It's no secret the Republican Party is outspoken against government intervention in the lives of Americans. Big government is one of the main distinctions between Democrats and Republicans. However, there seems to be a major disconnect between their slogan and their actions. The GOP claims to be against big government yet when they need "Big Brother" to step in, they look the other way on their policy agenda. The Republicans, in a sense, have been their own worst enemy on this issue by implementing restrictions and flip-flopping on key issues of government funding and intervention.
One of the biggest and most direct violations of their rhetoric is the restrictive legislation proposed on women involving abortions and women's health. Contrary to the belief of the party that government is bad and is hurting our economy and hindering our development, Republicans believe government should take a keen interest in the health of women. Several conservative state legislatures have put forth legislation to shut down abortion clinics (which, in some cases, is the only source of health care women receive) by issuing restrictions with which the clinics could not even hope to comply such as regulations on hallway widths which must be similar to the widths of hallways in hospitals. Some legislatures, and even the House of Representatives, have gone as far as to ban abortions after 20 weeks even in the case of rape or incest in direct violation of Roe v. Wade. To me, this is an intrusion by the government into the private lives of citizens with no rationale to support it. The government does not have a "compelling interest" (a pseudonym for the strict scrutiny test the Supreme Court uses when examining the interest a state has for violating or disenfranchising the rights of its citizens) in restricting abortions or the care the clinics provide to women.
Republicans are also dead set on solving the non-problem of voter fraud in this country. The national numbers pertaining to voter fraud are so miniscule, that any legislation aimed at remedying the issue is laughable and walks the line on being unconstitutional. With the Supreme Court striking down Section 4 of the Voter Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby v. Holder, several states have already announced they will immediately implement their voter ID laws which is set to disenfranchise millions of voters. While I believe the Supreme Court did not get the ruling wrong in this case, it has surely set the wheels in motion for a Republican free-for-all to implement these audacious voter ID laws.
In the aftermath of super-storm Sandy, many Republicans in congress chose to vote against disaster relief to the area. An apparent no-brainer turned into an assault on big government and the "frivolous" spending of the federal government. However, when the problem occurs in one's own backyard, the story seems much different. Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn were vocal about not wanting FEMA relief in the wake of the devastating EF-5 tornado which hit the city of Moore. Coburn wanted the federal government to cut spending from another program before it used FEMA funds to help the victims. Senator Inhofe changed his tune rather quickly after seeing the utter destruction the storm brought to his constituents asking for federal relief. Similarly, Republicans publicly condemned President Obama's stimulus package yet conservative budget hawks such as Paul Ryan asked for stimulus money.
Republicans are also adamant on the issue of marriage. They feel as though it is the government's place to say who can and cannot get married. Is it just me or does this sound like yet another over-intrusion of government? In an article written by Dana Loesch for the conservative blog Red State, Loesch laments that marriage should be a religious issue and should be left alone by government.
It is tough to have your cake and eat it too. Republicans have campaigned against big government and over-regulation but in many cases are on the wrong side of the issue. If they want to appeal to a broader more central audience, they must do what they say and say what they mean.