There some Republican wedges that Democrats can benefit from, such as Social Security and the Schiavo over-reach
. However, not every Republican split holds clear promise for Democrats. For example, read the conservative New York Post breaking down Bush's spending excesses
:The Republican promise of smaller, less-intrusive government is getting harder and harder to believe.(...)
For the latest, check out a report just released by the libertarian Cato Institute that tells a striking story about just how out-of-control spending has gotten under President Bush.
Cato finds that:
- Bush has presided over the largest increase in federal spending since Lyndon Johnson.
- Even excluding defense and homeland security spending, Bush is the biggest-spending president in 30 years.
- The federal budget grew from 18.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product on President Bill Clinton's last day in office to 20.3 percent at the end of Bush's first term.
- Add to that Bush's massive Medicare prescription-drug benefit, expected to cost $720 billion-plus over the next 10 years. (The money for that new entitlement, the first created by a president in a generation, will start flowing this year.)
Bush may have cut taxes, but that's not the same thing as shrinking government.
It certainly is true that cutting taxes is not the same thing as shrinking government. At the same time, it is important for many Democrats to remember that balancing the budget is not the same thing as making the government smaller. While it is pretty clear that libertarians such as Cato are upset with Republicans because even the rhetorical support for small government has died in the Bush administration, I think many on our side seem to make a mistake of believing that we can appeal to economic libertarians with a promise of fiscal responsibility. It isn't exactly a secret that expanding the role of the federal government in our economy is part of both the New and the Progressive Democratic message. I somehow doubt that libertarians will start to vote Democratic because while our support for universal health care cuts at every fiber of their being, they like the idea that we will balance the budget when we pass it into law.
I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. Is there room here for Democrats to peel support away from Republicans? I don't see it, but if you do, let me know.