Burch: Big-government Republicans?

Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

As recently reported by The City Paper ’s Jeff Woods, Gov. Bill Haslam recently reprimanded state legislators for “introducing too many bills.” Haslam said the legislature should drastically curtail the number of new bills (about 2,200 the past year), explaining that “every bill that’s proposed actually does cost money.” He later told reporters, “As Republicans, we’re the party of smaller government. Let’s see if we can do that in terms of bill proposals.”

What happened to conservative principles such as “smaller” and “less intrusive” government? They seem to have flown out the window now that Republicans have the majority. Even worse, some of the bills are anti-freedom, anti-equality and, therefore, un-American. Will the majority really be “safer” if minorities are denied their constitutional rights and freedoms? How much money should Tennessee taxpayers be forced to fork out so that right-wing bigots can discriminate against teachers (and therefore students and their parents), the poor, the elderly, the medically uninsurable, union workers, gays, Hispanics, Muslims and anyone else who isn’t lily-white, rich and in the bloom of perfect health?

Woods noted the irony, pointing out that Haslam’s comments are “certain to irk Republican legislative leaders, who boasted of their efficiency at the end of this year’s session.” The sad reality seems to be that Tennessee Republicans are busy little beavers industriously whittling away at our cherished rights and freedoms. And like bad lawyers, they’re over-billing us for their “services.”

On a national level, things are even worse, since “fiscally responsible” conservatives never saw a trillion-dollar war they didn’t fall in love with at first sight. Their infatuation with military power is only exceeded by their hubris, as evidenced by the following quotations:

"Bring ’em on!" — George W. Bush

“We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” — Dick Cheney

“I don’t do quagmires.” — Donald Rumsfeld

“I don’t do body counts.” — Donald Rumsfeld

“Deficits don’t matter.” — Dick Cheney

“I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won’t last any longer than that.” — Donald Rumsfeld

“With every advance by our coalition forces, the wisdom of [our] plan becomes more apparent.” — Dick Cheney

If Republicans want to convince us that they’re fiscally responsible defenders of our constitutional rights, they should act in accordance with their principles. That would mean a smaller, more efficient, less intrusive government.

But there is no evidence that Republicans have any such intentions. Ronald Reagan kept the U.S. out of costly, unwinnable ground wars, even when Libya funded and supported acts of terrorism. If President Obama keeps us out of a ground war in Libya and manages to extract our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq in the near future, he will be the true, pragmatic heir of Reagan, knowing it is far better to carry a big stick for defensive purposes, than to use it for offensive purposes.

As the Southern proverb goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” So both here in Tennessee and nationally, Republicans need to deliver the goods or eat crow.


Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

58 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 6/24/11 at 8:24

"That is all they should get, and more than they deserve"

Here you have the elitist attitude of the GOP/Conservatives in a nutshell. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are only for those who meet the approval of the ruling class.
They wish to turn back the clock to 1800 and have what the Founders had: a tiny ruling elite, a large underclass, genocide, racism, sexism, and Imperialism.

They are anything but promoters of equality and freedom.

By: parnell3rd on 6/24/11 at 11:35

Very interesting article. I like how it starts at the state level then goes into National Politics.
Here is the dirty little secret. America is not ruled by a 2 party system. America is ruled by the Ivy League Colleges. And those politicians are ruled by the people with the money. Think about it. Where have our past Presidents gone to school?

By: parnell3rd on 6/25/11 at 8:31

Q. If Al Gore had one his home state in 2000 would he have won the election?
A. Yes, Tennessee carried enough electorial votes to hand him the Presidency, game over, he does not need Florida.
Maybe we were tired of career politicians who lived in DC more than Tennessee.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/25/11 at 10:22

The other Tea Party brain serr8d, always come back to the subject of gays. He hate for them makes me wonder if he is not fighting his on demons fears that he might be gay?

By: chiefpayne568 on 6/26/11 at 4:07

Hey Gdia,

Remember that INFLATION I was talking about? How is that working out for you now?

Sorry...really I hate to say I told you so.

I WISH I had been wrong...and on the timing I admit I was. But the coming inflation? Even you have to agree it's getting bad now.

By: chiefpayne568 on 6/26/11 at 4:09


Actually, once Al Gore got in with Bill Clinton as VP, he turned his back on a LOT of positions he had as a senator.

And it was this turnaround that caused people in Tennessee to vote against him.

By: pswindle on 6/26/11 at 4:34

Al never turned his back on TN. But as VP, he had all fifity states in his agenda. He did more for TN than Corker or Alexandra. We have the best roads because of him, and he would not let nuclear waste be transported to TN or through it. He said that it takes just one mistake. You can thank our present Sentors for letting TN be the dumping ground for nuclear waste. This is just a few of the things that we nned to thand Gore for.

By: bnakat on 6/26/11 at 10:10

@yogiman: Give the following url for reference concerning the birth certificate--


I am not saying that it proves the case, but it does furnish the same information you have been posting, plus updates. Several have claimed that you were untruthful in reporting what you had read. This confirms that the information, right or wrong is "out there."