How Many Politicians
Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

Submitted to the Denver Post on December 1, 1996


In his guest column of November 29, Carl Luebsdorf writes of the recent peace between the two major political parties, which comes in the aftermath of "increased ideological polarization" before the election.

Just where is this polarization? The last four years, two of which were supposed to constitute a "revolution," have been marked by numerous Republican compromises with a president whom they want us to think is evil incarnate. In this time, Republicans have either voted for, or been supportive of, the following big government measures: The Brady Bill, the crime bill, the terrorist bill, a minimum wage hike, the bailout of Mexico, NAFTA, GATT, and two highly publicized bills which expanded federal power over health care.

Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole had been voting for bigger and bigger government ever since Bill Clinton was a high school freshman. Oh sure, candidate Dole mumbled a bit about some mild tax cuts. Yet Senator Dole helped push through enormous tax hikes in 1982, 1983, and 1990. In the 1996 debates, he told the whole world that, while Bill Clinton wanted government to grow by 20 percent over the next four years, Bob Dole only wanted a 14 percent increase in the size of government. Senator Dole voted to confirm 99 percent of Clinton judicial appointees.

If Republicans are serious about being a counterforce to Clintonism, they must start now with real tax, spending, and regulatory cuts, no matter how much opposition they encounter. Saying you believe in less government than Bill Clinton is like saying you have had fewer bad hair days than Don King. If all Republicans want to do is go along with Bill Clinton, and give us slightly less government, the only philosophical difference between the two major parties is over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman

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