Big, intrusive government? Compared to what?

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Washington Post staff writer Dan Balz reports:

[H]ealth care will become a proxy, say strategists in both parties, for the continuing debate over whether the Obama era represents a return to bigger and more intrusive government.

A "return" to bigger and more intrusive government? From what? The small, un-intrusive government of the Bush years, when government spending skyrocketed, in part to pay for warrantless wiretapping of Americans?

It's little more than a throw-away in Balz' piece, but it's representative of how the media has internalized the Republican framing that only social programs -- and not, say, massive defense spending -- constitute "big government," and that the government is "intrusive" when it taxes you to pay for roads and health care, but not when it listens in on your phone calls and tells you who you can marry or when you can get an abortion.

For example, there are ten Washington Post articles available in the Nexis database that carry Dan Balz' byline and that refer to "intrusive" government -- none of which is a reference to abortion, gay rights, or Bush-era infringement on civil liberties. All but one is a reference to Democrats or progressive policies; the lone exception is a Republican pollster quoted saying that the Republicans' 1998 impeachment efforts undermined their image of opposing intrusive government.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Dan Balz
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