Here’s why rigidly conservative Republicans can’t run an effective federal government


In THIS PROVOCATIVE LITTLE PIECE, the Booman Tribune offers a concise history of modern conservativism to frame the dilemma facing the Republican Party as so-called reformers push it ever farther to the right.

An excerpt:

From 2003 to 2007, the Republicans controlled everything in Washington but they didn’t know what to do with the power. They funded the agencies of government much like a Democratic congress would have done (albeit, with much different priorities) and allowed budget deficits to rise to out of control levels. This wasn’t what conservative ideology called for. It was, in essence, a betrayal. But conservative ideology is not reality-based; it’s oppositionally-based. It has no governing philosophy, but, instead, a grouping of rationalizations for why federal governance is bad.

What’s going on with the Tea Partiers is that they are trying to force the GOP to take conservative ideology seriously and to have them act based on the implications of that ideology. And because that ideology sees the federal government as basically illegitimate, you are seeing calls to repeal amendments from the 14th (establishing birthright citizenship), the 16th (creating an income tax), the 17th (providing for direct elections of senators), and the 19th (establishing female suffrage). It’s also why you see opposition to Social Security and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which provided for desegregated public facilities. Some of this is simply based in racism, but the ideological component is arguably just as important.

Because of this anti-federal government ideology, the Republicans cannot govern the country without either violating their espoused principles or simply shutting the place down. You can’t shut down the government for any substantial period of time, so the Republicans will consistently violate their own principles once empowered in Congress.



  1. Neftali

    That might be the most brain dead article I’ve read yet.

    Conservatives do not hate government, at least the intelligent ones don’t, quite the contrary, they embrace it. To say otherwise is about as bad as labeling Democrats as being “unpatriotic”. There really is no substance or truth to it at all.

    The few scatterbrain references to various Constitutional repeals have absolutely no chance of passing, even if every member of Congress was a Republican. To do so would be political suicide, and the rational Conservative majority would never allow it.

    All the article is a failed attempt to cover up Democratic incompetency over the last four years (Yes, I said four) by trying to point out the statements of a small number of extremists as somehow being ideological leaders of a movement. Such allegations are chaw, and as the polling suggests, that strategy isn’t working.

    The incoming Tea Party and Conservatives types are not anti-government. Rather, they want RESPONSIBLE governing, which is something we really haven’t seen for a decade.

    Wake me up when there is a rationale argument to why these folks should not be voted into office.

  2. Conservatives may not hate government, but republicans do. They have stated over and over again that the problem is government, that government is bad. They are best at obstructing, not running. They appoint inept people to lead departments and then show surprise when the department fails in it job. They load non-political agencies with political operatives to promote political agendas.

    Maybe these are not “real” Conservatives. But too bad. It is republicans that the Conservative elect, not Democrats.

  3. This piece contains one major error — looking at the budget deficits from 2003 to 2007, they were on the decline from their height of $413 billion in 2004 to $161 billion in 2007 when Republicans lost control of Congress. CBO issued a 10 year projection in January 2007 — the month that Democrats regained control of Congress — that estimated $800 billion in budget surpluses through 2017. Unfortunately, that all went out the window.

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