Suddenly, everyone's a fiscal conservative. Virtually every Republican friend I have is talking about the desperate shape of the Republican Party. They cite President Bush's sagging numbers in the polls and begin to recount their sudden interest in the "out-of-control" spending by Congress.
This is not an "I told you so" column, but then again, maybe it is. The Republican Party didn't get to its current low point in public opinion surveys overnight. Throughout this past year, I have written various columns addressing, in essence, the major components that now comprise absolutely horrible opinion ratings for both the president and the Republican-held House and Senate. As I have noted before, when I write on these topics, some "conservative" papers or outlets often choose to avoid offering those columns to their readers. That's a shame, because their readers are now echoing the concerns that I described just after the president began his second term.
This column is not meant to bash President Bush, Republican congressional leadership or the war in Iraq. And, as I often note, Democrats will find no solace in this space, as they offer no cogent solutions to the problems plaguing the nation. That having been said, there are times when the public begins to sense desperation, even in spite of a soaring stock market and an economy recovering from the blow of Hurricane Katrina. I began to sense where we were headed a while ago:
(From March 25, 2005) "Over the past few years, Republican legislators and Congress appear to be running contrary to perhaps the most important precept of the GOP and conservative movements. We are seeing more and more intervening, regulating and imposing of new policies at every turn. … Republican legislators and lawmakers need to step back and closely examine whether many of these actions are truly rooted in the philosophy of less government and more personal responsibility, or whether they are in fact sops to special interest groups and narrow (but significant) voting blocs whose electoral clout may eventually fade."
Note: Suddenly, even conservative talk show hosts are focusing on the endless regulation and red tape that seem to be flowing out of Washington, D.C., and (in some instances) out of various state governments as well, even in states where Republicans dominate both the governor's office and state legislatures.