Sep 20, 2010 4:23 AM GMT
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0607.wolfe.htmlContemporary conservatism is first and foremost about shrinking the size and reach of the federal government. This mission, let us be clear, is an ideological one. It does not emerge out of an attempt to solve real-world problems, such as managing increasing deficits or finding revenue to pay for entitlements built into the structure of federal legislation. It stems, rather, from the libertarian conviction, repeated endlessly by George W. Bush, that the money government collects in order to carry out its business properly belongs to the people themselves. One thought, and one thought only, guided Bush and his Republican allies since they assumed power in the wake of Bush vs. Gore: taxes must be cut, and the more they are cut--especially in ways benefiting the rich--the better.
But like all politicians, conservatives, once in office, find themselves under constant pressure from constituents to use government to improve their lives. This puts conservatives in the awkward position of managing government agencies whose missions--indeed, whose very existence--they believe to be illegitimate. Contemporary conservatism is a walking contradiction. Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government.
Rehashing an old article, but very relevant here.
Solution: cut down the size of government without letting your constituents know that you're taking away the "pork" that sustains them. The question is, what is "fat" and what is "lean meat"? Or should we all be vegetarians?
That seems to be the point of Joe Klein's interview this week in TIME--you can't have all of what you want at the same time, unless you want to be self-contradictory.