I think it’s important to take a step back and look at the context of the question Rick Perry flubbed so terribly last week. It’s a common talking point among Republicans to say something about government must be cut. For decades they’ve been talking about cutting the Dept. of Education, Social Security, EPA, PBS, Dept. of Energy, and so on and so on. Cutting government is a common core belief held in high regard, or at least so they say.
But what have they ever cut? Honestly, think about it. Since WWII, Republicans have occupied the White House a total of 36 years. That’s more than half of the 66 years since 1945. And during those 36 years of GOP rule, what have they ever cut from government?
They’ve done the opposite of cut government.
Eisenhower pushed through the largest public works project in the history of America with the interstate highway system. It would be unthinkable to hear a Republican say they were going to do the same today. He cut not one single department.
Nixonbegan the first affirmative action policy in America. He also removed us from the gold standard– a move of extreme treason if a Democrat had done such. He cut not one single department.
Ford, did Ford do anything?
Reagan enormously grew government. He increased spending every year. He raised taxes 11 times. Despite saying he would cut the Dept. of Education (sound familiar?) he more than doubled its budget. He also almost single-handily saved Social Security and increased its spending by $90 billion. He doubled Medicare spending and quadrupled total entitlements spending.
George H.W. Bush, well I know he sure didn’t cut anything. He did raise taxes and he did increase spending.
George W. Bush, do I really need to go through his list of huge government expansion? No president since FDR spent more or grew government larger.
The point of all this is why even ask Perry or any Republican candidate what they are going to cut? Why even bother with the nonsense of hearing their answer. Even if elected, they would never cut any department, or any spending. The GOP has no track record of ever doing anything it claims to be a core principle. If you think Ron Paul or Rick Perry are the first candidates to ever say they were going to cut government, you must just be waking up from a 60 year coma.
Instead of the media catering to their “I’ll shrink government and return us to Freedom” bull crap why not just call them on it. Why can’t the media just say: “Given that no Republican administration has ever cut any government department despite 6 decades of saying they will, what 3 programs do you want to ‘pretend cut’ but won’t?”
Doing that would certainly be much more factual and help get us over this hump of make-believe Republican small government conservatism.
The real irony in all this is not that Rick Perry can’t remember what government departments he wants to “pretend cut.” It’s that the media still take the GOP seriously when talking about shrinking government forcing us all to live in a world where people who have done nothing but grow government and increase spending get to be small government fiscal conservatives.