Cato’s advice to Tea Partiers: Don’t fall in love with government

posted at 10:12 am on April 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If the Tea Party aims to restore federalism, then John Samples and Cato have a few pieces of advice for activists. The author of The Struggle to Limit Government: A Modern Political History sees plenty of cause for optimism in the momentum behind the Tea Parties — as long as it focuses on limiting the federal government, enforcing the Constitution, and bringing a new era of federalism to the country. To those ends, Samples offers five pieces of advice, some of which conservatives will likely question:

Essentially, these are the five lessons Samples wants to communicate:

  1. Republicans aren’t always your friends.
  2. Some tea partiers like big government.
  3. Democrats aren’t always your enemies.
  4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.
  5. Leave social issues to the states.

Items 1 and 5 will probably get very little dispute from Tea Partiers, but the other three are open for debate.  I’d agree that Tea Partiers may not all be solid libertarians — which I’m not, either — but the movement itself is based on more limited government.  I don’t think it’s accurate to say that some Tea Partiers “like” big government; it’s more like some aren’t enthusiastic about dismantling as much of the federal government as others, especially the more doctrinaire libertarians.

Democrats may not always be opponents to Tea Party instincts (I dislike the word “enemies” in the domestic political context), but their current leadership is completely antithetical to those values.  That is why endorsing Democrats for Congress in this cycle, even conservative Democrats like Walt Minnick in Idaho, is probably a bad idea.  If Democrats keep their majority in November, Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team will keep control of the committee chairs and the agenda in the House.  The only way to get rid of that leadership is to elect people other than Democrats to Congress this year, and that means Republicans.  Democrats won’t get rid of their hard-Left leadership until it costs them so many seats that those remaining get the message.

Finally, the “restraint abroad” argument sounds good … in theory.  There are certainly some areas where our presence is less necessary than others, such as Europe after the end of the Cold War.  However, global trade routes still need security, and it would be better to have the US providing it than China, the only other practical option in today’s world, or to have piecemeal enforcement and a rise in piracy.  We still have enemies, especially radical Islamist terrorists, and the only way to prevent attacks on the US is to have a robust forward strategy to disrupt and destroy those networks and plots before they succeed in killing Americans.  It’s been many decades since the two oceans protected the US from attacks and terrorism.  None of these problems will disappear simply because we want to stop spending money on them.

Besides, the Constitution gives the federal government few areas of explicit authority — and national security is one of them.  The biggest problem in our overwhelming federal expansion isn’t the military or our foreign policy; it’s the entitlement programs and the encroachment of Washington onto the jurisdictions of the states.  The fourth point looks a lot more like a Libertarian Party hobby horse than a lesson for Tea Parties to take to heart.

Update: John Samples has an excellent response to my rebuttal at Cato here.  Be sure to read it all.


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I agree with all except #3. And there really should be one more point:

6. There’s a huge difference between “libertarian” and “Libertarian.”

Bugler on April 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Keep in mind that Cato is a libertarian organization, so their perspective is coming from that angle.

Vashta.Nerada on April 28, 2010 at 10:19 AM

#3…My A$$.

BigWyo on April 28, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Give them their free pot, and they’d support Adolph Hitler.

TexasJew on April 28, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I could easily embrace

4.Smaller government demands restraint abroad.

As long as we beef up up our defenses so that the outside world only has to worry about each other. Can you imagine how much the rest of the world would hate it if we decided to only take care of ourselves?

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Here’s the thing about trusting Democrats. It has been tried, and they go along with their crowd on the major, country-changing issues. Joe Donnelly D-IN swore he was pro-life, wouldn’t just follow the crowd on Obamacare. Some people here actually believed him. What did he do? Voted Yea. While I agree with #1, I simply disagree that a Democrat is anything but an enemy to conservative ideals.

search4truth on April 28, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Dems are always trying to hurt the country. Anyone who tries to hurt the country is my enemy. Therefore, Dems are always my enemy. Take that syllogism.

andy85719 on April 28, 2010 at 10:24 AM

3.Democrats aren’t always your enemies.

This is so wrong, it’s hard to find words to describe.

Have they been stoned since 0bama was inaugurated?

Rebar on April 28, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Smaller government demands restraint abroad.

