By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
There’s a lot of commentary out today about the future of the Tea Party and Republicans. The biggest danger to Republicans is that if they pander too much to angry voters, they’ll sound anti-government. Small government is mainstream, but anti-government is fringe.
On healthcare reform, it’s the difference between “Repeal-and-Replace” to control costs, and just “Repeal.” On education, it’s the difference between “Support School Vouchers” and “Abolish the Department of Education.” Between “Audit the Fed” and “End the Fed.” To a lot of people, anti-government is what Ruby Ridge was all about. And small government is what Ronald Reagan was all about. Big difference, and Republicans need to stay on the side of limited government and fiscal responsibility to stay in the mainstream.
Our founding fathers believed that government can not only provide order and security, but it can preserve human liberty. Americans believe in equal rights and equal opportunities for all, as well as equal responsibilities, and our Constitution enables our government to ensure those. Put in those terms, surely most of us can agree that we need government. For most of us, it’s just a question of how much government.
There’s a bright line between an efficient, effective government with limited powers and an intrusive, over-reaching, fiscally irresponsible government. The former is where Republicans need to be. These days, with the stimulus bill, healthcare reform, the bailouts, and cap-and-trade, it’s not hard to see that the Democrats seem to support the latter.