We conservatives know that no matter what happens at the polls next Tuesday, we will still be several light-years from our goal of turning around the economy and bringing Washington’s big-government insanity to heel. This is not exactly a popular sentiment among the pie-eyed mooncalves on the right who are more partisan than principled, but it’s true. Today’s Republican Party is festooned with people who still believe their job is to use the massive power of government to do the things they want while denying it to the other guys. To them, government is not simply the way a civil society orders its necessary business but a giant Transformer that can turn into any awesome thing they want capable of solving any ill if they just twist the right knobs and pull the right levers.
Is our school system an utter failure? *twist prod shift* No Child Left Behind! Is the price of prescription drugs getting a bit high? *rattle turn dial* Medicare Drug Plan! Does our economy need a pick-me-up? *turn shift twist* The Stimulus Bill! Do the home folks need a little, multi-million dollar reminder of who can Make Things Happen? *shove screw dial* Earmarks!
At this point you could almost forgive a member of Congress like Jerry Lewis who’s been around for a while for believing that the Federal government is actually a magical being named Optimus Pork who converts the pure, sweet Energon of our money into all things good. That’s all it’s ever been to him and he has done very well for himself using it just that way. Indeed, too may of his compatriots have managed to amass quite a bit of power and wealth thanks to Optimus Pork. Unfortunately for them, the country is about to pull the plug on their happy little movie. We can no longer afford their delusion. We have watched them suck away trillions of dollars over a generation for any number of hairbrained schemes in the hopes that the mighty Spendformer would actually do something right. But it never has and it never will.
Right now, the GOP knows its under the gun. Its leaders have issued a monotone, focus group-tested pinky-swear that it’s learned its lesson, but we know that unlearning the habits of decades takes time and a great amount of discipline. The time of playing with toys is over. It’s time to grow up and face our obligations as responsible adults who would never dream of laying our burdens down on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren. We will have to make more than a couple hard decisions. We will have to be creative and agile and far more clever than the progressives who force others to pay for their cushy lives. The Republicans are more than welcome to come on board. Heck, we’re going to need the GOP if we hope to get the work done in my lifetime. But we need to be very clear about this also. If the GOP joins us, it means no more Optimus Pork. Playtime is done.