A friend sent me an excerpt from a July 2004 column by George Will (see "Parties to a Sense of Entitlement," http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22700-2004Jul28.html :
"The tone-setting activists of both parties exemplify an unpleasant product of modern government: the entitlement mentality. They believe not merely that their party deserves to govern because of the superior wisdom of its policies but that they are entitled to govern because of their moral and intellectual superiority."
Wow. What a surpassingly wise column!
Rush Limbaugh,of all people, on the radio the other day made a tangentially similar point: Bush, he said, has increased federal spending more in his term than Clinton did in two terms. He has rolled back no meaningful part of the federal scope. Why, he wanted to know, are the Democrats so mad at him? He's a better Democrat than the Democrats! Why are Republicans so mad at Clinton? He proved a better Republican than Bush has so far!
As for myself, I've often pointed out that the stated difference between governmental nirvana and the end of the world as we know it hinges each budget year, rhetorically, on the difference between the Democrats' budget proposals, and the Republicans' counterproposals, which historically and traditionally differ by a few percentage points.
The real difference: A Republican candidate *promises* to eliminate the Department of Education, and a Democratic candidate doesn't. A Democratic candiate *pledges* his stout opposition to war in every form; his rival doesn't.
Once in office, they each do much the same as the other--and the Republican doesn't eliminate the department, at most merely trimming its budget--for the first year only--by one or two percent; while the Democrat initiates (or continues) whatever warlike conflicts seem advisable to his pollsters--different wars, differently fought, perhaps, but wars nonetheless. (The two Bushes in Iraq, for example, the two-term Clinton in Yugoslavia and East Africa, for example.Truman and Eisenhower in Korea; Kennedy and Nixon in Vietnam.)
And I again remark on the role of the press: They *love* this kind of overblown rhetoric, and since they *never* follow through (unless a politician remarks on it), there is no sense that you have to deliver on your statements.