The Idaho news media is feasting on the squabbles within the state Republican Party. We are told that the largely pro-business moderate wing is facing off against a “Tea-Party”-style insurgency of radical anti-government types. Naturally the mainstream media is hoping that this struggle provides a beachhead for the state Democratic Party.
There is another question, though, one that has been submerged for years: What exactly does the modern Democratic Party stand for except expanding the role of government in every sphere of our lives? With only two major parties for a nation of more than 300 million people, shouldn’t there be a lively debate on the Democratic side about limits to government and how to actually improve how government operates? Are there no Jeffersonian Democrats left, even in Idaho?
Recall that even President Jimmy Carter suggested the federal government adopt zero-based budgeting and that airline deregulation took place under his watch.
Today it seems that there is no debate about the mechanics of government within the Democratic Party, merely the desire to ladle out more money and expand the regulatory state. Failing agencies, like the Veterans Administration, are to be fixed with additional funding.
The Democrats both in Idaho and nationally chide the Republicans for being against everything and failing to provide solutions to problems. A question that is never asked, though, is that in the face of vast amounts of government debt and clearly unworkable programs like the Affordable Care Act, why don’t Democrats ever offer alternatives to simply growing government?