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The Real Lesson from Mississippi

8:05 AM, Jun 26, 2014 • By JAY COST
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This platform affirms that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness.

Every Republican candidate can cite a version of this by heart; it has been the gist of the party’s message for nearly 80 years. Yet Cochran is not in D.C. to fulfill these promises. His purpose is to perpetuate what Theodore Lowi once called “interest group liberalism.” He is the modern equivalent of the Gilded Age spoilsman; he parcels federal resources to well-placed factions that, in turn, help secure his reelection. This runs directly contrary to what the Republican party promises to do.

The problem for the Republican party writ large is that the Cochran-type does not seem like an outlier. People do not see the GOP as a party out to make the government “smaller and smarter,” to “celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation.” They certainly do not see think it is trying to “lift up the middle class.” They see a party that perpetuates and expands government as it suits them, often to the benefit of the well-heeled interest groups that have descended upon the nation’s capital.

The party’s leaders need to ask themselves: if their purpose is to perpetuate interest group liberalism, why should anybody vote for them? There is already a party whose central purpose is to carve up the federal pie for its clients/voters. It is called the Democratic party, and nobody does interest group liberalism better than it does.

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