The Incredible Fatuousness of Michael Steele

By Brian Beutler

When Ronald Reagan said “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem,” it was a pretty bold statement. And for its boldness it helped form the basis of a generation of Republican political dominance. Perhaps that’s why, faced with the end of that dominance, some are wondering if maybe, possibly, Reagan didn’t go far enough:

Steele couldn’t praise them enough, and at times, he was at a loss for words. “You and I know that in the history of mankind and womankind, government — federal, state or local — has never created one job,” he said. “It’s destroyed a lot of them.”

I guess that means that when he was the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, he was unemployed. As were his staff members. As are, say, the 1.5 million or so active personnel in the Unite States armed forces. And so on and so on. All just as unemployed as the people who used to work for that great engine of job creation Lehman Brothers.


We all know whose interests most conservatives have in mind when they criticize the public sector. Sometimes it’s even defensible. As Matt notes below, there are functions that should be left to markets and functions that should be left to the government and functions where the choice isn’t all that clear yet, and when that’s the case we should experiment or debate or what have you. But you’d think that subtlety wouldn’t be lost on the new chairman of the Republican party, who, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea, on his first day out, to publicly insult the huge number of people who work for the largest employer in America.