Not if you need to defend against hostile governments.(=reality).

the_nile on April 28, 2010 at 10:27 AM

That is why endorsing Democrats for Congress in this cycle, even conservative Democrats like Walt Minnick in Idaho, is probably a bad idea.

That’s why I stopped donating to Tea Party Express. Melanie Morgan and Sarah Palin endorsed Vaughn Ward, only to have TPE undermine those endorsements in favor of a Pelosi voting democrat(Minnick). It’s the same reason I stopped giving to RNC, NRSC, et al. Organizations do not have YOUR best interests at heart. Instead of keeping it simple they always find a way to muck it up!

bestwins on April 28, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Republicans aren’t always your friends.

Undeniably true.

Democrats aren’t always your enemies.

Intuitively false.

But if some Republicans are enemies of some Democrats, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then some Democrats must be my friend.

This is turning out to be a shitty day.

Bugler on April 28, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Zell Miller was a democrat.

Have we so quickly forgotten?

Democrats are, indeed, not always our enemies.

MadisonConservative on April 28, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Here’s the thing about trusting Democrats. It has been tried, and they go along with their crowd on the major, country-changing issues. Joe Donnelly D-IN swore he was pro-life, wouldn’t just follow the crowd on Obamacare. Some people here actually believed him. What did he do? Voted Yea. While I agree with #1, I simply disagree that a Democrat is anything but an enemy to conservative ideals.

search4truth on April 28

That lying POS goes to my church and it disgusts me that I may have to watch him receive the sacraments while our pastor knows full well what he did. You are right. All Democrat politicians are enemies and must be regarded as such.

SKYFOX on April 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Finally, the “restraint abroad” argument sounds good … in theory.

This is part of the reason I’m becoming disillusioned with libertarians. The strictness of the ideology is self-defeating.

For the doctrinaire, Libertarianism ends at the water’s edge. Misery and chaos can be allowed to spill in (open borders), but God forbid Americanism be allowed to spill out.

Lehosh on April 28, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Can you imagine how much the rest of the world would hate it fall to despotism if we decided to only take care of ourselves?

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I can see it. Their social programs would be in even worse shape, too, bcs that $$ they don’t spend on defense is what helps pay for those entitlements.
We have been picking up the tab for way too long.
I can see strategy that helps strengthen our national security, but Geo. Wa. was right when he said having allies would screw our priorities up.
Not that I advocate abandoning, mind you.
Friends are great to have, but sooner or later they’ll want you to do something that puts you at great risk.
I do agree w/ all of the points above, however.
I think though, that 99.9999% of GOP AND Dems are pretty much my enemy.
I really don’t trust anyone in politics at this point.
They all disappoint me w/ their views.
I also wholeheartedly agree w/ #5. Let’s just focus on getting the fed a LOT smaller & have them do their REAL job as outlined by the Const.:nothing else.

Badger40 on April 28, 2010 at 10:40 AM

3.Democrats aren’t always your enemies.

true … however, democrat politicians are.

darwin on April 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM

#4 had d*mn better include policies on endless occupations.

Dark-Star on April 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Zell Miller was a democrat.

Have we so quickly forgotten?

Democrats are, indeed, not always our enemies.

MadisonConservative on April 28, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Zell Miller left office five years ago. Name a current conservative Democrat. There may be conservatives in the Democrat party in the future, but I won’t hold my breath.

SKYFOX on April 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM

1. No Brainer
2. ???
3. INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH FALSEHOOD
4. False
5. In general, no problem.Except statist, leftist libertines codify their view of social issues into federal law which requires pushback.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 28, 2010 at 10:43 AM

well said, Ed

notagool on April 28, 2010 at 10:43 AM

This advice comes too late . Tea Party Express is fraud .

borntoraisehogs on April 28, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Democrats are, indeed, not always our enemies.

MadisonConservative on April 28, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Officially, you are correct. The set of Democrats who are not our enemies is non-empty. However, it is very small. Exceptions are very rare and increasingly so. Further, without question, the Democratic leadership is utterly corrupt and rotten to the core. A generation ago, there really were moderate Democrats. Practically speaking, they are now extinct.

jwolf on April 28, 2010 at 10:44 AM

I dislike the word “enemies” in the domestic political context

Well, the day the Democrats (not all, but enough to warrant this broad generalization) stop positioning themselves as open enemies of the Constitution and my liberties, I’ll stop considering them enemies.

