January 11, 2014
THE POINT BEING THAT THEY, THEREFORE, OPPOSE GOOD GOVERNMENT:
Compassionate Conservatives Are Confusing A Slogan With An Agenda : Good government inevitably becomes big government. (Ben Domenech, JANUARY 10, 2014, The Federalist)
In the year since President Barack Obama's re-election, a handful of advocates for compassionate conservatism have re-emerged to push back against limited government conservatives with the same agenda they've been peddling for nearly 15 years. Built around a message of governance in favor of the public good, they have chided the Tea Party and its limited government allies for ignoring the plight of the poor, heartlessly pursuing libertarian ends, and adopting a view of government's proper role which is unrealistic and ahistorical.The problem is that their own views are based on assumptions undermined by the failings of the George W. Bush presidency and by the organic growth in distrust in government among all Americans - and they fail to recognize the inherent weakness of their message, which confuses a political slogan with a coherent philosophy of governance and would allow for sweeping expansions of the state.
Even just completing the reforms that W left unfinished would be a major agenda for the next administration : moving taxation from income towards consumption; converting SS to personal stock accounts; liberalizing immigration; extending the HSAs that he set loose; and boosting home ownership rates.
It's hard to see what more you could add without diluting your own message.
As friend Domenech says, this sort of good government does mean bigger government. What he fails to reckon with is that the opposite is likewise true : the Right's advocacy of small/no government inevitably means bad government.
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2014 10:01 AM