The doctor walked into the examining room to deliver the news. He looked into the eyes of his anxiety-ridden patient and declared that the only way to save his life was to remove his brain and his heart. He explained that he would be hooked up to a computer to do what thinking was necessary and that an artificial heart would provide all of the compassion required. But the important thing was that his body would go on living. That is what the candidates at the Republican debate seemed to be advocating for our nation this evening. They continued to make government evil and the cause of all that is wrong in our country. Rand Paul clearly inferred that his goal is to make government virtually invisible. This kind of anti-government nonsense is, in fact, nothing but red meat thrown to a the ill-Informed and uneducated Republican base. Yet, when we discuss specifics it’s a different story.
It is interesting, for example, to note how many red state governors have requested federal assistance to help them cope with a national disaster. How fast do you think the Republican base would complain about the results of deregulation in the manufacture of drugs or food processing? How would those same base voters react to a lack of bank regulation or safety standards for cars or toys. Would these very anti-government people really like to go back to the early 20th century and the lack of worker protection when business ruled and everyone else followed? We won’t even get into the government supports that have enabled entire sectors of our economy to survive. Neither will we discuss the inherent contradictions in this group when dealing with abortion or marriage equality.
The Republicans are playing a dangerous game. They are deriding government in order to gain control of it. The problem they have is that they are becoming the victims of their own rhetoric. The Republican establishment is in an all out war with the anti-establishment candidates. The very establishment candidates and leaders who are complaining about the current campaign gave birth to that rhetoric years ago. They created true believers and now they are losing the battle. Trump and Carson represent the base voters that listened to the establishment and drank the Kool Aid. Now, as we noted in the debate this evening, those that are considered more traditional GOP candidates have taken up the anti-government banner in order to be competitive.
The role of government has always been an area of contention between Democrats and Republicans. However, there has always been agreement on the fact that government does have a role. Listening to the debate this evening even that is up for question. The solutions and programs discussed this evening made little sense and when tested weren’t even workable. The Founding Fathers worked diligently to insure that government played a vital and appropriate role in America. They understood that government needed to be limited and without limits could run astray. But they surely understood and appreciated the need for government. The dishonesty and the hypocrisy displayed at tonight’s Republican debate brings into question both the integrity and the sincerity of all of the candidates. It is clear that for a group that will do or say anything to get elected, they sure want to lead the government they hate.