President Obama slays GOP myth of ‘evil’ big government

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 2/27/2013, 6:40 a.m.

2013 is pretty much the same. The GOP retained the House, and its party line is that millions of Americans still clamor for a return to fiscal conservatism and a sprint backward on expanding government programs in education, housing and highway and urban infrastructure construction and reconstruction. Polls, of course, show the exact opposite. The majority of voters want Congress to work with the president on solving the nation’s problems, most importantly the economy. The big sticking point, though, is the looming sequester. This mandates draconian budget cuts in defense and non-defense programs and services.

Polls show that the majority of Americans want to avoid the cuts, and the way to do that is to put even more of the tax squeeze on the wealthy. This does not fit into the GOP attack line against big government and Obama.

But there’s too much political risk now in the GOP mounting an all-out frontal attack on Obama and his plan for more government spending in vital areas. So the new code word for that is simply to continue to pound on the need for deficit reduction and fiscal restraint. This has just enough public and administration resonance to appear sensible, moderate and reasonable.

Obama and Democrats have given no sign they’ll bow to the GOP’s end around against government. They have come up with proposals to stave off the hardest and most devastating cuts to everything from Head Start to Food Nutrition programs and hundreds of other programs for the poor and working class the GOP demands.

FDR didn’t panic in the face of the GOP’s painting of him as an architect of evil government. He stayed the course, remained true to his populist faith, turned the tables back on his foes and dared them to move the country forward, not backward. Obama appears willing to do the same. And that means slaying the GOP myth of “evil” big government.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.