Pundits on both left and right are saying that this represents a final verdict on the Bush administration’s eight years in office.
But, how far beyond the Bush presidency does the voters’ desire for change go? If voters have clearly rejected Republicans, have they also turned against the whole idea of conservatism — at least as defined by a belief in limited government?
To suggest that in electing Barack Obama and a Democratic congressional majority, voters were choosing big government and liberalism over small government and conservatism would imply that either the Bush administration, the current Republican congressional leadership, or, for that matter, John McCain, actually supported smaller government.
But even before the Wall Street bailout, President Bush spent money in a way that would make any liberal proud.
When Bush took office, the federal budget totaled $1.9 trillion. This year it will top $3 trillion, with a deficit of nearly $400 billion. And that was before the massive bailout of Wall Street.
Under President Bush, domestic discretionary spending has increased faster than under any president since Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society.
Not a single major government program or agency was eliminated.
According to an analysis of 25 major government programs by USA Today, enrollment increased an average of 17 percent in the programs, while the nation’s population grew by only 5 percent.