As Brad Plumer rightly notes, that whole "the era of big government is over" idea is being quickly supplanted by the era of "I kinda like big government and respectfully ask for more". The number of Republicans viewing government as "almost always wasteful and inefficient" has fallen from 74% in the early 90's to fewer than 50% now. Which, I think, goes far towards explaining Bush's Medicare and Social Security reforms. With such precipitous drops in contempt towards the government, someone needs to step in and prove how totally incompetent the public sphere really is. Did 9/11 convince you the government can keep you safe? Watch them blitz a foreign country based on totally incorrect intelligence! Think torture is probably bad for America and an affront to moral values? Your government won't even allow the guy who let Abu Ghraib happen resign! He tried twice! They're forcibly keeping him at his desk! He also fucked up the war effort! Gah! And that's not all! They're going to destroy the most successful social insurance program in history despite admitting that their "fix" fixes nothing! They've screwed over the environment, squandered a giant surplus, created a massive deficit, lost a bunch of jobs, destroyed America's global prestige, forgotten to clamp down on lose nuclear material, lied to you a number of times, and created the most divided Congress anyone can remember! And yet you people are trusting them more, not less! You're screwing up the whole plan!