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February 02, 2005

SOTU: Death of Small Government Conservatism

Not its death as a political force but as a small government agenda that expects to be convincing to the public on its own terms. Out is Reaganism with its straight-up attack on government programs and in is big government, handing out budget goodies as a cover for conservatives wielding government power for their corporate allies.

Listening to the State of the Union, you had a litany of promises of government programs:

[We] will make it easier for Americans to afford a college education, by increasing the size of Pell Grants.

we must make health care more affordable, and give families greater access to good coverage...I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive health care agenda.

My Clear Skies legislation will cut power plant pollution and improve the health of our citizens.

Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease.

Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side.

Yes, there was the quick promise to balance the budget, but the message was Santa Claus handing out money. Not that the budget won't slash needed programs, but that will be based on raw Delay-style power.

In a sense, this dishonest conservatism is more dangerous, since by lying to the American public, it can murder aid for the poor in the dark even as they smile at poor children with empty promises of help. But it's also a sign of weakness as well that it's afraid to speak openly.

Posted by Nathan at February 2, 2005 09:21 PM