"This is what Republicans always do. When in power, they massively expand the power of the state in every realm. Deficit spending and the national debt skyrocket. The National Security State is bloated beyond description through wars and occupations, while no limits are tolerated on the Surveillance State. Then, when out of power, they suddenly pretend to re-discover their 'small government principles.' The very same Republicans who spent the 1990s vehemently opposing Bill Clinton's Terrorism-justified attempts to expand government surveillance and executive authority then, once in power, presided over the largest expansion in history of those very same powers. The last eight years of Republican rule was characterized by nothing other than endlessly expanded government power, even as they insisted - both before they were empowered and again now - that they are the standard-bearers of government restraint.
"What makes this deceit particularly urgent for them now is that their only hope for re-branding and re-empowerment lies in a movement - the tea partiers - that has been (largely though not exclusively) dominated by libertarians, Paul followers, and other assorted idiosyncratic factions who are hostile to the GOP's actual approach to governing. This is a huge wedge waiting to be exposed - to explode - as the modern GOP establishment and the actual 'small-government' libertarians that fuel the tea party are fundamentally incompatible. Right-wing mavens like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin and National Review are suddenly feigning great respect for Ron Paul and like-minded activists because they're eager that the sham will be maintained: the blatant sham that the modern GOP and its movement conservatives are a coherent vehicle for those who believe in small government principles. The only evidence of a passionate movement urging GOP resurgence is from people whose views are antithetical to that Party. That's the dirty secret which right-wing polemicists are desperately trying to keep suppressed. Credit to Mike Huckabee for acknowledging this core incompatibility by saying he would not attend CPAC because of its 'increasing libertarianism...'
"Part of why this fraud has been sustainable thus far is that libertarians - like everyone who doesn't view all politics through the mandated, distorting, suffocating Democrat v. GOP prism - are typically dismissed as loons and nuts, and are thus eager for any means of achieving mainstream acceptance. Having the GOP embrace them is one way to achieve that (Karl Rove: some 'see the tea party movement as a recruiting pool for volunteers for Ron Paul's next presidential bid.... The Republican Party and the tea party movement have many common interests'). Additionally, just as the Paul-faction of libertarians is in basic harmony with many progressives on issues of foreign policy and civil liberties, they do subscribe to the standard GOP rhetoric on domestic spending, social programs and the like.
"But that GOP limited government rhetoric is simply never matched by that Party's conduct, especially when they wield power. The very idea that a political party dominated by neocons, warmongers, surveillance fetishists, and privacy-hating social conservatives will be a party of 'limited government' is absurd on its face. There literally is no myth more transparent than the Republican Party's claim to believe in restrained government power. For that reason, it's only a matter of time before the fundamental incompatibility of the 'tea party movement' and the political party cynically exploiting it is exposed."
-Glenn Greenwald (full text here)