Paul Jacob

Are “Tea Party” Republicans gearing up to fail just like the Democrats did?

Republicans say they want less government, but the best they have ever done is to occasionally slow down the rate of government growth.

Already Tea Party Republicans are conspiring to put “off the table” the biggest parts of the budget: Entitlement and Pentagon spending. Nice start: Hobble yourself from the get-go.

But the easiest way to mimic Democratic failure is to fail in a manner parallel to the Democrats under Obama. Not “same as,” but mirror image.

Democrats betrayed the American people by offering change and providing more and more and more of the same. They carried on and upped the ante on bailouts and pushed a new unpaid-for entitlement against the wishes of huge swaths of the American people.

That is, Democrats pushed a left agenda. What came naturally to them.

Republicans will be tempted to push a right agenda, of course. What comes naturally to them. And it, too, will be unpopular with voters.

And by “right agenda” I don’t mean fiscal restraint and limited government. (Experience tells us that doesn’t even map left-right.) I mean social conservative legislation.

And here we have a problem.

Jim DeMint likes to call himself “Senator Tea Party.” And he’s done some great work. I have often commented (see on his heroic work against earmarks. But, when challenged with the idea that, until the fiscal mess is straightened out, a truce should be called on social issues, DeMint responded in a disturbing manner: “You can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative.”

On its face, this just isn’t true. The make-up of the Republican coalition includes a lot of folks who are “economic libertarians.” These have long supported — nay, demanded — fiscal balance and free markets and limited governments while self-declared social conservatives have wandered off-point, reaching to Big Government to enforce their ideas. What could Jim DeMint be thinking?

“A large part of the expansive government is to . . . make up for a dysfunctional society because our culture is falling apart, the family is falling apart.” So here he sees government as stepping in to fix the society of Fallen Man.

It’s a theory.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.