Midas on April 28, 2010 at 10:49 AM

In general, I like CATO and have a sister-in-law who recently worked there but their views on international policy mimicks Ron Paul and they basically believe in open boarders. Talk about the big L libetarian.

WisRich on April 28, 2010 at 10:49 AM

I dislike the word “enemies” in the domestic political context

Sigh. Even if it’s the most accurate word, my fair and balanced friend?

misterpeasea on April 28, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Zell Miller was a democrat.

Have we so quickly forgotten?

Democrats are, indeed, not always our enemies.

MadisonConservative on April 28, 2010 at 10:34 AM

I love Zell, but the atmosphere is completely different than Zell’s heyday. Today we’re fighting for the survival of this country. It’s about which parties hold the gavels. Supporting a dem which might keep Pelosi or Reid in positions of power, in this climate, is unacceptable. Give me another less critical year, and I’d probably back a Miller or a Minnick.

bestwins on April 28, 2010 at 10:50 AM

good food for thought, Ed. thanks.

ted c on April 28, 2010 at 10:51 AM

#2? There is a Libertarian theme to the Tea Partys so Libertarian would be the opposite of “Big Government” they would be for “Small Government”. But that doesn’t mean they are pro anarchy – little or no government at all. So people need to keep with in the defined definitions of Small vs Big Government. Just because people don’t slam Social Security and Medicare, doesn’t mean they want the Federal Government to keep adding entitlement programs and expand the federal government even more. This has been one of the big misrepresented narratives in the MSM. The Tea Party Folks especially Independents are moderates -(SEE election of Scott Brown (R) Mass.) they are not anti any government at all. But that isn’t the way the spin is shaped in the MSM. If they are not the extremist anti government people they are described as – you can’t call them hypocrites. I don’t wonder at all why cable news outlets like CNN and MSNBC have lost viewers, they have lost all credibility trying to describe Average Middle Class Americans as once extreme, and then hypocritical, for not being extreme anti government the MSM claims in the first place. I don’t know anyone in the Tea Party movement who describes themselves as extreme anti government? That’s the Media’s narrative.

Bill O’Reilly once said, that the MSM is Big, Dumb and Clumsy. I think he was being kind.

Dr Evil on April 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I don’t think the tea party folks need any more advice from either side. I like CATO and all, but I am tired of this condescending crap coming from everyone telling the tea party people what they should be doing and thinking.

echosyst on April 28, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Four minutes of reality. While many may not agree with all of the five lessons, it is essential that we question our doubts about them to find out what personal biases we need to overcome.

Examining these biases also allow U.S. to see the bigger picture allows U.S. to obey the Constitution and our elected leaders to find the proper track to finding our future.

There is one element that I would like to add, read and clearly understand what each level of government (federal, state, local) really are and understand. If a current law or ordinance does not fully protect or serve the public needs, remove it. Finally, when considering any new legislation stay focused and do not allow anything to be included that would dilute the goal of the legislation. And finally all legislation must contain a cost benefit analysis of the bill.

MSGTAS on April 28, 2010 at 10:56 AM

3.Democrats aren’t always your enemies.
true … however, democrat politicians are.

darwin on April 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM

*shrug*

Democrat citizens vote for those politicians and support those policies and goals.

I see your point, but without the base of Democrat citizens, the Democrat politicians wouldn’t be bothering us. To just single out the politicians is effectively a distinction without a difference.

Midas on April 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM

1. Republicans aren’t always your friends.
2. Some tea partiers like big government.
3. Democrats aren’t always your enemies.
4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.
5. Leave social issues to the states.

We all know #1 is true. I agree with Ed’s take on #2. Yes, it is very rare, but Dems have sometimes been on the right side: I know they hated the entire Patriot Act, but they did keep some of Bush’s more onerous elements out of the final bill. Conservatives sometimes go overboard on law enforcement issues. I’ve heard conservatives use the old “If you’re not doing anything illegal, then you have nothing to worry about” line more times than I care to think about.

