Times have changed. In the 1930s, government was small. Expanding it massively in order to solve problems might or might not have been a good idea, but there's no denying it was innovative. Today government is sclerotic. Those who believe more government is the solution to America's problems are at best unthinking reactionaries. The Tea Partiers, having clearly identified this problem, are today's true progressives (to employ the term in its literal rather than ideological sense).
They are not, however, "good at government"--or, more precisely, at politics. Their purism cost the GOP as many as three Senate seats last year, and if a competent Democrat were in the White House, it probably would be helping him to re-election right now. The experience of 1995-96 is instructive here. Gingrich had the Tea Party's worst qualities: grandiosity and impatience. He was no match for a president who knew how to play the game.
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