beliefs: smaller government, lower taxes, strong defense and family values. Yet we are on year 5 of the Bush presidency and I'm very confused.

Smaller government? Try again. Bush and the Republican Congress have added the Department of Homeland Security and extended the Medicare Prescrition Drug Benefit. In Bush's first four years in power, there has been a 31.5% growth in discretionary spending. Compare that with an annual average increase of 3.4% during Clinton's eight years.

What about lower taxes? In a certain sense that is true. Billionaires have reaped large tax cutss under Bush and the Republican Congress, but the Christian Science Monitor reports that the middle class are paying nearly as much as billionaries annually. From paragraph 5 in that article, "Under Mr. Bush and a Republican Congress, big tax cuts since 2001 have given major tax reductions to those wealthy individuals presumed, up to now, to be able to afford paying a bigger chunk of their income in taxes. By one measure of the federal, state, and local tax burden, just 3.4 percentage points separate the effective tax rate paid by the top 1 percent of earners from the other 99 percent of American households."

A party of strong defense? Not really. The former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security has said, that airport security isn't tight enough and that little has been done to safeguard other forms of mass transit. Ervin said ports remain vulnerable to terrorists trying to smuggle weapons into the country. He added that immigration and customs investigators are hampered in their efforts to track down illegal immigrants because they often lack gas money for their cars."

Well at least the war in Iraq is going well. Sorry. Wrong again. Republicans may be pro-war, but they aren't very good at waging it. We will have significant numbers of troops in Iraq until 2007.

But surely they stand for family values. You decide which values these actions show. The Republican-controlled House passed stem-cell bill against Bush's wishes, the anti-gay marriage amendment is floundering, and Bush dines with a porn star for money.

Now that Republicans are in power, they seem to be chameleons and don't really stand for what they say.

Any Republicans care to set me straight?