Sunday, February 03, 2008

Which Party Are We?

I like Brian Lamb, but he gets a bit repetitive when he always asks(asked) his interviewees whether American Revolutionary X would today be a Democrat or a Republican.

The society of active Republican lawyers is called the Federalists, and the 1800s party Democratic-Republicans, the Federalist's rivals, have been in existence ever since and are now called the Democrats. Should be pretty easy, right?

I think everyone has it backwards. I think the Democrats are clearly the Federalists, while the Republicans are just as clearly the Democratic-Republicans.

The main issue is size and scope of government. If the Congress is any indicator, and VoteView any guide, then the Democrats are the party of an expanded Federal government, while the Republicans represent limited government and stronger states. Voteview says well over 90% of all votes in Congress are along this one dimensional axis. Ron Paul, the libertarian, is quite predictable. If it involves the Federal government doing something, he says no. He was against Civil Rights, because it involved the government doing something. He is against OAS/DI (Social Security) because it involves the federal government doing something. John Conyers is at the other end of the current Congress.

This nicely matches the Federalist/Democratic-Republican split in 1800. Washington was known to have laughed at the idea of sovereign states, and certainly Hamilton was big into making all debt and banking issues into national ones. So, to the contrary of pretty much all the authors I heard Brian Lamb interview, I'd say George Washington would be a Democrat, and Thomas Jefferson a Republican.
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