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Republican response: Gov. McDonnell argues for small government

January 27, 2010 |  7:54 pm


Small is beautiful, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell argued tonight in the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union.

A fresh face who was elected just months ago, McDonnell was given the honor of responding to the president’s call for bipartisanship and a new approach to solving problems that have nagged for too long.

McDonnell stuck close to GOP principles of small, limited government that encourages a vibrant market through nonregulation.

“The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level,” he said. “Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity.”

Using language that could have found a place in Obama’s speech, McDonnell said: “The American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and act on the issues most important to them. We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship.”

On healthcare, the abyss that separated Democrats from Republicans and did much to poison the Senate’s usual collegiality, McDonnell defended the congressional GOP, saying they had a plan “without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes.

“We will do that by implementing common-sense reforms, like letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines, and ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of your healthcare.”

Expect those arguments to come around again as the healthcare debate resumes.

McDonnell even invoked that other new GOP superstar, Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts, whose election changed the Senate’s political dynamic.

But the bottom line was a conservative policy, consistent with GOP goals over the past decades.

“Top-down, one-size-fits-all decision-making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our founders clearly stated, and we governors understand, government closest to the people governs best,” he said.

-- Michael Muskal

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gestures as he delivers the Republican Response to the State of the Union in the Virginia House of Delegates chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)