Sunday, April 26, 2009

Government as if government mattered

A Wisconsin Political Fix
not just another blog
April 26, 2009

By Bill Kraus
It goes without saying that most of the participants in the recent tea party demonstrations can be found on the rolls of the Republican Party. The Republicans attract anarchists. The breeding ground of this “lower taxes; less government” faction in Wisconsin used to be the North Shore Republican Club of Milwaukee County and may still be. Although there are signs of infestations in some nearby counties.

The anarchists and the communists believe that in their disparate versions of the perfect worlds the government can be made to go away.

The communists seem to have spawned mostly autocracies, many of them tyrannical. This was not what Marx promised.

The anarchists’ high point in this country was the Ronald Reagan presidency. Reagan’s “the government is the problem not the solution” rhetoric was the kind of talk the anarchists had been hoping to hear.

The walk, however, didn’t match the rhetoric. The government grew during his presidency. Not as fast as the Democrats would have liked perhaps, but fast enough to disappoint his most ardent admirers and pretty much put the underlying myth that he was God’s gift to the cause to bed for good one would think. One would be wrong. The myth persists and even grows as memories fade.

The Reaganites to the contrary notwithstanding all of the revered Republican leaders have been government activists not dismantlers. Tommy Thompson, our own most recent activist Republican, put it succinctly in a recent interview when he asked, “If you don’t want to do something, why would you run for public office.”

Despite the distractions of the Civil War, Lincoln built the transcontinental railroad and established the land grant colleges.

Teddy Roosevelt is remembered more for national parks and public lands than anything else.

Dwight Eisenhower built the I-system.

And in Wisconsin Warren Knowles gets as much credit as Gaylord Nelson for saving the environment and acquiring land for public purposes. Lee Dreyfus counted the building of the veterinarian school as his high point, which he insisted on over the dead bodies of most of his advisers and the UW administration. He said, “It’s about research.” And it was when Jamie Thompson made his stem cell discoveries there.

And Tommy Thompson was almost manic in his activism. He built and built and built.

The government is here to stay, and the Republicans will get to run it as, if, when they demonstrate they can and will run it better than the other guys. The practitioners of electoral segmentation will say that the Republicans must attend to the anarchists or they will go away. The likelihood of that is zero. Not only will they not go away, they are harder to get rid of than teenage acne.

Their virtue is that they throw tea party protests instead of blowing people up like their more violent counterparts in other places.

The tea parties were a sideshow. The people want a government that works.

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1 comment:

  1. I am not pleased with this article. It seems very biased and naive. First of all, the author places communists in the same boat as anarchists. This is quite uninformed. Communism is a step beyond socialism, which is the polar opposite of anarchy. In communism, the government has become one with society. Instead of there being no government, all there would be is government. Marx believes that at this point, everything would settle and become far less complicated. However, this does not mean that it is any less governmental, it would only be less complex. This is what I hope for; (not communism, don’t get me wrong) simplicity. How can it be a country by the people, for the people, if the vast majority in a small community could not name a single bill going through congress, none the less what is going on in local legislation?
    What I am saying is that “less government” is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps instead of scraping the bottom of the national bank account to pay for the newest bailout or program (that the people of America never got an option to refuse), let’s see if we can simplify things and make them run smoother on less. Cut the fat, and you can run faster, farther.