STUDY: U.S. policy has moved increasingly left over the last 70 years

Matt Grossman is a political scientist at Michigan State University. Last week he published an interesting op-ed in The Washington Post enttitled “U.S. policy has gone liberals’ way for 70 years.”

It shreds the establishment Republicans’ claims that moderate, centrist positions are a path to electoral victory. The reason?

Conservatives in Congress are the prime suspects in Washington’s dysfunction. Veteran congressional watchdogs Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann called the previous session the “worst Congress ever,” and they did not hold back in assigning blame: “The Republicans are the problem,” they said. After a fruitless government shutdown last fall, even House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at conservative groups and passed bills over the opposition of his caucus.

In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.

The reason: the progressive left has framed the debate and the playing field for decades leaving the GOP to play non-stop defense.

…Of the 509 most significant domestic policies passed by Congress, only one in five were conservative, in that they contracted the scope of government funding, regulation or responsibility. More than 60 percent were liberal: They clearly expanded government. The others offered a mix of liberal or conservative components or took no clear ideological direction. When significant policy change occurs in the executive branch, it is even less likely to be conservative; only 10 percent of the executive orders and agency rules that policy historians cited were conservative.

Even labeling as conservative policy government expansions in pursuit of conservative goals, such as traditional values or tougher sentencing,
makes little difference in this conclusion; few significant policy changes fall into this category, though we hear about them often in campaigns…

In other words, when Congress acts it is almost invariably expanding government, not constraining it.

There is a good reason why conservatives are often charged with obstruction. When government is more active, it is usually moving policy to the left. When Congress has doubled its normal productivity, many more liberal laws pass but not necessarily more conservative laws. There was only one session of Congress, the two years after the Republican takeover in 1994, that was both active and conservative, but it did not last. Under President Ronald Reagan, the executive branch made more conservative policy changes only during the first two years of his presidency. Productive policymaking means more domestic spending, more business regulation and wider government responsibility.

The view that normal legislating and bipartisan compromises lead to expanded government is no tea party illusion; it is an accurate reading of the past 70 years.

…the federal government has continually expanded its role in education, civil rights, the environment and health care — and Republican presidents have played large roles in this. Nixon entrenched the Great Society and oversaw the environmental revolution. Reagan was less active domestically but signed more government expansions than contractions. President George H.W. Bush brought us landmarks such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and his son brought us No Child Left Behind and a new Medicare entitlement.

This history does not bother some Republicans, who see opportunities to fashion new ideas and bargain in pursuit of conservative objectives. But even past policymaking designed to promote markets, safeguard morality and protect the homeland usually expanded government. If contraction is the goal, a positive policy agenda is unlikely to succeed…. The arc of the policy universe is long, but it bends toward liberalism. Conservatives can slow the growth of government but an enduring shift in policy direction would be unprecedented. History shows that a do-nothing Congress is a conservative’s best-case scenario.

All of this tells me that the only way to constrain government is to convene an Article V Convention of the States and to pass amendments similar to those described in The Liberty Amendments.

The federal government seems incapable of controlling itself, so it is incumbent upon the states to do so.

Hat tip: Mark Levin

Doug Ross @ Journal

Responding to Iran: Americans are not fooled by Khamenei’s lies. But what troubles us most is President Obama’s “feckless” policy towards Iran. He is presiding over the systemic collapse of American credibility around the globe.

MEME-SecondHolocaust-small(New York City, New York) — An Iranian official this week attacked an op-ed I recently wrote with Senator Santorum for as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

You can read our original op-ed here, and the Iranian official’s op-ed here.

Here is Senator Santorum’s and my response:

The American people are not fooled by the lies of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Americans understand that Iran’s illegal nuclear program poses a grave danger to U.S. national security, to Israel, to NATO, and to our Arab allies in the Middle East.  

As we stated in our column, a new poll shows that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if the world allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Given that the Khamenei regime is one of the world’s worst state sponsors of terror, Americans are right to be so deeply concerned.


The regime’s response to our column would be laughable if its intent wasn’t so diabolical. Tehran is trying to use Hitler-esque spin as part of its charm offense. The mullahs are saying they just want peace and are hoping the West will surrender and ease off — or dismantle — the sanctions, even as they steadily develop the ability to annihilate their enemies.


What troubles us most, however, is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.


We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.


In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat.

The stakes are too high for miscalculation.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Larwyn’s Linx: GOP again chooses politics over policy on immigration

Send us tips! Bloggers: install a Larwyn’s Linx widget. Get real-time news, 24/7, at BadBlue.


