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The Boston Globe

Opinion

jeff jacoby

The real George McGovern

‘Government has become so vast and impersonal,” the presidential challenger asserted, “that its interests diverge more and more from the interests of ordinary citizens. For a generation and more, the government has sought to meet our needs by multiplying its bureaucracy. Washington has taken too much in taxes from Main Street, and Main Street has received too little in return. It is not necessary to centralize power in order to solve our problems.”

Was that Ronald Reagan in 1980, evangelizing for smaller, less intrusive government as he campaigned against Jimmy Carter? Was it Barry Goldwater, echoing a theme from “The Conscience of a Conservative” during his long-shot 1964 attempt to unseat Lyndon Johnson? Was it Mitt Romney, contrasting his view of a properly restrained federal establishment with Barack Obama’s exorbitant Keynesianism?

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