We're spending a lot of time these days talking about the proper size of government, an eternal debate in American politics. You've probably gotten frustrated recently when you see Tea Partiers talking about how they feel terribly oppressed by the tyranny of things like the stimulus bill. "What the hell are they talking about?" you ask yourself. The idea that the federal government funding things like highway projects is pretty much the same thing as the Stasi bugging your house and carting your uncle off to jail for making a joke about a local apparatchik seems like something no sane person could believe. So where do they get these ideas?
We can all shake our heads and laugh at the likes of Sharron Angle, crusader against big government, who just happens to get her health insurance, and her husband's pension, through the government (he was a government employee). Is it hypocritical? Sure. But there's something a little more subtle going on. Take a look at this interesting conversationRolling Stone's Matt Taibbi had with some participants at a Tea Party rally:
During the 1990s, when we spent a lot of time debating campaign finance reform, conservatives argued that restrictions on how much someone could give to a candidate or spend on an election were a violation of free speech. The answer to the problem, they often said, was disclosure. Let a corporation spend as much as it wants on campaigns, as long as we know who's spending what; that will take care of the "appearance of corruption" problem. This argument was unpersuasive then, but even so, now that the Roberts Court has unleashed corporate money with the Citizens United decision, they've changed their tune. Now they're fervently opposed to disclosure of campaign spending. Why?