Why Do Republicans Say “Government Is The Problem”?

Dave Johnson

Republicans are going to spend August “blaming President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats for Americans’ unhappiness with government.” Their theme will be “Government is the problem.” That’s right, they’re going to blame government, not themselves. But in the United States, government is “We, the People.” They are blaming us!

Blame Government?

According to news reports the theme of the Republican “anti-Washington” summer is to blame government for the country’s problems. They are going to repeat Ronald Reagan’s famous line, “Government is the problem, not the solution.”

Government is the problem? They spend the last several years working to keep government from working, blocking efforts to improve people’s lives, blocking jobs programs, blocking efforts to revive the economy, and now they’re going to an angry public and saying government is to blame?

Let’s look at who they are really blaming when they blame “government.” Isn’t the whole point of our form of government that “We, the People” make decisions about how to make our lives better? That is what government is (was, anyway) in the United States.

When Republicans say “government is the problem” in a country where We, the People are the government, what are they proposing to replace government with? When they say there should be less government (less decision-making by We, the People?), who do they propose should step in and perform the functions that previously were performed by We, the People for We, the People? Who are they proposing should make decisions, if not We, the People?

What happens without government? The needs that government deals with are not going to just disappear, the tasks that government does are not going to just magically get done by themselves, the protections that government provides are not going to just magically continue. Who are they proposing should provide services and protections, if not We, the People?

I think we all know who will step in to make decisions instead of We, the People. That will be the billionaire/corporate funders behind the decades-long anti-government conservative/libertarian campaign. That goes unsaid as Republicans campaign against government.

Anti-Washington Summer Push

Politico has the story about the Republican anti-government summer push: “House GOP plans anti-Washington push in August”:

House Republicans will take a carefully orchestrated, staunchly anti-Washington campaign to voters this month, blaming President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats for Americans’ unhappiness with government.

“Every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington,” says a suggested op-ed in a richly detailed “planning kit” distributed to all 234 House Republicans ahead of the August recess.

You can see the 31-page planning kit, “Fighting Washington For All Americans” at TPM, in “House GOP Recess Plan: Say We’re ‘Fighting Washington’.”

This planning kit was given to Republican members of Congress who will be home from Washington for the summer, after spending the year fighting with each other and getting nothing done – not immigration, not the budget bills, nothing except 40 votes to repeal Obamacare. The Republican planning kit is advising members of Congress to say that they (Washington) are fighting Washington. It advises them to say that they are fighting government. It advises them to say that they (the lawmakers) are fighting the laws that get made. And is advises them to say that government is the reason people have the low wages and lack of jobs that people are so angry about.

This is who they are.

The planning kit provides talking points, sample op-eds to get placed in local papers, and advice for conducting town halls, meetings with newspaper editorial boards and various interest groups, and how to conduct an “I’m fighting Washington” tour.

From the planning kit:

  • Sample op-ed (was this written by Rush Limbaugh?): Washington “targets people for what they believe and punishes them for their political ideologies.” … “But every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington. I’m fighting Washington to spur economic growth and create more jobs. I’m fighting Washington to hold government accountable to taxpayers. I’m working to dismantle ObamaCare and make America energy independent. I’m working to cut wasteful spending, expand educational opportunities, and rein in red tape. I’m fighting Washington for you.”
  • Host informational meetings with 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups that may have experienced difficulty receiving tax-exempt status from the IRS. It will give your Member the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of organizations that could have been targeted by the IRS and explain how House Republicans are conducting oversight hearings to hold the Administration accountable and stop government abuse. … After the Event, Host a press conference featuring the meeting participants.

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