The Republicans never run out of excuses, never run out of reasons you have to vote for them, never run out of ways to betray you and still expect you to support them.

George W. Bush didn’t make a single proposal that would make government smaller, less expensive, less intrusive or less oppressive. But we were told we had to vote for him; otherwise, Al Gore would destroy Western Civilization as we know it.

Let’s defend a bad nomination

Now that he’s been elected, George Bush has demonstrated how little he cares about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by choosing for his Cabinet Republicans who have long careers of promoting big government.

One of the worst choices is John Ashcroft for attorney general. Ashcroft is a drug warrior of the first rank, a man who believes your constitutional liberties must take a back seat to the government’s futile effort to stop some other people from taking drugs.

But the Ashcroft nomination has run into opposition from Democrats and left-wing groups who object to Ashcroft’s anti-abortion beliefs, and who say he’s a racist because he voted against confirming a black judge.

So the Republicans ask us to come to Ashcroft’s defense — regardless of your feelings about him — in order to support George Bush and prevent the lefties from intimidating him.

As columnist Bill Murchison put it, “Because letting Ashcroft down at this point — irrespective of his merits, which in fact are considerable — would amount to hanging a ‘kick me’ sign on the presidential derriere. It wouldn’t be the last time someone took him up on the offer.”

In other words, let’s continue the pattern of having an attorney general who disregards the Constitution — if it’s necessary to ward off the evil leftists. And while we’re at it, let’s show George Bush we’ll support his mistakes as strongly as his achievements (if there ever are any).

Let’s also defend bad laws

Then there was the aborted Linda Chavez nomination. Chavez was accused of taking an illegal alien into her home. Once again, we were told we must circle the wagons and support the Bush selection — or else the Democrats will know they can walk all over him.

In this case the argument was that Chavez was acting as a humanitarian — helping a battered, homeless woman. Mona Charen has contrasted this situation with the problems Bill Clinton’s nominees had in 1993: “Chavez’s situation is being compared to that of Zoe Baird, President Clinton’s first nominee to head the Justice Department. But Baird was found to have been an abusive employer who was clearly taking advantage of an illegal alien couple. She was paying them a pittance and forcing them to work long hours. She paid no Social Security taxes for them.”

So the Republican Chavez was acting out of good motives; the Democrat Baird was bad.

No mention is made, or will be made, of the libertarian principle that none of this should be the province of government — that the government shouldn’t decide whom you can take into your home, that the government shouldn’t decide what you must pay someone who works for you, that the government shouldn’t force you to pay taxes into a fraudulent retirement scheme, that it’s no business of the government what you and a consenting adult agree to.

Instead, Republicans were defending Linda Chavez by implying that these governmental intrusions are important, and that Linda Chavez abided by them faithfully.

What should you do?

So who should you support in these skirmishes?

Neither. You don’t have to join either side. These aren’t your battles, so don’t get sucked into them. If freedom is your goal, don’t be sidetracked by petty disputes between the entrenched parties — each trying to use anything available to score points off the other.

Whether or not George Bush wins these initial scuffles, government is going to get bigger, more expensive, more intrusive and more oppressive.

Save your energy and your emotional involvement to fight for what you really want — greater liberty, much smaller government, and a return to the Constitution — not for what George Bush, the Republicans, or the Democrats want.

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