#4 is a little trickier. Many libertarians (but not all) are strict isolationists. As a libertarian myself, I have thought that military isolationism made no sense if you believe in unfettered global free trade. Who’s going to protect our trade interests? I believe it is essential the U.S. be a superpower, just not the world police. NATO should’ve been dissolved after the Cold War forcing Europe to pay for all of their defense.

And, yes, leave social issues to the states.

cartooner on April 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

3.Democrats aren’t always your enemies

true … however, democrat politicians are.

darwin on April 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Can somebody name one Democrat politician who is interested in actually CUTTING government spending?

No. Not a single, solitary one.

Relatively speaking, some Democrats may want to increase government control more incrementally than others. But so what?

Some Democrat couch potato who never votes isn’t particularly destructive. But I’m sure there were a lot of lazy Nazis too. What good does it to do try and make such intricate distinctions once their lords and masters have declared war on you?

logis on April 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM

There are certainly some areas where our presence is less necessary than others, such as Europe after the end of the Cold War.

AS IF the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of the USSR “ended” the Cold War. As if Obama-Hillary “overcharge” RESET relations with Russia, and Obama’s forfeiture of NASA, the international space station and our moon exploration mark the “end” of the Cold War. Things CHANGED in Russia, aka the more things change the more they stay the same. But no cold war has ended between the US and Russia, and the US and N.Korea, and what ugliness is yet to come out between the US default and Red China.

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM

#3. Yes they are. It doesn’t take long for mere mortals (elected dems) to become corrupted and useful tools of the puppet masters. That’s why we have rinos as well. Too bad the FFs didn’t see it coming way back when and put in term limits.

Kissmygrits on April 28, 2010 at 11:14 AM

There are certainly some areas where our presence is less necessary than others, such as Europe after the end of the Cold War.

As a matter of self defense, Europe weenies being self indulgent in matters of compliance to Socialism and having made any sense of national identity a criminal offense, our own facilities in Europe are to our own interest–though not necessarily what exists today. But after the immense price paid in blood, lives and treasury to rebuilt Europe after THEIR wars, the US should NEVER forfeit ANYTHING we have built as official US Property on the European Continent, having been entreated by the French and English Europeans to please save them from Central and Eastern Europeans, drawing us over there twice. At this point, were Obama to close US installations in Europe, it would be just in time for the next onslaught of warfare, with our installations overwhelmed and pirated by the enemy coalition.

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:14 AM

While this list may contain 20 year goals, it is not indicative of what the approach of today needs to be.

And of course, that is a 50% cut in federal spending. This is not as hard to do as it sounds, Obama expanded spending by 40%+ last year.

Freddy on April 28, 2010 at 11:18 AM

#4 Smaller government demands restraint abroad.

RRRRRRRRRRON PAUL!1!11!!!

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 28, 2010 at 11:18 AM

I don’t think the tea party folks need any more advice from either side. I like CATO and all, but I am tired of this condescending crap coming from everyone telling the tea party people what they should be doing and thinking.

echosyst on April 28, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Amen, brother. I am also disappointed in Ed missing the big picture on tea parties (or seeming like he has). What part of taxed enough already is mysterious? What part of a pox on both your houses is ambiguous? How is get government’s nose out of my tent confusing?

Why does everybody think tea parties need any thing at all? Haven’t the tea parties proved their value and ability yet?

Go ask every elected person since scouzafavva. Tea parties are batting 1.000 since dede and there is no aign of slowing down. So maybe guys like Ed could devote a little more time and energy building up the tea party instead of analyzing whether every useless organism on the right might have stumbled onto something useful.

Bless Cato but what have they accomplished in the last 18 months that matches what the tea parties have done?

*crickets*

platypus on April 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Point 3 is not about electing/endorsing candidates, but working with those who are already elected on specific votes. This is clear in the video.

Proof that point 3 is true is indisputable. Just 6 more DEM votes against would have killed HCR.

Taking a scorched Earth approach that assumes all Dems are “enemies” means the next bill passes by 30+ votes, not 6, or 2 or none, if you work with some of the Dems.

vimrich on April 28, 2010 at 11:27 AM

So maybe guys like Ed could devote a little more time and energy building up the tea party instead of analyzing whether every useless organism on the right might have stumbled onto something useful.

platypus on April 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Great post.

