Its important to highlight this Republican schizophrenia, as it not only infects the GOP, it produces a wildly distorted sense of who Americans are. It causes us to boast about our democracy, while were actually slipping into plutocracy. The US is going crazy and its the GOPs fault.
Americans are worried about terrorist attacks and believe that the GOP is the Party best able to protect the nation. Citizens cling to this misconception despite the fact that during the Bush regime there have been two successful attacks on the US; one on 9/11/2001 when terrorists commandeered planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the other on 8/29/2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. In neither case did the Bush Administration respond effectively. After 9/11 there was an investigation by the 9/11 Commission that pointed out grievous errors made by the White House. Most of these have yet to be remedied by the Republican-controlled Congress.
During the last five years, the GOP has doggedly increased military funding. Today, the US spends almost as much money on defense, approximately $517 Billion, as do all the other nations of the world combined, around $583 Billion. The US defense budget has become the sacred cow of American politics, which few politicians are willing to criticize. Yet a bloated military is equivalent to an effective defense.
The GOP also boasts that they are the Party of low taxes and small government. Certainly taxes have gone down since George Bush was elected President. But the result has not been smaller government; Federal spending has increased at the fastest rate since the Nixon Administration. The actual ideology of the GOP has been lower taxes and increase spending.
This Republican profligacy has had four negative consequences. The first is to produce massive deficits, which have weakened the American economy. The second is that tax reduction, which favored the rich, has accentuated inequality. The third is that growth of the defense and security sectors, coupled with the Bush drive for an omnipotent Presidency, has resulted in a savage infringement on individual liberties, moved America closer to a police state. And the fourth consequence has been to eliminate strategic planning in Washington. The Bush Administration sees no further than the next election. Their short-term, win-at-all costs attitude has infected all levels of the Federal bureaucracy. As a result, major strategic issuesglobal climate change, American competitiveness, and energy independencehave been ignored.
Furthermore, the cornerstone of American values is the golden rule, do to others as you would have them do to you. Real family values begin with honesty and equity. Yet, for five years the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress have been characterized by dishonesty and venality.
In retrospect, GOP schizophrenia began with George Bushs promise to usher in an era of responsibility. What he actually initiated was an era of unfettered greed, a period where the watchword has been, whats in it for me? The GOP continually lies to Americans about what they stand for. Its no wonder that Americans feel crazy; theyve been subjected to five years of a schizophrenic Republican agenda.