The Empire Strikes Back

by Stephen H. Miller on March 15, 2012

David Boaz of the Cato Institute remarks to Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin:

Every time Republicans have a big win — 1980, 1994, 2010 — it’s because Democrats have overreached on their big-government agenda and Republicans campaign on lower taxes and limited government. Every Republican strategist knows that smaller government is the unifying theme for Republicans and independents in this election. I think even Santorum knows it. I think he doesn’t really mean to get distracted into talking about homosexuality, contraception, and the outrage of separation of church and state. He just can’t help it.

In 2010, the nascent Tea Party movement, focused on fighting back against Obama’s trillions of dollars of debt expansion thrown willy-nilly at politically favored boondoggles, led to the GOP takeover of the House and strong gains in the Senate. But the empire strikes back, and social conservatives supporting Rick Santorum, the anti-libertarian, (and this) are showing they’re still potent.

This occurs just as the Koch brothers are attempting to take over the libertarian Cato Institute (a think tank that has played an important role in advancing gay legal equality, such as through its Supreme Court brief in Lawrence v. Texas that was cited approvingly in his decision by Justice Kennedy, and in supporting marriage equality) and turn Cato into another arm of their Republican election machine by placing Koch employees, Republican campaign operatives and social conservatives on its board. More on the libertarian-conservative divide from Outside the Beltway.


Houndentenor March 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

And yet when those Republicans actually are elected they do cut taxes but never get around to reducing government spending, thereby adding to the deficit.

You are right that anti-big government was a good rallying cry in 2010. And once elected, those Tea Party candidates seemed more concerned about women’s reproductive rights and gay marriage than about balancing budgets.

Doug March 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm

What Republican administration has reduced the size and cost of the federal government?

another steve March 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm

The rate of growth in Federal spending fell from 4% of GDP under Jimmy Carter to 2.5% under Ronald Reagan.

Houndentenor March 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm



another steve March 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

There is no dispute about this fact whatsoever. It’s in every report. But here’s a source:

And please spare us your sophmoric geek insults (“Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud”).

Doug March 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Jorge March 16, 2012 at 1:34 am

And once elected, those Tea Party candidates seemed more concerned about women’s reproductive rights and gay marriage than about balancing budgets.

Did you miss Michelle Bachman?

Well, so much for a nice, pragmatic middle ground, but I’m not going to complain.

Houndentenor March 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I was thinking about all the new laws at the state level ordering sonograms for women considering terminating their pregnancies or gag orders on doctors preventing them from telling women that there is a problem with their pregnancy. Those sorts of laws.

As for forgetting about Michelle Bachmann, if only I could. Both her and her closet queen of a husband would be banished from my memory if I had my way.

TomJeffersonIII March 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Michelle Bachmann (I live in Minnesota) is certainly not some sort of ‘middle ground’ Republican. She aggressively pushed for a State Amendment banning gay marriage/civil unions as a State legislator and do so at the Federal level as a Congresswoman. I seem to recall her being upset when the state anti-gay criminal law was struck down in 2001.

Cato Institute has a complicated history of appealing to both conservatives and libertarians. They are not my cup of tea. Its ‘friend of the court’ brief in Lawrence v. Texas is actually quite good.

another steve March 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Another view, here:

President Obama has run up more debt in three years than President Bush did in eight, and he plans to run up more still — from ten trillion in 2008 to fifteen and a half trillion now to 20 trillion and beyond. Onward and upward! The president doesn’t see this as a problem, nor do his party, and nor do at least fortysomething percent of the American people. The Democrats’ plan is to have no plan, and their budget is not to budget at all. “We don’t need to bring a budget,” said Harry Reid. Why tie yourself down? “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution,” the treasury secretary told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. “What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

Houndentenor March 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Just 8 years ago Dick Cheney was saying that deficits don’t matter. I’m glad the GOP has finally realized that deficits do matter. If only they’d realize that before getting us into so much debt.

Also, if you take out the two wars, the Bush tax cuts and Medicare Plan D, Obama wouldn’t have run up that much debt.

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