Blogs > HNN > Big Government of the Right

Aug 22, 2005 12:14 pm


Big Government of the Right



President George W. Bush is engineering a political revolution in the United States, creating a big government of the Right that mocks conservative traditions of fiscal prudence, limitations on state power, and personal freedom.

For decades Republicans complained of Democrats who used the federal budget to create cadres of dependent voters. Now under George Bush, the GOP has created a new form of the leviathan state with payouts to major corporate interests who bankroll the Republican Party. The president’s energy bill is laden with billions in tax breaks to companies like Exxon that made $25 billion last year – enough to float a small country. His prescription drug plan which failed to restrain prices handed big drug companies more than $100 billion in windfall profits. In just four years, George Bush hiked real federal spending by 16 percent, compared to 10 percent during Bill Clinton’s eight years.

Republican big government also has a social agenda that has vastly expanded the federal government's authority to meddle in our private lives. The recently renewed Patriot Act, for example, authorizes the feds to look over our shoulder when we browse libraries or surf the Internet. And it gives law enforcement officials broad authority to secretly search our property or bug our private conversations. In the Terri Schiavo case, conservative Republicans like Tom Delay would have had government intrude into our family life and dictate our personal decisions.

It is urgent that the public focus on what the broader agenda of big government conservatism is doing to their lives and that Democrats develop some real alternatives that keep government out of our personal lives and start meeting our real needs.



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John H. Lederer - 8/25/2005

So the first sentence of the quoted portion of your comment is incorrect, but the second sentence is correct because it uses the word "secretly"?




Allan Lichtman - 8/22/2005

In fact, the Patriot Act did significantly expand government’s access to library records including computer use, as explained by the Congressional Research Service:

“Before the USA PATRIOT Act, federal authorities, engaged in gathering foreign intelligence information or conducting an investigation of international terrorism, could seek a FISA court order for access to hotel, airline, storage locker, or car rental business records. The businesses to whom the orders were addressed were bound to silence. Section 215 amended the procedure so that in a foreign intelligence or international terrorism investigation federal authorities may obtain a FISA order to access to any tangible item no matter who holds it, including by implication library loan records and the records of library computer use.”


John H. Lederer - 8/22/2005

of the pertinent provisions of the Patriot Act for the statement:

"The recently renewed Patriot Act, for example, authorizes the feds to look over our shoulder when we browse libraries or surf the Internet. And it gives law enforcement officials broad authority to secretly search our property or bug our private conversations."

I will note that prior to the Patriot Act not only the government but civil litigants had the power to obtain library records.