Bozell & Graham Column: Jim DeMint's Little Platoons vs. Big Government
Liberals view the term “compassionate conservatism” as an oxymoron. How could it not be so, they reason. After all, conservatives are greedy and conservatism feeds that greed at the expense of the poor. It is preposterous for liberals to believe this for the simple reason that conservatism would be not just wrong, it would be evil.
Some liberals want to demonize as reckless the traditional entrepreneurial spirit of America. Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint will have none of it and is taking that notion head on into the media with his new book “Falling In Love With America Again.” DeMint is championing the “little platoons” that meet human needs at the neighborhood level and judging their effectiveness against that of Big Government redistributing our wealth through an enormous, inefficient bureaucracy.
DeMint illustrates just how huge the government is: “In 2010, Medicare fraud was estimated to be $60 billion, or about seven times as much as the combined profits of the nation’s ten largest insurance companies. Compared to the federal government, the largest corporation in America is a mom-and-pop store.”
It is a monstrosity that cannot be controlled. DeMint writes “No manager in the history of mankind has ever efficiently managed a $3.5 trillion organization with 4.5 million employees, let alone the $5.8 trillion government President Obama’s official budget envisions for fiscal year 2022.”
In order to tell his story of America to America, DeMint is traveling deep into hostile media territory. NPR anchor Audie Cornish seemed confused by the talk of “little platoons.” She said platoons are divisions, and “that has been the criticism leveled at where politics are going, that it's more divisive.”
DeMint replied: “Well, it's divisive when someone at a central level is making a one-size-fits-all decision for all of us. You and I can get along just fine until someone walks in and says you have to do what I do. Then we get mad at each other and whoever told us what we have to do that.”
DeMint also shocked Cornish when he said he accomplished more for his local community in South Carolina as a private citizen than he did in the Senate, surely an alien concept to anyone working at NPR.
Then DeMint took on Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” and again met the liberal buzzsaw: When DeMint said “our hearts are in the same place,” Stewart put on his trademark smirk and declared “No they’re not!” He blamed DeMint’s Heritage Action for causing the government shutdown.
Stewart made a little “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” speech about corporations being accountable only to “market forces,” but government’s accountable to the voters. Government is “still an effective tool because it's the only thing that we have that We the People can actually make changes in. I can't make changes to Pfizer or Exxon or any of those companies, because I'm not a big enough shareholder in those, but this country I can.”
Just one word – Obamacare – and that argument is blown to smithereens.
Remember once again the massive size of the federal government compared to the largest corporations. Like most liberals, Stewart assumes that corporations are selfish, and government is in the public interest; that Pfizer and Exxon don’t have to serve customers, and government somehow always responds exquisitely to constituents.
If government responded so faithfully, Obamacare would be gone, Planned Parenthood would be shuttered, and those responsible for the Benghazi and IRS scandals would be in jail.
DeMint offered plenty of rebuttal, but if you watched the severely edited interview on TV instead of the extended interview online, Stewart’s statist sermons dominated. You don’t get fairness or balance on a comedy “news” show. Nevertheless, DeMint is a happy warrior for conservative values. We need so many more of those boldly making a case in a liberal-dominated media.