We love freedom, and our heritage of freedom. I’ve always said I want the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom. That basic American tradition of individual liberty—and personal responsibility, because to be free you must run your own life—goes back to Madison, Jefferson, and the Founders, who gave us not only our laws, but our greatest words.
We are capitalists. We might differ on any number of policies, but we firmly believe there is no such thing as “government money,” only taxpayer money. In my time as governor of Massachusetts, I was named one of the two most fiscally conservative governors in the United States by the Cato Institute. But I don’t consider it just a matter of pinching pennies. It’s about a genuine belief that people are wealthiest and happiest when the government stays away from micromanaging their work, and that if you produce something, it’s yours to keep.
And we are republicans, in the original sense: We believe, as Lincoln put it, in government of the people, by the people, and for the people, not that government is a separate entity that dominates its citizens. There’s a place for government, but fundamentally it is there to protect your rights, not to dictate what they are.