Democrats can actually do a lot to reverse the idiotic perception that they are the party of big government by getting government out of regular people's lives. Just another example just popped up today - the new postal law allowing the Feds to seize any piece of mail without a warrant. That may very well be the last hurrah for Bush's police state. But it is still a worrying development - and something that should have been debated in public instead of slipped into some legislation, apparently unknown to the incoming leadership
So where should government stand in relation to the people being governed? Government should do two things effectively - protect the people and enforce laws designed for the common good of the country. That means enforcing the Clean Air Act, the Voting Rights Act and a lot more. Under Clinton we had aggressive enforcement of these laws. Under, Bush, well to quote Borat, "not so much."
Of course, the red herring of the past few years has been "protect the people" which has been attempted by creating the Department of Homeland Insecurity and then the idiotic war on terror. Sure we should root out terrorists, but the administration has prosecuted two wars with increasing ineptitude to the point where we are fomenting terrorism. Way to go guys. Now the new Democratic congress has pledged to pass the entire recommendations of the 9/11 commission and will further extend some needed oversight over the executive branch. Bush has lawyers already on call.
At this point, it is hard to see government actually getting smaller. The DHS is here to stay as is the Patriot Act. All those earmarks and pork projects that make government so big are actually popular with constituents and the equivalent of legislative crack for members of Congress. But I would like to see Democrats do what Bill Clinton did and take a look at government from top to bottom. I am sure it can be made more effective and this is the chance Dems have to break a long-standing cliche. It certainly should be a priority for whoever is the Dem nominee in 2008.
Will Dems do it? Who knows, but we can hope that the momentum behind the Revolution of 2006 is enough to get some things done before they jump on the pork train. Let Bush wield his veto pen. We'll hold them accountable in '08 too.