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Just as surely as the seasons will change, so too will the Republican Party change in the most predictable of ways.   Ronald Reagan billed himself as a conservative while he was in office, despite racking up massive deficits.  By the time Democrat Bill Clinton came to office, the economic situation was dire.  The Republican Party, out of power, demanded fiscal responsibility in the name of "fiscal conservatism".  The Democrats, so often billed as "tax and spend politicians", handled the economy in a way that allowed George W. Bush to come to office with a budget surplus.  The Republicans, so often priding themselves as being the "fiscally responsible" party, came to the White House with a promise for "compassionate conservatism".

It's all part of a familiar pattern; berating deficit-spending when the White House is not under their control, and embracing deficit-spending when the White House is under their control.

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"Compassionate conservatism" led us to throw money at churches in the name of faith-based initiatives, which turned out to be one big money giveaway to a key group of supporters.

"Compassionate conservatism" led to our spending money on tried-and-failed abstinence policies.

"Compassionate conservatism" led us to topple a brutal, but by then isolated dictator.  You might have heard of him; his name was "Saddam Hussein".

Meanwhile, we burrowed money like crazy.  It's a continuous cycle amongst the Republican Party, with the wax and wane dependent on whether or not they have the White House.   Now that they are out of the White House, expect them to claim to be "fiscally responsible" as often as possible; to subtly and loudly accuse Democrats of being "fiscally irresponsible".  They'll wag their finger, pretending to be the mature adult so they can try to appear to be the mature adult in front of the electorate.  The electorate isn't that stupid after witnessing the last eight years.

The Republican Party will leave "compassionate conservatism" behind as they embrace "fiscal conservatism" yet again.  They only like "big government" when it is their administration, and they only admire "small government" when it's the Democrats' administration.   It's a silly cycle, so be ready to laugh as the Republican Party tries to reassert itself as the "party of responsibility".  They keep running their administrations with a credit card, only to pass the bill with demands of payment to whatever unfortunate Democrat beats them for the Oval Office.  It's so ridiculous that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Democrats are often criticized for screwing themselves over.  Republicans need to be criticized more often for screwing everyone-else over.

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Originally posted to Setrak on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:40 PM PST.

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