George Will, erudite conservative columnist and early cheer leader for the Reagan Revolution, ruefully remarked nearly twenty years later:
"Reagan's popularity was largely the result of "his blaming government for problems that are inherent in democracy itself."
""Under Reagan, Americans could live off government and hate it at the same time. Americans blamed government for their dependence upon it." "
"If the defining doctrine of the Republican Party is limited government, the party must move up from nostalgia and leaven its reverence for Reagan with respect for Madison. " (Source, "Reagan's Conservatism, George Will quoting John Patrick Diggins)
A great rhetor from his training as an actors and his experience as spokesman/salesman for General Electric, Ronald Reagan knew who to frame the argument against Big Government in such a way as to absolve the American People from their part in its gargantuan growth.
The Tea Party, the current populist movement swarming across the country, wants to stop the spending, stop the growth of government, and stop the federal power grab of state authority and individual rights . . .Not just talk about it.
Unless the voters face the current encroachment of state dependence in their lives and cut it off, certainly to their own immediate detriment, there will be no change in the way that government has continued to do business.
Voters will have to tell themselves and their legislators, the same way the Ronald Reagan would scold the chimpanzee under his tutelage in "Bedtime for Bonzo", not to touch, not to take, not to grow, not to demand.
Today, a committed minority of politicians, because of the will of their like-minded states' rights constituents and red-blue libertarian leanings, are storming Congress, thwarting tax-and spend wastrel legislation. They are bearing the brunt of wide-spread, strident mainstream media hostility as hostage takers and terrorists, only because their voters back home demand that government start behaving itself and playing by the rules set down by Madison and Company during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, not merely the heated ant-government hot air of the Republican Conventions of 1964 and 1980.
If we are to despise the advancement of the state, which necessarily curbs our freedoms and limits our opportunities, then we the voters must acknowledge that the fault of Big Government is not in our stars, or in our pols, but in ourselves, in that we for too long have expected the government to plug along providing for our imagined needs and wants now, and letting someone else pay later.
That "someone else" is us, that "later" is now, and no chiding the process of Constitutional Government or Reaganite hedonism will deter that.