Badger40 on April 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Smaller government demands restraint abroad.

No, it doesn’t. Reducing missions abroad will only reduce economic output and make everyone worse off as trade gets disrupted. Defense (as extended and preemptive as prudent) is the primary purpose of the Federal Government. Big Government is everything else.

Count to 10 on April 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Badger40 on April 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Thanks. I just get so frustrated. It almost seems like a large number of ‘allies’ want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

platypus on April 28, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Proof that point 3 is true is indisputable. Just 6 more DEM votes against would have killed HCR.

Taking a scorched Earth approach that assumes all Dems are “enemies” means the next bill passes by 30+ votes, not 6, or 2 or none, if you work with some of the Dems.

vimrich on April 28, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Maybe. But what if we were actually looking at fake ‘no’ votes? You know, ones that magically become ‘yes’ if there is a danger of the bill not passing?

Count to 10 on April 28, 2010 at 11:33 AM

2. Some tea partiers like big government.

Those would be the neoconservatives, aka progressive socialists who already pirated and officiate the Republican Party. They represent the very element that riled conservatives to protest, because not even the neoconservative Republicans were listening to their constituents with any more interest than the Marxist Democrats did. It is these neoconservative RINOs who infiltrate the “Tea Party” in order to usurp the energy and thwart any success in efforts from protesting taxpaying conservative constituents. With the neoconservatives, no matter their lip service, America will never achieve limiting the gross bloating of federal bureaucracies, spending on NOTHING EXCEPT KICKBACKS FOR CORRUPT BIPARTISAN POLITICIANS (ex: virtual border fence), and corrupted appraisal and appropriation of tax funds to cover socialist tagged “entitlements” where both neoconservative RINOs and Democrat Marxists align. “Entitlements” are NOT constitutionally protected. All the while, the frauds who pirate government and fraud lovers are destroying what liberties and responsibilities the Constitution DOES protect and require. Washingtonian Ivy League authoritarians assume and brow beat the public that only they as the nouveau aristocracy know what is best, and most certainly know a hell of a lot more than you peon serfs could ever fathom.

Just watch Dan Quayle’s son do the neoconservative shindig.

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:33 AM

99% of all Tea Partiers I have spoken to want less Big Government. Let’s go down the path for 12 years making Federal Government smaller and empowering State governments.

Then MAYBE #2 will be relavent.

barnone on April 28, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Can somebody name one Democrat politician who is interested in actually CUTTING government spending?

As long as the cuts are in Defense, I can name tons.

Seems to me, EVERYTHING needs to be cut, so when you need the votes on Defense, you can work with Dems to do that.

The problem is, there’s a clear majority who want smaller government overall, but each slice of that majority wants to limit cuts in enough of their pet areas that there’s never a 50%+ vote to cut anything.

vimrich on April 28, 2010 at 11:38 AM

It is these neoconservative RINOs who infiltrate the “Tea Party” in order to usurp the energy and thwart any success in efforts

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Thanks for outing yourself as someone who looks upon tea partiers as unruly children. GFO.

platypus on April 28, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Democrats aren’t always your enemies.

I believed this until Stupak.

Some tea partiers like big government.

I’m sure there are some, some, that want to replace big Democrat government with big Republican government.

Kafir on April 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM

3.Democrats aren’t always your enemies.

This is so wrong, it’s hard to find words to describe.

Wait we have these friends in the Democrat party:
Stupak, Nelson, Specter, McCain, Gramnesty,

Nevermind.

nazo311 on April 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Smaller government demands restraint abroad.

No, it doesn’t. Reducing missions abroad will only reduce economic output and make everyone worse off as trade gets disrupted. Defense (as extended and preemptive as prudent) is the primary purpose of the Federal Government. Big Government is everything else.

Count to 10 on April 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Until our national government actually PROTECTS OUR NATION’S BORDERS, I don’t want to hear any more gobblygoop about the necessity to win jihadists’ hearts and minds, especially when this potus claims 1) that jihad is truly righteous and praiseworthy, 2) that there is no such thing as jihad.

