If, By "Limited," You Mean "Totally Expanded," Then Sure

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Ronald Brownstein, the highly regarded (though not by me) L.A. Times political analyst, inadvertently demonstrates the enduring power of political branding over governing reality in his column today about activist-government experiments on the state level.

It's not a news bulletin that this has been a decade of conservative dominance in Washington. Since 2001, the top domestic priority for President Bush and the Republican Congress has been cutting taxes. With a few exceptions (led by the Medicare prescription drug benefit approved during Bush's first term), the GOP majority has focused on limiting, not expanding, the federal government's size and scope.

Italics mine, to emphasize the WTF?? Get that man a subscription to Reason!! One can only hope that the second half of Brownstein's thesis is equally off-base:

But a counter-cyclical trend toward government activism is thriving in the states governed by Democrats and moderate Republicans.

NEXT: You Know They Could Make Theft-Proof Guns If They Really Wanted To

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  1. The best part is the Reason subscription pitch. Maybe the best one yet.

  2. Brownstein has been drinking the Rovian Kool Aid. Then again, since when do facts get in the way of reporting?

  3. Republicans=evil, baby-starving budget slashers!
    La-la-la-la-la, I’m not listening to you!

  4. Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, “Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it down pretty good.”

    http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050914-120153-3878r.htm

    I think that would be the DeLayian Kool Aid.

  5. As a public service, Reason should send him a year of free magazines.

    As an AMERICAN, I love being “charitable” with other people’s money.

  6. his statement is correct if read from the perspective of someone who favors a welfare state – most of the cuts that have funded those tax cuts have come at the expense of benefits/programs for the poor.

  7. Remember, there are still people who pretend that the GOP is the party of
    1) limited government
    2) fiscal responsibility
    3) individual liberty
    4) freedom

    dunno. over the last how many years, now, how many administrations? this list sure has been curtailed.

    maybe that’s what they mean.

    “there’s nothing wrong with america. but we can fix *that*”.

    (thanks, PJ)

  8. It’s all a matter of perspective I guess. So Bush spends like a motherfucker and doesn’t veto any bills, fine. I suppose if he’s not spending on the stuff you like, you could say that there’s a resurgent scaling back of “good” government. It takes some very creative twists of logic to turn that into a scaling back of government itself, but such twists are easier to make if you’re sufficiently indoctrinated.

  9. most of the cuts that have funded those tax cuts have come at the expense of benefits/programs for the poor.

    Such as?

    Oh, and I find the phraseology of spending cuts to “fund” tax cuts to be indicative of a certain mindset – namely, that all your resources are belong to government, unless and until it deigns to let you use some. For a little while.

  10. V. Moose, d’ja read this? “But the Bush administration seems to be losing sight of the fact that the rules also say the majority party of the moment may not use its powers to strip citizens of their rights, politicize the judicial system or rig the election process to keep itself in office.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/05/opinion/05mon1.html

  11. I also like when politicians call something a “spending cut” when it is actually a “cut to the amount we were going to increase spending this year.” Nothing ever actually gets “cut,” it just gets slowed down a bit.

  12. Democrats in power have always considered a decrease in the rate of increase of government spending a “cut.” Kind of like if you’re expecting a 7% pay raise and end up actually getting “only” 6%. Who knows how much the national government would be spending if Democrats controlled the Legislative and Executive branches as much as the Republicans do now?

  13. But a counter-cyclical trend toward government activism is thriving in the states governed by Democrats and moderate Republicans.

    Augh!

  14. But the Bush administration seems to be losing sight of the fact that the rules also say the majority party of the moment may not use its powers to strip citizens of their rights, politicize the judicial system or rig the election process to keep itself in office.

    As if every administration in recent decades hasn’t whittled away at our autonomy and rights.

    As if both parties don’t politicize the hell out of judicial nominees.

    As if both parties aren’t perfectly happy to gerrymander themselves into hereditary seats.

    Really, folks, pretending that the Bushies invented arrogance doesn’t do much to convince anyone of anything.

  15. Marcvs has it exactly right. This filters down to all levels of government, it’s like it gets taught at government boot camp. The sudent government at Oregon had exactly this mindset. Dammit, a reduction in the growth rate is not the same thing as a cut.

    Shawn Smith: Well, we have most of the middle part of the 20th century as evidence for that, and it turns out that the profligate spending is a bipartisan vice. I remember reading somewhere that Bush is the biggest spender since LBJ.

  16. popo:

    ooooooohhhh. headache.

    but:
    “The idea that the winners should trash the system to make sure the democratic process ended with them was discredited back around the time of the Bolsheviks”
    it’s the anti godwin 🙂

    cheers

  17. Thank Jeebus H&R pounced on this… I was reading the first graph in my LAT daily inbox and nearly snorted my dunkin doughnuts coffee all over the monitor.

    What’s up Ron, not getting your calls returned as much as you used to?

    Note to your bosses at Trib: It helps to have your paper available at a newstand once in a while… I can’t remember the last time I saw a pulp version of the LAT on the East Coast.

  18. I take it he’s a cookie cutter liberal journalist. Because no other thinking liberal could point to current-day repubs and make that conclusion. That’s merely playbook speak from your average ‘talking point’ influenced democrats.

    Paul

  19. Really, folks, pretending that the Bushies invented arrogance doesn’t do much to convince anyone of anything.

    It might suggest to some people that the Bush Administration is arrogant.

  20. I doubt Bush has even cut the percentage growth of many programs. Bush is a HUGE spender – the biggest in decades.

  21. It’s idiots like Brownstein who help the Bush administration get away with spending, and growing the government, like drunken Democrats.

  22. Well, I don’t have any idea about this. But I would like to read more on this.

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