As bold progressive Elizabeth Warren said in her speech at the Democratic National Convention, “Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends.”
Case in point: Wisconsin Republican Senate nominee Tommy Thompson. At a Tea Party rally this past weekend, Thompson addressed the crowd about the virtues of self-reliance and individualism:
THOMPSON: The Constitution says We The People, not We The Government! […] Read the Constitution, Mr. President. We the people! We built it ourselves!
To start with, practically his entire career has been in government. Shortly after completing law school in 1966, he ran for Wisconsin State Assembly. He won, and cycled between a series of government jobs, ranging from Governor of Wisconsin to George W. Bush’s Health and Human Services Secretary.
After leaving Bush’s cabinet, he joined the private sector — sort of. He worked for the powerful lobbying firm Akin Gump, and worked to advise health care corporations and how they could make as much as possible off of the U.S. government. He became president of the health care form Logistics Health Incorporated, and got an $11 million government contract to manage health care for 9/11 first-responders — which his company bungled.
Given the fact that he’s spent nearly his entire life in government and that his few short years out of it basically consisted of figuring out how to help corporations profit off of the government, Thompson is the last person who should be lecturing anyone on the virtues of the free market and self-reliance.