Do GOP voters just actually want big government?

Miss this guy.
Miss this guy.

I think the answer is that for a majority of GOP voters this is probably true. There is no real call to reduce the size of our massive military from the average GOP voter. Indeed if anything there is a call to expand it. There is no real call for reforming Social Security. There is no real call to reform Medicare (which is a total actuarial disaster). There is no real call for drug law reform. There is no real call for curtailing the government violations of the the 4th Amendment under the Patriot Act. There is no widespread call for an end to the Federal Reserve.

Most Republicans, with the exception of a large and I think still growing minority, don’t actually want to make the government smaller. They just want to change the style of government.

(From The Huffington Post)

Ben Carson’s most popular position is the mainstream Republican “strengthen the military” mantra. Republican voters want more money spend on the military, even though it remains larger than the next 10 largest national military establishments combined. Contrary to current Republican talking points, the U.S. military has not been cut in decades. Sequestration only decreased the increases in spending. Actual spending still went up every year. Republican voters don’t care. They want more. Let’s face it. No amount would be too much.

Trump says he’ll dramatically increase spending on the VA. Like all government programs, the VA has serious problems. But Republicans seem unable to apply the logic they apply to federal spending on education or civilian health care to federal spending on health care for veterans. If it’s for the veterans, they’re all for spending more. Again, no amount is too much.

Even Rand Paul’s stance on NSA data collection is unpopular with these “small government” voters. Regardless of whether you ultimately agree with Chris Christie, Rand Paul bested Christie on this issue in the first debate. Christie based his whole argument for bulk collection on his experience in the FISA court getting warrants on individuals. Paul pointed out the error of logic and Christie offered no substantive response.

Rhetorically, it was a knockout. Republican voters didn’t care. Fox News told them Christie won the debate and GOP voters were happy to believe it. Why? Because no amount of power given to the federal government in the “War on Terror’ is too much. That’s how they really think. “Terrorists don’t deserve due process.” Counterintuitive? So, what?

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