Reducing military interventions where squandered on “winning the minds and hearts of jihadists” WOULD indeed cut our spending, UNLESS all those tax funds are simply diverted into so-called “entitlement” programs–particularly to fund illegal and criminal aliens to bribe for Marxist votes. Eliminating NASA in order to curry favor from our nation’s enemies would cut spending, UNLESS all those tax funds are simply diverted to convert the USA into a totalitarian state, and unless our nation’s enemies move ahead with moon exploration and installations that eventually decimate the USA into serfdom.

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I agree with all, except #3 has a caveat. All Democrats are the enemies as of today. 20 years ago, that may not have been the case, 10-20 years from now that may not be the case. But the Dems proved with the Health Care vote that there is no such thing as a moderate or Blue Dog democrat.

jeffn21 on April 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I’m sure there are some, some, that want to replace big Democrat government with big Republican government.

Kafir on April 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM

GWB administration is a prime example.

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Can somebody name one Democrat politician who is interested in actually CUTTING government spending?

As long as the cuts are in Defense, I can name tons.

Seems to me, EVERYTHING needs to be cut, so when you need the votes on Defense, you can work with Dems to do that.

The “fiscally responsible” Democrats vote for veteran benefits as if to support the military and national defense.

maverick muse on April 28, 2010 at 11:55 AM

No, it doesn’t. Reducing missions abroad will only reduce economic output and make everyone worse off as trade gets disrupted. Defense (as extended and preemptive as prudent) is the primary purpose of the Federal Government. Big Government is everything else.

Big Government includes everything the government spends on. Your argument is that you want the government to be big in *some areas* such as defense because you like the benefits that big government offers in those areas (i.e. the benefits to our economy by having a big strong military).

That doesn’t mean you’re wrong about defense spending either. It just means we cannot act like defense spending somehow doesn’t count as “government spending.”

Also, since when does “big government” only mean “big FEDERAL government”? I’m against overly intrusive government policies and spending wherever it comes from. My state and town don’t get a free pass.

vimrich on April 28, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Really, really well said Ed. IMHO. I would only add more emphasis to the ridiculous notion of withdrawing behind our oceans that many libertarians espouse. This thinking is on par with the suicidally naive Dem approach to foreign policy. I think we all agree [other than neo-con adventurers who are Dems at heart. Hence they always WANT to be butting in to other people's business] that being the world’s policeman stinks and we’d rather not have the job. However, since WWII we are the only ones who can afford to take on the job, the other countries have proven they can’t help but start world wars when they act as global cops, and better Pax Americana than pax anyone else. It’s not 1800 anymore.

JimP on April 28, 2010 at 12:23 PM

platypus on April 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM

+1000

katy the mean old lady on April 28, 2010 at 12:27 PM

1. Republicans aren’t always your friends.

Duh….

2. Some tea partiers like big government.

Oxymoron.

3. Democrats aren’t always your enemies.

Improbable, unprovable….aw, just go away.

4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.

Depends on how you mean it.

5. Leave social issues to the states.

…and duh!

ElectricPhase on April 28, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Would #3 be true if they were they were called by their correct name, ‘socialist party’?

#6 term limits – everything would fix itself. Dilute the power.

#7 organizations receiving government money cannot donate money to PACs. How do we kill these leaches.

serendip2b on April 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Seems to me, EVERYTHING needs to be cut, so when you need the votes on Defense, you can work with Dems to do that.
vimrich on April 28, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Since the end of the Vietnam War, American Defense spending has hovered between 4-7% of GDP. And, by coincidence, there has not been another major war since then.

Meanwhile, federally-enforced wealth transfer payments have increased from practically nothing to (next year) over 30% of GDP. And the “war on poverty” as an institution has been losing ground every single year.

It may be that defense spending can be reduced by one or two percent. Or maybe not. But wealth transfer payments must be ELIMINATED.

Trying to tie the two together is addict logic. It’s like someone with a rapidly-growing crack habit agreeing to cut his drug use by half, but only if he can also his rent by the same amount.

Now, I don’t know that guy’s finances. Maybe his rent is exactly what it should be — but that’s not his real problem. This guy’s house will never be the right size as long as he has an elephant in his living room. All I know for certain is that trying to “negotiate” this way cannot possibly help anything.

There is only one possible way to do this.

Step 1: Cut out the poison – cold turkey.

Step 2: THEN re-evaluate everything else in your screwed-up life.

