Republicans have proposed to stop new environmental and financial regulations, and lower corporate taxes. Then, the logic goes, a liberated private sector will pull itself off the mat.
For the Democrats, the idea is that government can be the main solution.
It's too easy to point out that GOP preference for small government ends at the water's edge, beyond which they enthusiastically support foreign adventures when a Republican is president, somewhat enthusiastically when a Democrat is present. And that Republicans want a bigger, bigger, and still bigger defense budget, now condemning Barack Obama for cutting defense spending when he has increased it well beyond that of the GW Bush years and as a percentage of tax revenues.
But Dean Baker makes an even more important point, slapping the Post for "pushing stereotypes" and noting
The vast majority of the money in President Obama's job plan is in the form of tax cuts, mostly cuts in the payroll tax for workers and employers. How exactly does this fit with "government can be the main solution?"
As far as the Republican side, how many Republicans called for ending federal deposit insurance and other supports for the banking system? Republicans have no problem with all sorts of government regulations (e.g. patent and copyright protection) that impose enormous costs on the economy, but disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Their objection is not to government, their objection is to government doing anything to help the poor and middle class.
And then there are of course the primary sexual issues, gay rights and abortion rights, in which GOP abhorrence at government regulating the marketplace for the benefit of the 99% gives way to eagerness for the long hand of government bureaucrats reaching into the bedroom. The Associated Press has found
A nationwide coalition of anti-abortion groups said Wednesday it is preparing to push legislation in all 50 states requiring that pregnant women see and hear the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion.
The effort follows the introduction of similar legislation at the federal level by Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota....
That lungs do not begin to function until approximately the twenty-third week of pregnancy and the fetal brain does not begin to resemble a newborn's brain until approximately three weeks later is of little concern to the legislators. They almost sincerely believe life as we know it begins roughly six months into a pregnancy, six months after the fetus develops a sense of human consciousness, and want their beliefs mandated by government. And not only by individual state governments but by Washington, pushed by a party which periodically advertises as the guys who believe that government closets to the people is best.
The Post, attempting to appear to present both sides of the issue, quotes House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, himself a moderate Democrat, who himself presents the issue in a balanced way: "The fundamental difference is, Democrats see government as a partner in progress and growth. The Republicans — at least those that have been elected recently — see it as the impediment to growth." In Hoyer's estimation, they both have a point: one wants a partner, the other opposes impediments.
Meanwhile, a Heritage Foundation spokesman explains the conservative position, maintaining "Washington should be pursuing a policy of 'do no more harm." Stop doing stuff. Stop trying to meddle (in) the economy." You see, conservatives are like your family doctor- "first, do no harm." From The Post, we get the right's position- and the middle-of-the-road position, presented as that of the left.
The difference, of course, lies in the organizations and individuals Republicans ally with on their way to helping their favored constituencies, usually the most powerful, contrasted with liberal/Democratic allies and constituencies. They all want big government and merely differ in whose ox they want to gore, a condition the mainstream media chooses to ignore.