Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Different Philosophies

Tom DeLay: "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes".

I grew up in the Reagan and Gingrich era, the philosophy of which I think is common in contemporary conservative philosophy. Tom DeLay's quote above, to me, epitomizes the consensus conservative sentiment. To me, the philosophy of contemporary conservative thinking can be summed up as:
Ask not what you can do for your country (or countrymen)--ask what your country (or countrymen) can do for you.
When we are at war, this "Norquistian philosophy" says, let's not ask what armor the troops need, or how many troops we need, let's ask for tax cuts. Let's not ask if we should be paying a good company to purify water for the troops, let's pay Haliburton millions to leave the water dangerously impure--and ask for tax cuts. Let's not ask whether levees can withstand a hurricane, let's ask for tax cuts. When our schools need improvement, let's not ask for sacrifice to fund them more extensively, let's ask for tax cuts. Let's not ask how we can pay to make industry more environmentally friendly, let's let industry make more and more money--and ask for tax cuts.

Such a far, far cry from, say, JFK:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.
We are at war, poverty is on the rise, millions are without health care, our education system needs assistance, we are creating massive deficits but we still pass a huge tax cut. Is that doing something for our country? I don't think so.

I think this is part of the reason why I find Westly's ads attacking Angelides' policies so infuriating. Anyone can promise the world without a way to provide for it. It takes something more--leadership--to remind people that we need to sacrifice to get what we want. Alternatively, I'm satisfied if a politician is frank about the programs that need to be cut to pay the bills. But you can't have it both ways.

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