GOP Doesn't Walk 'Small Government' Talk

Article excerpt

One durable Republican staple is the alleged commitment to "small government." I've heard this repeatedly during the GOP presidential debates. The candidates declare that the feds should butt out, that "one size fits all" policies enacted by Washington would burden the states.

On everything from guns to abortion, the GOP politicians say that states should be allowed to come up with solutions that reflect the will of their own people. This is supposed to be a cornerstone of the conservative ethos.

But it's really just pap for the stump. In reality, and for a fresh insight into contemporary Republican hypocrisy, let us behold (yet again) the Bush administration in action.

Last month, the Bush team -- acting through the Environmental Protection Agency, in violation of the law that created the EPA, and in defiance of federal court rulings -- decreed that California and 16 other states would not be permitted to act on their own to reduce global-warming emissions from automobiles.

The EPA explained that it favors a "national solution" (i.e., one size fits all) over what it calls "a confusing patchwork of state rules."

The catch, of course, is that the EPA -- once considered a protector of the environment, before the Bush team got hold of it -- has no interest in a "national solution" to cut the carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

The Bush EPA fought the idea for years, claiming that the 1970 Clean Air Act failed to specify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. It hasn't budged in that belief, even though, back on April 2, the U. …