I often hear from my Republican friends that they support John McCain and denounce Barack Obama because they are in favor of “small government.” To this line of thinking I say: There is no such thing as big government versus small government. Not anymore. Not when supposed fiscal conservatives double down on the federal deficit in less than a decade, purported supporters of hands-off libertarianism write and pass constitutionally questionable legislation in the name of patriotism, and lifelong deregulators call for increased federal oversight and less federal interference in the same breath. In fact, there is no such thing anymore as speaking about American government in any kinds of generalized terms. There are only the people we place in charge. It is their philosophies, their instincts, values, priorities and judgments, that will determine what kind of government we have. Whether it will be one that engages the global community with international diplomacy, or employs hawkish tactics of threat and intimidation; one that speaks to its citizens as informed, empowered adults, or placates them with platitudes like naïve children. These are the terms on which we should be debating what sort of government we support — not small or large, but smart or lost.      

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