March 28, 2005

Big Government Corrupts, Regardless of Party

I wrote a piece last December entitled "Pigs at the Public Trough" which talked about how the ideals of the 1994 Congressional revolution had dissipated into nothing more than power politics as usual.

Today's Wall Street Journal contains an editorial entitled "Smells Like Beltway: The real reason Tom DeLay is in political trouble" that only reinforces why big government corrupts, regardless of party. Here are a few excerpts:

By now you have surely read about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ethics troubles. Probably, too, you aren't entirely clear as to what those troubles are--something to do with questionable junkets, Indian casino money, funny business on the House Ethics Committee, stuff down in Texas. In Beltway-speak, what this means is that Mr. DeLay has an "odor": nothing too incriminating, nothing actually criminal, just an unsavory whiff that could have GOP loyalists reaching for the political Glade if it gets any worse.

The Beltway wisdom is right. Mr. DeLay does have odor issues. Increasingly, he smells just like the Beltway itself...

Taken separately, and on present evidence, none of the latest charges directly touch Mr. DeLay; at worst, they paint a picture of a man who makes enemies by playing political hardball and loses admirers by resorting to politics-as-usual.

The problem, rather, is that Mr. DeLay, who rode to power in 1994 on a wave of revulsion at the everyday ways of big government, has become the living exemplar of some of its worst habits...

...Rather than buck this system as he promised to do while in the minority, Mr. DeLay has become its undisputed and unapologetic master as Majority Leader.

Whether Mr. DeLay violated the small print of House Ethics or campaign-finance rules is thus largely beside the point. His real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office, and which, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out.

There were very legitimate reasons why the Founders believed in limited government. Our country would be better off if we quickly relearned the lessons they taught us a long time ago.


In contrast to the Wall Street Journal editorial, here are three counter-points:

First is a transcript from an interview with Tom DeLay that the Washington Times carried in its April 14 edition.

Second, Jeffrey Bell has written this article in the Weekly Standard.

Third, David Limbaugh has written this editorial.