For a group of people who loudly denounce government, most of the GOP presidential contenders sure have spent a lot of time working for it—as politicians, as an attorney for the IRS, as an Air Force serviceman, and in other ways, observes Gregg Easterbrook at Reuters. People who have spent some or even most of their lives as office-holding government insiders calling government and government spending objectionable "is a bit like a used-car salesman claiming to be a consumer crusader or a high-class madam denouncing Internet porn," he writes.
So why are voters willing to put up with such hypocrisy? The reason appears be that a lot of the voters are hypocrites about government themselves, Easterbrook argues. A 2008 poll found that 57% of Americans denied ever benefiting from a government social program, he notes, but when the questions became more specific, it turned out that almost all the poll respondents had used student loans, the mortgage-interest deduction, Social Security, or other social programs. "The Republican presidential candidates who denounce government, yet enjoy cushy government jobs, reflect the two-faced nature of much of the electorate," he concludes.