There are a lot of problems with David Brooks's latest New York Times column, but here's one that's really basic. Here is Mr. Brooks describing what he calls the Republican narrative: "The current task, therefore, is, as Rick Perry says, to make the government 'inconsequential' in people's lives — to pare back the state to revive personal responsibility and private initiative."
Here's the actual quote from Governor Perry's announcement speech: "I'll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can." What Mr. Brooks misses is that it's not all government that Governor Perry wants to make inconsequential; it's the federal government. It's a distinction that matters a lot to someone like Mr. Perry, who has spent the past decade running a state government and whose case to get elected president rests precisely on the argument that the policies he pursued in that role were consequential in creating jobs and economic growth in Texas.