But back to both sides being the same. My conservative friends think that whatever radicalism or intransigence there is to the right--is reflected just as clearly on the left. Benen notes this phenomenon with a Paul Ryan misquote about liberals and government. Ryan quoted Barney Frank as wanting to increase the role of government on every front, when Frank only said that liberals were "trying in every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area."
Benen notes that Ryan seems to assume that the left has the opposite goal of his own. But as Paul Krugman notes, "we are not mirror images."
"On the right, people are for smaller government as a matter of principle — smaller government for its own sake. And so they naturally imagine that their opponents must be their mirror image, wanting bigger government as a goal in itself.It is a very good point. People on the right want smaller government, even if that means that makes for worse policy, because they believe that small government is inherently superior. Liberals, on the other hand, are more pragmatic, or it certainly seems so in the modern era. We want certain policy ends, and if private means can get us there, that is fine.
But it’s not true. I don’t know any progressives who gloat over increases in the federal payroll or the government share of GDP. Progressives have things they want the government to do — like guaranteeing health care. Size per se doesn’t matter. But people on the right apparently can’t get that."