Want to know why the GOP has lost its way? John Georgiton from Columbus, Ohio, summed it up perfectly in the WSJ (May 7, 2009, Letters to Editor, A16):
Government expenditures can be broken down into major categories: the military, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All other government agencies constitute the final 20% of the budget. The GOP has a hands-off policy for the military and it is not politically possible to make large cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and still get elected. If the GOP ran for office telling the 80 million people who will rely on these programs over the next 20 years that the GOP plans to cut their Medicare and Social Security benefits by 50% to give wealthy taxpayers tax cuts, it just wouldn't fly.
The author points out that the GOP considers defense spending a sacred cow. Consistent with its small government platform, the GOP should be willing to cut defense spending. We spend $1.2 trillion on defense--more than the next largest fourteen countries combined. The sooner the GOP returns to its glory days of Eisenhower and Goldwater, the better.
Update: the May 8, 2009 WSJ says we will spend at least $550 billion on defense spending in 2010.