Tag Archive: government

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 3: Disaster Relief

"Where Is FEMA?" t-shirt sold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

“Where Is FEMA?” t-shirt sold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

(This is the third installment in a series about differences between Democratic and Republican Presidents in areas where they have direct control. See our Democratic vs. Republican Presidents category for the rest.)

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan famously said: “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Reagan’s statement epitomizes the conservative anti-government philosophy that has taken hold among Republican presidents and presidential candidates. This is a huge difference between Republicans and Democrats, and this difference is especially apparent when it comes to disaster relief.

Yosemite National Park: the best of good government

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

We have previously touted the benefits of “good government,” from Social Security to Superstorm Sandy relief. But perhaps no result of good government is more beloved than America’s fabulous national parks. And the first park land set aside in America by the federal government for public use — by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 — was the land that is now Yosemite National Park.

Disneyland, measles vaccines and the illusion of choice

Disneyland crowd

Disneyland crowd

“I went to Disneyland and all I got was this t-shirt” is now a good thing, given that Disneyland in Anaheim, California is considered Ground Zero for the current U.S. measles outbreak. This outbreak of measles has now spread to 14 states with 102 reported cases as of January 30, which is double the pace of reported cases from last year. Experts agree that the measles outbreak at Disneyland and across the United States is a result of people who have not been vaccinated. In California alone, scores of parents at some schools have refused to vaccinate their children by signing a “personal belief exemption,” which is also available in a number of other U.S. states. Some of these so-called “anti-vaxxers” unfortunately have fallen prey to thoroughly debunked false information alleging that vaccines cause autism and other scary problems.

Conference call with George Lakoff, Democratic messaging guru

Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff

Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff

Last Tuesday, Democracy For America held a conference call featuring Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff and Nina Turner, current State Senator and Democratic candidate for Secretary of State from Ohio. The subject of the call was how to frame the Democratic Party message for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

San Francisco’s business of government



A road trip from Southern California to San Francisco blows up the conservative myth that “government is bad for business” from Mile 1. First, you’ll likely drive up Interstate 5. That’s one of the highways largely built with taxpayer funds as part of the Interstate Highway System. I-5 runs through California’s Central Valley, where a big portion of America’s fruits and vegetables are grown, and it’s not unusual to see agricultural trucks making up 50 percent or more of the road traffic. Those truckers, growers, store owners and consumers throughout the U.S. depend on I-5 and other federal and state highways to move commerce to market efficiently.

Obama Inauguration Day speech calls for good government

President Obama‘s inauguration speech for his second term called for an active, effective federal (as well as state and local) government that provides “security and dignity” for Americans. Among the things President Obama said that government should help do or be involved in are:

The Republicans’ Hurricane Sandy problem

Multistate disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which is currently battering the Northeast, present a big problem for the Republican Party and its anti-government ideology. Here’s why:

How About Saying “Elected Representatives” Instead of “Government”?

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
President Ronald Reagan, inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1981

For over 30 years, Republicans and conservatives have tried to turn “government” into a dirty word. But maybe the term “government” is a bit of a straw man created by Republicans in the first place.

In common usage, to be “governed” generally means to be controlled or ordered around. That’s often a negative connotation. A “governor” on a car or motorbike engine limits the top speed. And how about that staple of literature and Masterpiece Theater episodes, the strict, bossy English “governess”? It hardly seems a coincidence that Republicans, from Reagan on down, have so frequently referred to “government” (especially the federal government, especially when Democrats control the Executive Branch) in a negative way.

But perhaps progressives are mistaken if they embrace or get hung up on the word “government” rather than its concept. The word “government” only appears in the U.S. Constitution a few times, so there’s no natural requirement to use it when referring to the protection and security that Democrats and progressives want as a check on individual, group, and corporate excess. Instead, the Constitution largely talks about our elected representatives, i.e., our U.S. House members, Senators, and President (and the various state constitutions likewise cover elected representatives at the state level) as the agents through which we get things done.