Bob Barr

The famed fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s warming up. Sen. John McCain’s campaign has the feel of a farewell tour. His imminent loss gives conservatives another reason to drop the Republican Party.

The GOP long ago abandoned those who believe in limited government and individual liberty. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Republican Party responded to new Democratic spending initiatives with “me too.” Richard Nixon embraced and signed into law much of today’s regulatory establishment.

Ronald Reagan attempted to break the cycle, but his successors returned to pre-Reagan patterns. The new House majority elected in 1994 also took a run against the status quo, but the Republican leadership soon started looking like the Democrats, putting reelection above principle.

Over much of the last eight years Republicans have controlled the presidency and the Congress, yet spending rose faster than any time since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” Earmarks hit a record. The GOP increased domestic, as well as military, outlays. As a result, the budget for virtually every government agency, from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services, expanded.

In 2003, the president and Congress joined forces to enact the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. With Medicare and Social Security costs exploding—today we face $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities for these two programs alone—Congress approved, and the President signed, the Medicare drug benefit, adding trillions of dollars more to the bill facing future generations.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan campaigned to get rid of the Department of Education; however, President George W. Bush made this agency bigger and the Republican Congress gave it more power with the misnamed “No Child Left Behind Act." President Reagan deregulated oil prices. The Bush administration and Republican Congress have pushed more subsidies for the energy industry.

When the housing crisis broke, the administration supported a $300 billion industry bailout that included millions of dollars for ACORN, a virtual adjunct of the Democratic Party. The Republican president supported using hundreds of billions of dollars more to bail-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, AIG insurance, and then all of Wall Street. We’re now over $2 trillion in bailouts—all of them supported by President Bush and Sen. McCain, and still there’s no end in sight.

Indeed, Sen. McCain wants to force taxpayers to buy up every bad mortgage in America—at face value, bailing-out every irresponsible lender and borrower in the country. Never mind looking out for the taxpayers who borrowed responsibly and pay their mortgage every month.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.