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What is the Republican agenda?

By Tom DeWeese
web posted December 9, 2002

The Republicans regained control of the Senate and now hold all top positions in the federal government. The chest pounding has begun by Republican leadership and conservative pundits alike as the death of liberalism is announced and the dawn of a new Conservative Era is hailed.

We're promised lower taxes, more conservative judges, stronger defense, less abortion and… what? What is the Republican agenda? Should it not be to stand against anything that would increase the size, power or scope of the federal government? Are not those conservative, i.e. Republican principles?

Republicans have promised for years that they would begin to roll back the awesome power of government, but complain that they have never had the chance to accomplish it because the Democrats controlled one or both Houses of Congress. Today they don't. There is no one in sight to block the way.

So, it's time to gas up the steamroller and begin the destruction of 50 years of Democrat-created Socialism. Any day now we should expect new Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to outline plans to end the federal role in education, especially by abolishing the Department of Education.

We can anticipate action on the reform, if not repeal, of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to end the tyranny against landowners. Soon we surely will see a plan to role back federal intrusion in our private lives. True patriots are anxiously awaiting the details on how quickly federal data banks and surveillance cameras will be dismantled. And the announcement I personally can't wait to hear is that the United States is finally withdrawing from the mistake on the East River, the United Nations. Now that's an agenda about which most of the citizens who put the Republicans in control could truly cheer. Our nation restored.

But wait, not one of those things seems to be on the Republican agenda. So let's see, what are they up to? Where will they lead us? The Republicans have just successfully controlled the lame duck session by marshalling through the Homeland Security bill to create a massive new bureaucracy which will be under the control of one cabinet secretary.

The Homeland Security Secretary will have the power to use the nation's law enforcement agencies to build a centralized grand database to monitor our entire lives, including purchases, travel, bank accounts, jobs, video rental, medical records, personal web surfing, and our e-mails. This new Republican creation will have the power to come into our homes without a search warrant, without even telling us they've been there. They can look through our computers, remove records and leave without a trace. Our driver's licenses will now be transformed into national identification cards, without which we can't obtain any government services, open a bank account, get on a plane or buy a gun. And the new Homeland Security Secretary is looking into the possibility of suspending the Posse Comitatis Act, which has protected the nation for a hundred years by keeping civilian law enforcement under separate control from the military. Now we may expect armed soldiers to kick in our doors to perform the searches.

Remember, it's all in the name of fighting terrorism. Perhaps Americans should start asking Republicans for a definition of terrorism. My definition includes massive government power.

Also in the lame duck session, Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by outgoing Representative Jim Hansen, waited until the wee hours of the morning, after their colleagues had gone home, to pass its version of S.990, the dreaded "Son of CARA" land grab bill. There was no recorded vote, no debate and no hearings on a bill that authorizes over a billion dollars to left wing environmental and animal rights groups. As soon as the House passed it, the Senate, led by "conservative" outgoing Senator Bob Smith moved with lightening speed to pass it as well. The good news is their scheme was foiled by alert property rights activists. The bill died in this Congress, but it will surely raise its ugly head again in the 108th, with Republicans fully in charge.

On the United Nations front, President Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan just completed a White House love-fest, prompting The Washington Post to report that relations between the United States and the UN have never been stronger.

What part of these actions fit the Republican agenda of limited government? What gene are Republicans missing? What brain cell needs to be connected to enable them to see that the principles they advocate on the campaign stump are supposed to be represented in the laws they enact?

The very next day, following the election, new Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was on national television advocating the Republicans' desire for "bipartisan" cooperation with the Democrats. After more than a year of tyranny from Tom Daschle and his cohorts in the Democrat party, Lott has apparently learned nothing. Polite society dictates that I say only that Senate Majority Leader Lott seems to lack the leadership skills to smoothly guide the conservative agenda through the Senate.

"Bipartisanship" is a liberal trap. There can never be peace and harmony in the Congress as long as it is so evenly divided between a philosophy that advocates severely limiting the power of government and one that advocates severely increasing it.

Americans are desperately looking to this new Congress to take the ever-growing power of government off their backs. Tax cuts are a fine start, but they are only a small part of the problem. We are losing our liberties, our privacy, and our private property. The prospects don't look good that this Congress will even have a clue as to how to fix that situation; certainly not with their current focus.

The Republicans have this one chance. Either they must get some new leadership dedicated to their root philosophy of limited government and drive that agenda or they will stand for nothing, destined to lose time and again to a dedicated liberal cadre that never compromises.

It's time to dig in and fight, but it's hard to do that when you're using your fists to pound your chest in overblown self-congratulations.

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, VA. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.
org. © Tom DeWeese, 2002


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