GOP again chooses politics over policy on immigration: Allen West
More Common Core: Pay Attention, Democrats: Caleb Howe
Fighting back against IRS targeting of conservatives: Nice Deb

A Day of Death: Thomas Crown
The Magnitude of Their Power: Christian Mercenary
Looking for Mr. Jefferson: Clyde Wilson

The Heroism of Wendy Davis: Ann Coulter
To Hipsters Who Think Communism Is Cool: Glob
Sorry About Calling You ‘Uncle Tom’: Larry Elder

Muslims and Political Influence in Chris Christie’s New Jersey: Creeping
GOP establishment: Quit attacking Tea Party and deliver results: Herman Cain
Texas executes man despite opposition from Mexico: AP


Aetna CEO: We May Just Have to Pull Out of Obamacare: Bryan Preston
Wall Street adviser: Actual unemployment is 37.2%, ‘misery index’ worst in 40 years: Exam
Hundreds of Patients in Ohio Lose Doctors Thanks to Obamacare: TruthRevolt

Scandal Central

SMOKING GUN: New Documents Reveal Obama’s Anti-Capitalist Agenda: CFP
Allen West: Obama intentionally trying to overload welfare system (Cloward & Piven): Scoop
What does the NSA Know about Obama?: Loudon

Climate & Energy

Trial, and Error: Michael Mann vs. Free Speech: Mark Steyn
Guardian’s catastrophism leads circulation to plummet ?: Anthony Watts
What is your favorite memory of the Global Warming Winter of 2014?: Marathon


Trevor Loudon’s Dream Team for 2016 Big Hit at SC Tea Party Convention: Breitbart
Blogging Made Easy, 2: Protein Wisdom
Robert Gates and the taint of the insider tell-all: Victor Davis Hanson

Volokh Conspiracy moving to WaPo: Unyielding
A Message to Obama: SHTFplan
Are you an adult or just a sheep? (Language Warning): NC Gun Blog


Obama’s Iran Sanctions Relief Could Fund Terrorism Against U.S.: WFB
War and Dishonor: Daniel Greenfield
Stunner! Iranian FM on Nuke Deal: ‘We Did Not Agree to Dismantle Anything’: GWP

Israeli Forces Break Up Al-Qaeda Plot to Blow Up US Embassy in Tel Aviv: GWP
‘Warzone’: Open street battles in Kiev as rioters, police face-off (PHOTOS): RT
How Chinese Oligarchs Quietly Parked Up To $ 4 Trillion In The Caribbean: ZH

Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue Tech News)

Ukrainian government texts ominous Orwellian message directly to cell phones of protesters: Verge
Mendix, An App-Builder Platform For The Enterprise, Closes $ 25M Series B: TechCrunch
Artificial intelligence networks: We, robots: Economist


Chris Christie’s Staff Blames Bridge Closing on Anti-Islam Video: Daily Rash
Since liberals think gender is an artificial construct, then this shouldn’t offend them…: Looking Spoon
Rumor: Barack and Michelle Secretly Preparing Winter Olympic Presentation: iOTW

Image: McDonnell won’t answer questions on Rolex
Sponsored by: Send a love letter to the cowardly GOP Establishment: support Matt Bevin for Senate

QOTD: “Well, I think that we have to stop saying that the president’s economic policies are failing and we start looking at really what the trend is. We’re seeing an incredible growth of the welfare nanny state, We’re seeing the poverty roles explode. We’re seeing the food stamp roles explode. We’re seeing more dependency on the government largess and programs. Look at what just happened kicking part-time workers off of their health care insurance plans. We’re seeing a desperation and a despondency out there that’s being created by this administration.

And it caused me to go back and read about the Cloward/Piven strategy of Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven who were Columbia University professors. (And it just so happened that the president went to Columbia.)

They talked about overloading the welfare system to a point where it would collapse, you would cause such chaos and then you would have to move from a welfare system to almost a national income system. And when you think about this 11th extension of unemployment benefits, it’s almost like the federal government’s trying to pay people not to get out there and participate in the job market.” —Allen West

Doug Ross @ Journal

JUST ONE CALAMITY AMONG MILLIONS: Obamacare Throws Pregnant Woman Off Her Policy, Leaves Her Uninsured

Step back for a moment and consider the hubris required to believe that a single law — tens of thousands of pages of regulations — could replace all of the decisions made regarding one-sixth of the economy… and could do so without harming millions of individuals.

With that as a backdrop, please consider just one of those millions of horror stories.

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $ 98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $ 238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $ 80,000 a year combined.

It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

The Harris family is but one household among millions who have lost coverage, lost hours at work, or have lost their jobs altogether. A quick search on Twitter confirms the inconvenient truth.

In short, Obamacare’s website is the very least of its problems.

Hat tip: BadBlue News.

Doug Ross @ Journal