I caught this article in the NYTimes yesterday about the corruption and excess of the New York state Senate under the rule of Republicans over the last 40 years. Here’s an excerpt:
They [Democrats] recently realized there are some 75 employees working at the Senate’s own printing plant, a plain brick building on the outskirts of Albany. On Long Island, they found a small television studio, which had been set up — all with public money, with two press aides on hand to help operate it — for the exclusive use of Republican senators to record cable TV shows. Democrats also came across what they are calling the “Brunomobile,” a $50,000 specially outfitted GMC van, with six leather captain’s chairs (some swiveling), a navigation system, rearview camera and meeting table. Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader who was recently indicted on corruption charges, traveled in the van after his use of state helicopters sparked a feud with the Spitzer administration. Then there are the parking spots, always at a premium near the Capitol. Democrats had been given roughly one spot per senator — there were 30 Democrats last year — and guessed there were perhaps double or even triple that controlled by the majority. Instead, they have learned, there are more than 800.
Now, before you say it, let me cut you off and say it: I’m guessing Democrats, if left in power for 40 years, may have a tendency to do similar things. That’s certainly possible and I won’t deny it. But the main point of this post is not just to rail against a bunch of Republican state senators but to make a larger argument about how the political parties seem to view government. I’m not an expert on politics, of course, so this is just my two cents, for what they are worth…
It seems like the fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats want to use government to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor while Republicans want to use government to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich. Republicans seem to see government as a personal piggy bank, open to be raided whenever they are: (1) in power or (2) in hard times. Otherwise, Republicans seem to want government to stay away from businesses and keep them unregulated.
Now, as most readers of the blog will know already, I’m not a fan of the current Republican mentality. It really is, fundamentally, about making the rich wealthier and out and out greed. So, here’s what I’m suggesting: If you’re a Republican because you are a fan of small government (which is what Republicans have often claimed) or because you are a fiscal conservative, become a Libertarian. I disagree with Libertarians on a lot of issues, but I don’t think they’re generally as hypocritical as Republicans. Libertarians really do want to shrink the size of government and really would do it. Republicans just say they do, but end up growing it to enrich themselves and their friends. If, however, you’re Republican because you are a social conservative (oppose abortion, etc.), then you should start your own party: The Christian Socialist Party (or maybe The Religious Socialist Party). Your key issues should be social issues, like abortion, gay rights, etc. (again, of course, I’m going to disagree with you). But you should also side with Democrats on some key issues, like helping the poor (considering that is a teaching of most religions). This way, religious conservatives can vote their conscience: they vote socially conservative, but are also pro social welfare. Republicans simply use social conservatism to get the religious to vote in ways that help enrich them. If you’re a Republican because you are a social conservative, you’re a tool of the wealthy and greedy!
In short, it’s time for the Republican party to die. It’s been used as a tool for the last 40 years or so to basically make Republicans wealthy. And, well, look where that has gotten us: growing unemployment, falling home prices, and an economic crisis like we haven’t seen since The Great Depression. If you’re a Republican for any reason other you want to personally enrich yourself via government, you need to get out of that party and pursue your real agenda.