“But most of the whining takes the form of claims that the Bush administration’s failure was simply a matter of bad luck — either the bad luck of President Bush himself, who just happened to have disasters happen on his watch, or the bad luck of the G.O.P., which just happened to send the wrong man to the White House.
“The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.
“If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to ‘make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.’
“Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. ‘Government is not the solution to our problem,’ declared Ronald Reagan. ‘Government is the problem.’ So why worry about governing well?
Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s ‘Southern strategy,’ which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: ‘You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.’ In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.”
Bigger than Bush, by Paul Krugman, NYT Op/Ed, January 1, 2009
This is so goofy and so neo-Republican thinking of the past 40 years. Trickle down has always been the euphemism for getting pissed on. We can only improve from the bottom of the economic strata up. What benefits the poorest and neediest of us, benefits us all. Even the predators at the top. A healthy, educated, employed population is a productive and happy one. If you need some examples of what doesn’t work, try the Louis XVI and the neo-Repubs, starting with Nixon and onward. Weren’t there moderate Repubs once? I seem to remember some guy, briefly VP, named Rockefeller once…or did I dream that?