Mark Davis

“That government is best which governs least.” Probably the best seven-word explanation of conservatism in the history of language. For that reason, you will often hear it attributed to Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine.

But it appears instead to be one of the more lucid moments of Henry David Thoreau, who may have been channeling essayist John Louis O’Sullivan or even Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Whoever. It’s a great quote. Use it often.

And these might be particularly opportune times to use it, because we may be witnessing a season in which some voters who have gladly lifted big-government Democrats to office after office may be tasting the bitter fruit of their habit.

Make no mistake. President Obama is still in the White House because millions of Americans are at the trough of free stuff paid for by others. Millions more may not feed at that trough, but they are glad it is there, nurturing a culture of dependency that is the foundation of the Democrat party’s future.

But among them are also plenty of people who are not so staunchly liberal, not so pathologically needy, not that ideologically wired at all.

They are the kind of people you may have had this chat with:

“Does our nation spend too much?”


“Do we have too many illegal immigrants?”


“Should the favored definition of marriage be between one man and one woman?”


“Do we need to get tough against terrorists?”

“You bet.”

“Whom did you vote for?”


If you’ve had this conversation, it’s enough to make you crazy. How can people with a brain stem sufficient to answer those questions properly then vote for the man who wholly disagrees with them?

This is where you get to phony attributes like “Obama is cool,” “He cares about people,” “He deserves a chance to fix the economy” and other knee-slappers.

But this is also where you find the low-information voter’s equally false snapshot of Republicans: “They don’t like minorities.” “They hate gays.” “They’re only for the rich.” “They want to let industry destroy the planet.”

How do you cut through a fog that dense? With issues so blatant that even the half-awake can grasp them.

Thank you, IRS. Thank you, Benghazi. Thank you, Eric Holder. Thank you, Obamacare.

All of these carry some level of complexity, but they also carry a flaming common thread perceptible to millions across party lines-- government wildly out of control.

People who haven’t ever cared about tax policy care if the IRS is targeting a President’s enemies.