September 8, 2021

John Avlon talks about how the Republicans sold themselves as "the party of small government."

"In the shifting landscape of American politics, there seem to be at least one constant: the Republican party stood for small government," he said.

I believe today as I believed 25 years ago in small government.

I want to restore to America the values of economic freedom and opportunity and small government.

Fiscal discipline and a smaller government.

Small government.

Small government.

Definitely a pro balanced budget and pro smaller government party.

"This was the default argument that connected libertarians with evangelicals and the business community. They all said they wanted less top-down bureaucracy and more local control. But that was then, this is now. Because this summer we saw governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas trying to ban local mask mandates. threatening to withhold school salaries if local school boards bucked their state's bureaucratic dictates.

"Not only that, these Republican governors signed executive orders banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination for customers during a pandemic and in return for their efforts, Florida and Texas saw the most covid deaths and cases in this country this summer by far. That's a steep price to pay for presidential ambitions. Now, we have seen some anti-vax protesters claim they're pursuing a pro choice position when it comes to public health. That might play in the California recall but of course that logic has its political limits, like when the Texas legislature produced the most draconian anti-abortion law since Roe v. Wade.

"Now, Republicans being anti-choice when it comes to abortion is no surprise. It's been standard operating procedure for a generation. The surprise comes when you tell people it wasn't always this way. After all, a Republican Supreme Court justice penned the opinion in Roe v. Wade while the wife of libertarian icon in 1964 nominee Barry Goldwater co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona.

"Speaking of, you know what's the opposite of libertarian? Having the government encourage people to turn in their neighbors. But that's essentially what the Texas law so-called 'bounty hunter' provision does. It actually incentivizes citizens to sue any person who helps a woman longer than six weeks pregnant seek an abortion, from doctors and nurses to neighbors and even drivers -- and get a minimum of $10,000 in return. That seems more East German Stasi than Walker Texas Ranger.

"We're also making Republicans the party of lawsuits, at least where women are concerned but these eye-popping hypocrisies are part of a post Trump span. Claims of fighting for individual freedom turn into anti-trans laws. Claims supporting free markets lead to threats against private companies for not toeing their partisan line, and claims for fighting for election integrity lead to the kneecapping of local election officials to make election administrations more susceptible to partisan pressure.

"They're in favor of government mandating morality, just not when it comes to civil rights. They're in favor of telling local businesses what to do if it'll benefit them with the base, death toll be damned. In their hands, apologies to Janis Joplin, 'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.' And given the fiscal conservativism that's often a fig leaf for a lot of this small government talk, another debt ceiling fight looming this fall, don't forget that one Donald Trump raised the debt by nearly 8 trillion or some 36%, Republicans didn't say boo -- but they did vote to raise the debt ceiling three times.

"But don't be fooled. Republicans still under the sway of Donald Trump, it's not about small government principles. It's about the pursuit of power, pure and simple. And that's your reality check," Avlon concluded.

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