When we think of Boston, our first thought is not of the Kennedy family or Sen. John Kerry, but the Boston Tea Party of 1773; Boston was the home to revolutionaries Sam and John Adams. The Tea Party is a national, indeed global, symbol of revolt against taxation and repressive government.
Into that proud tradition come the Democrats in convention gathered. If George Bush has propounded big government as the answer to everything from charity funding to prescription drugs, paid for with deficits, look for the Democrats to promote bigger government, paid for with new taxes.
King George III would be pleased.
So it will be a difficult week for lovers of liberty, who seek limited government, free markets, free trade and more responsibility and problem-solving in the hands of the individual and private sector, and, most certainly, dealt with locally rather than by federal rule.
We would look for Sen. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, this week to try to further distinguish himself from George Bush, especially as the two of them so far are hitting similar notes on the major issues. The most glaring one is the war in Iraq. Sen. Kerry seems happy to have it both ways, being perceived as an anti-war candidate because of his anti-Vietnam War activism 30 years ago, while actually favoring sending even more U.S. troops to Iraq. He voted for giving Bush the authority to go to war and still supports it. As does presumptive vice-presidential candidate John Edwards.
We will listen closely for how Sen. Kerry intends to pay for the bigger government he proposes and how, at the same time, he can promise tax cuts. Neat trick if you can do it.
President Bush and the Republican Congress have rung up a massive federal deficit of more than $500 billion anticipated for fiscal year 2005, which begins in October. A major part of the problem is that President Bush boosted discretionary spending an average of 8 percent per year in his first three budgets. Spending on education alone skyrocketed 47 percent in that period.
On Thursday, Sen. Kerry spoke in Detroit to the National Urban League’s annual conference and attacked President Bush because “(t)his administration’s budget falls $27 billion short of its promise to fully fund No Child Left Behind.”
Sen. Kerry has decried the deficit and promised he will pay for any new programs he favors with tax increases. And he already has proposed tax cuts for the middle class to be paid for, supposedly, by repealing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy.
The Kerry plan raises more questions than answers: Which taxes will he raise to make up for that supposed shortfall in No Child Left Behind? Will the “wealthy” — business and jobs creators — be hit up again? And where in the Constitution is any spending at all for this Bush program authorized?
We look for a week where taxpayer largess is promised to group after group. We look for a week where speakers attempt to launch careers for higher national office (Hillary Clinton), remake their legacy (Bill Clinton) or present themselves as leaderly (John Kerry). We are disappointed that, even more than in other recent elections, neither major party seems much concerned about restoring the liberties of Americans that were bought by the blood and sacrifice of our forefathers. We expect little discussion of the true and limited role of government in our lives, and how to make it so.
Yet we take heart in the words of that old rabble-rouser, Bostonian Sam Adams: “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”