We ought to think back further than 1994 and go back to 1976 when Jimmy Carter was elected president. There are a lot of similarities between what is happening now and the picture then.
The country was still traumatized by the aftermath of the Vietnam War, by having a president resign as result of the Watergate scandal, and what was then called the "energy crisis."
Carter was elected to bring fresh air to Washington. He sold himself as a man of the people who would bring decency back to Washington. Fed up Americans voted for him in hope that he would indeed bring back the fresh air that they wanted to breathe.
Unfortunately, like all so-called populists, what Carter really believed in was government and not people. To deal with our energy problems, he created a new Department of Energy. To deal with our education problems, he created a new Department of Education.
Four years later, we had double digit inflation, twenty percent interest rates, a doubling of energy prices, and Americans held hostage in Iran.
The country had to go through even greater trauma than it was in in 1976 in order to open the door for the Reagan era four years later.
Do we have to go through this again? Is the only path to electing Republicans who really believe in traditional values and limited government to throw out the current rascals, lock, stock, and barrel, and elect Democrats who will show us how bad things really can get?
There is no question that current Republican leadership has lowered the bar. But let's not forgot just how free this country is. We ultimately get the leadership that we want and are willing to tolerate.
I think conservatives let our elected Republican officials off too easy these past years by tolerating an excessive growth of government that itself was symptomatic that there was a problem.
The answer is to get refocused, clarify our principles, and fix the party.
The question is if we'll have to do it sitting on the sidelines while the Democrats turn what is bad into what is worse.
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