The United States of America is no where near step two yet.

logis on April 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM

4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad

As a Tea Bagger myself – I have absolutely no problem with this statement. Protecting Trade Routes? Please – that’s easy … we protect OUR trade routes and that’s it. If the Russian Bear decides he wants to gobble up Europe – well let him. We saved Europe twice last century and today it’s unappreciated by their spoiled youth. I think a few decades for Europe under a fascist thumb might do wonders toward a renaissance of their desire to win and keep freedom. I’m completely for cutting deals to these ends with Russia, China … whomever.

The world asked for an America that was non-invasive.

Now let them have exactly what they wished for.

HondaV65 on April 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

If the Russian Bear decides he wants to gobble up Europe – well let him. We saved Europe twice last century and today it’s unappreciated by their spoiled youth. I think a few decades for Europe under a fascist thumb might do wonders toward a renaissance of their desire to win and keep freedom

Can we deport all the communist wannabes there as a bonus?

(oh how I wish…!)

Dark-Star on April 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

The fourth point looks a lot more like a Libertarian Party hobby horse

Ed:
You don’t think it would be a great idea to stop wasting billions of tax payer dollars by giving it away to corrupt authoritarian regimes in far corners of the world, that we will never succeed in influencing?
Don’t you think it would be better to end the “jizya”, and keep that money here at home where it belongs?

paulsur on April 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM

4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.
Depends on how you mean it.

I know how I mean it, stop spending my money on converting committed jihadists and thugs overseas.

paulsur on April 28, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Tea Partier’s “support” of Social Security and Medicare is not an indication of support for big government or entitlements. It’s an acknowledgement of reality. Asking a conservative if they’d agree with abolishing Social Security and Medicare is a trick. It’s a “gotcha” question because there is currently no yes or no answer.

Any conservative who says “yes” immediately loses credibility, or is seen as a heartless monster. Any conservative who says “no” is seen as a selfish hypocrite who is only thinking of himself and his potential future benefits.

The only legitmate way to ask the question is in the context of an alternative like Paul Ryan’s solution.

Jaynie59 on April 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

No, it doesn’t. Reducing missions abroad will only reduce economic output and make everyone worse off as trade gets disrupted. Defense (as extended and preemptive as prudent) is the primary purpose of the Federal Government. Big Government is everything else.

Count to 10 on April 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

60,000 troops in … Germany – what economic activity are they protecting there?

Thousands stationed in South Korea … what are they protecting? Our supply of Hyundais? There are more demonstrations against the U.S. in SK than against the NorK’s – let ‘em have the NorK’s I say.

About 44 percent of Navy personnel stationed overseas are in Japan and Okinawa – why are they there? The Japanese are well able to defend themselves imo.

I could go on and on …

They are there because the US wants to provide stability to the world – so that a conflict never gets too big that it requires the injection of the blood of hundreds of thousands of our kids to end. However, that’s only necessary if we resolve ourselves to being involved in these conflicts. Israel? I love Israel … tell ‘em to hit whoever they want but we aren’t helping. Tell Britain and France that the Iranian problem is theirs – we’re clearing datum on the whole damn issue. They can deal with the nuclear fallout. We have our own nukes – anyone fools with us – we shoot ‘em. Simple as that. We could go to Russia and China right now and negotiate any kind of deal we want in return for us pulling back to our hemisphere – which includes South America. Let the Ruskies and Chi-Comms have the rest. Who really cares?

HondaV65 on April 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM

…(I dislike the word “enemies” in the domestic political context)…

Not an uncommon sentiment amongst conservatives, and very much why conservatives are seemingly at a perpetual disadvantage to Statists. Because adherents to the Faith of Big Government most assuredly do view you very much as an enemy, and they have no reservations about playing utterly ruthless hardball to see you–and those like you–beaten, humiliated, and if possible destroyed.

Blacklake on April 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Proof that point 3 is true is indisputable. Just 6 more DEM votes against would have killed HCR.

Proof that point 3 is disputable…we couldn’t even get 6 votes to prevent the destruction of the finest health care system on the planet.

Democrats are the enemy…always.

xblade on April 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Ronald Reagan had a much better answer than Cato’s “restraint abroad”:

Peace Through Strength!!!

