Bush's blueprint calls for bigger, more powerful government. - An era of new federalism.
That's the Republicans in Atlanta. In Washington, they're marching to a different drumbeat.
The following are a few excerpts from an article in 2-9-05 Washington Post:
President Bush's second-term agenda would expand not only the size of the federal government but also its influence over the lives of millions of Americans by imposing new national restrictions on high schools, court cases and marriages.
In a clear break from Republican campaigns of the 1990s to downsize government and devolve power to the states, Bush is fostering what amounts to an era of new federalism in which the national government shapes, not shrinks, programs and institutions to comport with various conservative ideals, according to Republicans inside and outside the White House.
Bush maintains a stated desire to streamline the government. On Monday, he sent Congress a budget that would eliminate or consolidate 150 programs. But a growing number of conservatives are uneasy with what they deride as "big-government conservatism."
"He keeps expanding the federal involvement into state and local affairs," said Chris Edwards, a tax and budget expert at the Cato Institute, a think tank that often supports the president's agenda. "My hope would be that there would be an electoral rebuke of big [-government] Republicans like there was when the tectonic plates shifted in 1994."
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) [,an influential leader of House conservatives,] said: "The Republican majority, left to its own devices from 1995 to 2000, was a party committed to limited government and restoring the balances of federalism with the states. Clearly, President Bush has had a different vision, and that vision has resulted in education and welfare policies that have increased the size and scope of government."
In many ways, Bush is simply accelerating the trend toward a bigger, more activist government that was started early in his presidency.
All of this is a far cry from Republican dogma circa 1995 -- the year of the Republican Revolution. Back then, GOP leaders from Sen. Robert J. Dole (Kan.) to House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) talked of eliminating entire Cabinet departments, including Education, shrinking government, and returning power to the states and the people.
"If I have one goal for the 104th Congress, it is this: that we will dust off the 10th Amendment and restore it to its rightful place in the Constitution," then-Senate Majority Leader Dole said in his first speech of January 1995. "We will continue in our drive to return power to our states and our people." Republicans talked of devolution, ending "unfunded mandates" and killing government programs with the same zeal they reserve today for fighting terrorists and restructuring Social Security.
Pence said the only reason Republicans have not paid a political price for overseeing a huge growth in government has been the failure of Democrats to field a deficit hawk as a presidential candidate and to capitalize on the public appetite for smaller government. "I think to the extent Republicans depart from the historic commitment, we do so at our peril."