Thirty years ago, the nation embarked on a program of massive deregulation. AT&T was broken up, the airlines were deregulated, and there was even talk of closing the Department of Education and getting the federal government out of the education business. Much of this happened, interestingly enough, under a Democratic Party president. The Airline Deregulation Act which fundamentally changed the nature of civilian aviation was enacted in 1978 and signed into law by President Carter.
There is a saying that it takes Nixon to go to China. This means that if an unpopular policy is to be pursued, it has to be a president of the party which by and large opposes that policy to successfully push it through. Whereas a dovish Democrat considered to be soft on socialism couldn't go to China without generating a storm of criticism from hawkish Republicans, Nixon wasn't likely to come in for nearly as much criticism from his usual opponents who favor the policy or from his usual allies who are loathe to criticize the leader of their team.
One may perhaps recall the outrage when Hillary Clinton attempted to socialize the health care system. She was eyed with suspicion from the start because everyone knows Democrats desperately want a Canadian-style health care system where everyone waits a long time to receive the same poor-quality care as anyone else, and doesn't have to pay for it so long as they survive long enough to receive it. (This is assuming they don't simply travel to the USA or Switzerland the way all the rich Europeans do in order to escape their own low-quality national health care systems.) So, when Hillary began working with her task force, this had the effect of a hurricane of opposition which quickly gathered enough force to destroy the attempt.
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It is often surprising to those who believe Democrats are anti-war to learn that most of America's wars were launched by Democratic Party presidents. Despite getting elected on a promise to keep America out of the Great War, Woodrow Wilson got us into it. Democratic icon FDR did everything he could to get America into World War II; there is substantial evidence that the attack on Pearl Harbor was permitted to take place due to his hitherto unsuccessful efforts to drag unwilling Americans into war with the Axis. It was Harry Truman who presided over the Korean war, John Kennedy who first sent American troops to Vietnam and even Bill Clinton invaded Somalia and bombed Serbia. Although in characteristic Clintonian fashion, he couldn't commit to proper military engagements any more than he could manage full sexual relations with his notorious intern.
Because Republicans are commonly supposed to be the warmongers, any war upon which they embark is likely to be problematic. Hence the intrinsic opposition to Bush the Younger's wars, despite the approval for them voted by the House and Senate. Democrats, being presumed pacifists, can much more easily lead the nation to war because the assumption is that if they are willing to go to war, they must have a good reason. This phenomenon can be described as counterpush, which means that a controversial policy can be most successfully championed by someone who is presumed to be opposed to it.
Being perceived as the party of business and capitalism, Republicans are actually the party that can more successfully expect to encroach upon it when in power. This is why the Bush administration can approve the nationalization of the U.S. housing market with barely a peep from the supposedly conservative commentariat. A Democrat uttering the infamous words "too big to fail" is liable to be doubted, but if a nominally free-market Republican somberly declares the need to allow the government to take over a business rather than permitting it to do what most business do naturally and fail, everyone assumes that it must be necessary and accepts it as a necessary evil.
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It is interesting, then, to consider what policies the two men now running for president will likely pursue if they are elected. Based on the principle of counterpush, John McCain will likely pursue more nationalization in the health care and finance industries, and, as he has done in the past, immigration amnesty. He will also accept more stringent international limitations on American sovereignty. Barack Obama, on the other hand, will likely pursue a much more aggressive military policy than anyone imagines and expand the Patriot Acts to even more strictly limit American liberties than President Bush has already. And, believe it or not, he may even attempt to balance the budget.
To attempt to claim that one evil is greater or lesser than the other is to fail to note the historical patterns. Due to the principle of counterpush, one must conclude that it requires a lesser evil to accomplish the objectives of the greater one.