…Following Reagan’s policy causes enemies and potential enemies to listen very carefully when the USA speaks. This usually produces far superior outcomes than simply waiting to be attacked by terrorists wearing name badges and carrying passports (and pretending that the hard-to-identify terrorists are just ordinary criminals).

It is good to cultivate a healthy respect mixed with a bit of fear within your potential enemies: many times it deters war.

landlines on April 28, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Zell Miller was a democrat.

Have we so quickly forgotten?

Democrats are were, indeed, not always our enemies.

MadisonConservative on April 28, 2010 at 10:34 AM

What happened in the past isn’t relevant to today. Just ask blacks who they think voted for the civil rights act.

Squiggy on April 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Pet peeve here. Someone needs to clarify to me how social security and medicare are entitlement programs for people who have paid into them for the decades of their working careers. If my employer had paid me the money which went into these black holes instead, my retirement would be much more secure and the government wouldn’t have been able to fund pet projects off this ponzy scheme.

If you want to discuss welfare, food stamps, etc. then we can talk about an entitlement programs, but to talk about what should hae been, in effect, an investment, then social security and medicare make Enron look like a day in Disney the difference is we all got screwed.

PatriotPete on April 28, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Is it time to start over? How ’bout 1000 states? A new constitution that enshrines regulatory and tax competition, and freedom to vote with your feet. Few, if any, central government dicta, constraints clearly stated in the constitution, with a mechanism for measuring and rewarding governance by those closest to an issue (including governance that says “we don’t care”), a neighborhood, parents of students at a school, a town, a city, a political & physical boundary of 300K mostly like-minded people.

If one or more of these new states wants to rescue a company, so be it, they’ll reap the benefits, pay the costs, and the others can observe and learn. Odds of any catastrophe taking down half of these states (of the size of one of the larger 13 original states, but with the wealth and power of the entire Nation at it’s founding) is small and nil.

So we’ll then have lots of (good) diversity and few, if any, universal failures, and an opportunity to learn by doing v. “death by precautionary principle.” Granted, it’s not the libertarian nirvana, but it’s a compromise that will get us most of the way there and free us from the King George we’ve created (enabled and abetted by both parties and our current constitution as written and interpreted, a form of soft-corruption of otherwise good people driven to try to do good but having uniformly bad results). Perhaps a place where laws that can’t be written as a one page formula or equation require two-thirds of the local legislature to pass. Freidman observed the Fed could be reduced to an equation. Note a lot of regulation could be reduced to insuring the actor faces the local consequences (e.g. if your immediate family lives near your coal mine, or works in the chemical plant alongside the lowest paid worker, there is no regulation, nor lawsuit awarded beyond recovering actual loss).

Call it governance by positives rather than by negatives. Something that a child understands.

aritai on April 28, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Keep government out of trade. Period. All the rest will take care of itself.

fossten on April 28, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Keep government out of trade. Period. All the rest will take care of itself.

fossten on April 28, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Course then if they totally stay out of it, then safety considerations in products may go by the wayside.
Industry has not always taken care of those things in-house like they should have.
And consumer groups only go so far in stopping some disasters (like food poisonings, etc.)
I always hate it bcs it’s a double-edged sword.
The govt should be regulating interstate commerce, but they suck at it bcs they’re in it for the power & $$ & not for the real reasons.

Badger40 on April 28, 2010 at 4:52 PM

“Yes, we support nation-building.”
–-Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

That’s right, “conservatives.” Embrace your inner Keynes; your glorious progressive overseas nation-building projects and endless foreign aid, your policing the world, your “security” state and the all-around big government suck that is you.

Just admit it. Republicans love big government when it comes to various faction’s agendas (OMG teh evol gheyz, the feckless War on Drugs, the security and police state, perpetual nation-building wars, Medicare, the Federal Reserve, etc.) And you wonder why so many see the teaocon partiers as complete hypocrites.

Small government Constitutionalists, you say? Sorry! Not even close.

Rae on April 28, 2010 at 5:01 PM

“Restraint in foreign affairs” should instead be “foreign relations conducted towards our national interests, not to advance the personal or partisan ambitions of officeholders and civil servants.”

njcommuter on April 28, 2010 at 5:02 PM