Earlier today, I stumbled across an article in the National Review entitled, “Has Big Government Won?” Written in 2003, during the Bush presidency, the author of the piece asks if the Republican Party has cast off all notions of a fiscally responsible, constitutionally limited government and instead embraced the idea of unrestrained federal power.
Now that the Bush era is over, some Republicans feel that they can finally admit that the party strayed tremendously from its supposed principles during this time. That realization is no great news story, although it is worth repeating and remembering in the wistful hope that it never happens again. However, I’d like to draw your attention to the man referenced in the beginning of the article, then Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.
Although they aren’t direct quotes from Mr. Gillespie, the article states, “Gillespie basically said that the Republicans’ long-time war against big government has now ended. Government won.” Drawing from the Manchester News Leader, it goes on to add, “the party’s new chairman, energetic and full of vigor, said in no uncertain terms that the days of Reaganesque Republican railings against the expansion of federal government are over.”
Some would say that it doesn’t matter as it was ten years in the past and Ed Gillespie no longer heads the RNC. However, it is relevant to our present times because Ed Gillespie is currently running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in the state of Virginia. Therefore, what Virginia voters need to know is does he still embrace these opinions? Has big government won? On his website, he declares himself to be a conservative, and although conservatives come in a multitude of varieties, one would be hard-pressed to label embracing big government as anything approaching conservative.
A decade is long time and there is no doubt that political positions shift and change. But does Ed Gillespie still hold his previous opinions? Does he still believe that the Republicans should not fight against the expansion of federal power? And if the answer to these two questions is yes, can any voter who considers himself to be either conservative or libertarian support Mr. Gillespie for U.S. Senate?