I heard Newt Gingrich on NPR this morning talking about how the GOP can make a comeback. After saying that small government and tax cuts are the primary feature of the GOP, he went on to say that we shouldn’t get the wrong idea. The GOP isn’t anti-government. In fact the smallest government he and most Republicans can imagine would be $1.5 trillion.
What they object to is “dumb government”. They are in favor of “smart government”. As examples of smart government, he noted that Lincoln built the transcontinental railroad, Teddy Roosevelt built the Panama canal, and Eisenhower built the interstate highway system.
Ummm…point of order.
When was the last time the GOP championed a national anything, outside of weapons and war? I’m thinking Eisenhower’s interstate 50 years ago. And where, exactly, is Eisenhower in the pantheon of GOP heroes these days? I’d say he’s about where that modern-day GOP hero Barry Goldwater put him—in the dumpster with other loathed liberals.
But I don’t want to dump on Newt too much. If the GOP is going to start moving their party in the direction of Lincoln, TR, and Eisenhower I say three cheers. But they’ve got a long way to go, and I think we need to see some action–not just words.
Incidentally, Newt didn’t specify what his $1.5 trillion government would look like, but since federal spending was $3 trillion in 2008 and $1.4 trillion of that was Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—I think you can kind of see what his “smart” government would look like.