Claims upon Jefferson
Thursday, April 13, 2006 :::
Jim Riley and Shaun Kenney have posts up regarding Thomas Jefferson's birthday, and an effort to reclaim Jefferson's legacy from the Democratic party.
I can see their points, and they are reasonable. Jefferson would have as little in common with today's Democrats as he would have with the Federalists of his own time.
But the notion that the modern GOP is somehow a better vessel in which to carry on Jefferson's ideals strikes me as wrong.
As I scribbled over at Shaun's site:
If the GOP holds Jefferson's ideals "closer to their hearts" than the Democrats, Shaun, then it is only marginally so.
Would Jeffersonian Republicans have approved the Medicare D program? Would they have fallen all over themselves to divert tens of millions of dollars in pork to their home districts through earmarks?
And for that matter, would they have approved something like the Patriot Act...especially given Jefferson's own opposition to the Alien & Sedition Acts?
I'd say that neither party holds Jefferson's ideals closely. They are merely different sides of the same coin -- one wedded to the primacy of the federal government and the expansion of its power, though at a slightly different pace.
There may have been a time when the GOP was more Jeffersonian than the Democrats. But no longer. They have become -- deliberately, and willingly, the party of government. And if anything, they are determined to make matters
worse. On spending on earmarks:
For weeks, the Republican Study Committee, a group of fiscally conservative Members, had been negotiating a spending outline with the House leadership. But when they finally struck a deal last week, Mr. Lewis refused to go along and threatened to defeat the budget on the House floor if Speaker Denny Hastert brought it up. With Democrats opposing the budget as a matter of party unity, GOP leaders gave up and left town for Easter recess without a vote on their budget blueprint for 2007.
On rotation in office:
Flake and others say they had second thoughts about their pledge. Few cite the pay — $165,200 this year — or the perks, such as government-funded pensions and short workweeks. Most say they realized they needed more time to land plum committee assignments and bring federal dollars to their districts.
They have become, in appearance, if not in fact, an "inconvenient aristocracy."
Is the GOP Jeffersonian? No. Not even close.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 4/13/2006