Thus spoke Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center and long-time movement conservative.
Although Bozell deserves two thumbs up for his remarks, it is still worth noting that his epiphany is a little late in the coming: if it was ever really the party of limited government, it has been eons since the GOP ceased being so.
Ron Paul labored indefatigably for decades to call his fellow partisans to their senses, but the self-avowed champions of “limited government” in Washington and “conservative” talk radio ridiculed and derided him. Just as he spotted the recession of ’08 long before it exploded and at a time when his competitors in the presidential primaries insisted that the economy was strong, so too did Paul recognize the identity-crisis in the Republican Party—the chasm between its rhetoric and its policies—years before it dawned upon the likes of Bozell.
It is crucial to bear in mind that it isn’t because Paul is so prescient that he has been ahead of the curve on this score. Rather, it is because Republicans have been so blind that accounts for why it has taken some of them this long to appreciate Paul’s insights.
The sources of this blindness are probably many. Doubtless, one of them just may be the glare from the contrast between what Republicans espouse with their lips and the policies for which they advocate.
To hear Bozell and others in the conservative movement, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Grand Old Party is just now beginning to retreat from its pledge to promote “limited government.” But we needn’t go all that far back in time to see that this simply isn’t so.
In fact, we needn’t go all that far back to realize that the very same voices on the right who have been screaming (rightly, I might add) from the rooftops over obscene levels of government spending and the like for the last four years uttered scarcely a peep over the same during the preceding eight.
Let us not forget that for six years—from 2000 to 2006—Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the presidency. For six years prior to this, the Republicans dominated Congress. This period supplied a golden opportunity for the party of limited government to practice what it preached while definitively establishing once and for all to the country the intellectual and moral superiority of its ideas over those of its rivals.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.