Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Running for, and against, government

Across the country, candidates who don't like government, and believe that we don't need it, are running for office.

It's the paradox established by Ronald Reagan, who said that government was the problem and then got elected twice to prove that basic tenet right.

Of course, G.W. Bush pushed Reaganism to its sad end when his government of incompetent cronies opened the doors of government, particularly the federal treasury, to corporations and said, "Here it is boys, come and get it."

In the wasteland left behind, President Obama is trying to fix the problems he inherited and is hated for it.

Now, the corporations are getting back by sponsoring the Tea Party movement that brings the libertarian wing to the forefront of the Republican Party.

It's a tricky maneuver since the GOP has branded itself, in recent decades, as the party of social issues (not to be confused with socialism) with its opposition to gay marriage, abortion and brown-colored people who don't speak English.

The libertarian wing doesn't really care about these social issues, except immigration, because the basic belief of libertarianism is about getting government out of our lives, not in it.

The GOP has always claimed a big tent of followers from social conservatives to libertarians to evangelical Christians to white supremacists to gays. Yes, those Log Cabin Republicans are not wanted in the party and yet, they can't help themselves. There's just something special about being a Republican.

In Oregon, we have a libertarian running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Ron Wyden.

Jim Huffman, who teaches law at Lewis and Clark College, calls into question the quality of higher education at that institution in Portland.

Huffman is against any government intrusion in our lives, except (and with libertarians there is always a long list of exceptions) immigration. He wants all of our borders patrolled and illegal immigration stopped unless we need the workers to pick our fruits and veggies. In that case, he wants more government regulations, not less.

Huffman also believes we can reduce taxes further and simultaneously pay off the national debt with a balanced budget amendment. Again, we have these paradoxes within paradoxes.

Less income somehow means a greater ability to pay off debt.

I sense a bit of Milo Minderbinder from "Catch-22" here.

Milo, the "prophet of profit" would supply fresh eggs to his mess hall by buying them in Sicily for one cent, selling them to Malta for four and a half cents, buying them back for seven cents before selling them to his mess hall for five cents.

Of course, his M&M Enterprises is so successful that it begins contracting missions for the Germans, fighting on both sides in the battle of Orvieto and bombing his own squadron. Profits soar.

It was "voodoo economics" before Bush the First correctly identified Reaganomics.

It's like the cartoon from the New Yorker at the top of this page. We may need firefighters to put out the fire in our home, but is it really necessary? Can't we just do without the fire department and our home? A win-win situation?

With America burning, both its credit and temper, teabagging libertarians are poised for big gains this November in local, state and federal offices.

Safe to say that Huffman has no chance of beating Wyden, who appears even more reasonable when running against the best the GOP has to offer.

Still, other libertarians will win some offices somewhere.

And when they do, and when things do get worse, don't call the fireman, he'll have been fired.

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