Reagan famously stated that government was not the solution, government was the problem (while simultaneously growing government at unprecedented rates). But I’ve always thought that the reason Republicans believe government is always the problem is because they don’t know how to govern. Of course, there is an alternative theory that they want to prove that government is incompetent by purposely making it as incompetent as they can.
Regardless of which of these theories you might subscribe to, you couldn’t pick a better example of it than the recent oil spill in the gulf. After all, it was just two years ago that a major scandal was uncovered in the very group charged with overseeing safety in oil drilling, the Minerals Management Service. As Robert F. Kennedy Jr. points out, the Bush administration (especially Dick Cheney) seems to have purposely tried to destroy the MMS by filling it with the shadiest characters one can imagine. Personnel in the MMS were dealing cocaine and other drugs, had sex with (including orgies) and accepted lavish gifts from people in the companies they were supposed to be regulating, and steered government contracts to companies they owned on the side.
At the same time, the MMS gutted safety regulations, including removing requirements for safety equipment that more than likely would have prevented the huge gulf oil spill.