Four Days to Go: The GOP “Small Government” Joke

In the last 20-25 years, I don’t think a day has passed without seeing or hearing a Republican brag about how “small government”It’s really irritating. it would be less so if they actually were “small government.”I mean, I don’t believe a “small government” can provide services for 320 million people, but that’s just a disagreement. What is sickening about the Republican claims of “small government” is, they’re hypocrites. Everything they do makes government larger and (this is the ironic part) far more intrusive. That’s the part that bothers me. They claim to be the “small government” party, but their agenda always favors more government power. 

I don’t expect everyone to agree with this, but a government should be big enough to watch over the economy and the marketplace and keep the nation as safe and secure as possible. (key words: “as possible”). A government should perform basic services that benefit all of us and it should be large enough to do the things we as a democracy want it to do. On the other hand, a government should leave individuals alone to do what they wish, up to the point where they start to hurt people or infringe on their rights.

Unfortunately, the Republican definition of “small government” seems to be the opposite of that. We now have a Republican “president” who fancies himself as “the Boss of America” and they provide absolutely zero oversight. The Republican “president” is ripping off the Treasury daily and with impunity. They cry and piss and moan about being “strict constitutionalists,” but they have ignored Trump’s violations of the Emoluments Clause and they have allowed him to be as corrupt as possible. Their zeal for “small government” allows us to build a weapons apparatus larger than all other developed countries combined. On the one hand, they want the government to be small enough to leave the marketplace alone, so crooks can rip us off at will, but they want that “small government” to have the power to force women to stay pregnant against their will. Apparently, it has never occurred to them that, by handing the power to force women to stay pregnant now, they are also giving that same small government the power to force them to abort, should circumstances change. 

The Republican Party’s “small government” obsession fails to pass a smell test. They want lower taxes for the rich and fewer regulations on the rich and large corporations, which means the government can’t serve the people. They want the government to stop helping the poor move up the societal ladder and become productive, which means, they are in favor os wasting our tax money. If that’s what they mean by “small government,” no thank you. 

On the other hand, they have no problem making the government large enough to enforce draconian drug laws. They want to decide which art should and should not exist. Not only do they want to force a woman to stay pregnant against her will, but they also want to force her to undergo a vaginal probe in the process. They want to force everyone in the country to adhere to their personal religious beliefs, even though they themselves have no recognizable belief system. They want the government large enough to enforce their narrow version of marriage. They want the government to force everyone to conform to whichever “lifestyle” they deem acceptable. And they imagine enforcing all of this with the “small government” they envision. Uh huh.

Basically, the Republican version of “small government” refuses to create jobs for people. They waste time trying to repeal a bill that reformed healthcare and health insurance more than 70 times, and these “small government” Republicans have taken money away from the American people and their state governments on a regular basis, even as they keep running larger and larger deficits. These “small government” Republicans have repeatedly  attempted to redefine rape and sexual assault, in their zeal to give away a woman’s power over her own reproductive system to the “small government.” The redefinition of rape was attempted to rationalize forcing women who were victims of rape to keep their fetus. Is that a “small government,” or is that an overwhelmingly intrusive government. I don’t care how you feel about the abortion issue, if the government is forcing women to stay pregnant, it is not “small.” 

And let’s get real. Republicans insist their “small government” should be watching everyone, to make sure we’re not all terrorists, while Democrats focus on the people who have been identified as terrorists. It’s the Republican “small government” who want to be able to torture people again. 

“Small government” Republicans call LGBT rights, “special rights” because they want their “small government” to decide whose relationship is acceptable.  The “small government” Republicans think they are better able to decide who should and shouldn’t get a marriage license than the individuals who want to marry. They don’t advocate for removing government from the marriage business altogether, which would at least be consistent. Instead, they want the “small government” to decide who is and isn’t worthy of a marriage license. They have no problem with their “small government” abrogating people’s rights based on their own arbitrary standards.

The “drug war” was lost a long time ago, but you’d never know it if you examine how “small government” Republicans act. They have decided the best approach is to give police more and more power. Interdiction was proven unworkable back in the 1920s, during alcohol prohibition, and yet, the only solution “small government” Republicans seem able to come up with is more government power over individuals and to implement more ways to ruin the lives of average people. 

From the “small government” Republican point of view, shrinking the size of government means cutting the poor and middle class off at the knees. It only applies to spending money, except for the military, which they keep inflating beyond all reason. They don’t care if government intrudes into the lives of average Americans, as long as they leave the rich alone. Their vision of “small government” means your employer has the right to do anything they want, and you have only the right to quit. They believe all the brown and black people should have to prove they’re citizens and eligible to vote, even though the Constitution says the burden of proof that you’re not eligible is on the government, regardless of size.  

Republicans really couldn’t care less about “small government.” In fact, since the neocon era began in 1981, the only presidents to have shrunk the size of government and reduced the number of useless government regulations have been Clinton and Obama. And the only two presidents in that time to reduce deficits were Clinton and Obama. And you don’t get to start two wars off the books, spend trillions on them, and demonstrate an intention to keep them going forever, as Bush did and Republicans in Congress agreed to, and then claim you’re in favor of smaller government. And need I even mention the monstrosity that is the Department of Homeland Security, which is largely a Republican creation?

Republicans aren’t in favor of smaller government, and the concept of “Small Government Republican” is an incredible joke. Treat it that way and vote them the hell out of office. The government should be big enough to do its job and small enough to let us go about our daily lives. Republicans don’t care about anyone who isn’t rich and they look down on everyone else. That’s not the government we need. 

Also published on Medium.

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