Yesterday in Pittsburgh, while discussing the oil spill, Obama got off a pretty good critique of Reaganism.

…a good deal of the other party’s opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about government. It’s a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It’s an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.

This is why Reaganism owns the BP oil spill.

Republicans have governed for decades under the assumption that we need to keep government “off the backs” of big business (deregulation), while rewarding them by starving government (tax cuts). Then big business, untethered by regulations, massively screws the country (see Enron, WorldCom, AIG, Goldman Sachs, BP), and the now-diminished government, starved by those tax cuts, isn’t quite able to clean up the mess. Then Republicans say, “See! Government sucks!” It’s quite a racket.

But Tanman didn’t like that analysis very much.

“The president diminishes the Office of the President when he resorts to straw man arguments that willfully mischaracterize the views of others,” Boehner shot back this afternoon. “

I don’t think “straw man” means what Tanman thinks it means. Here he is, on May 7, blasting Wall Street regulation.

During these times of hardship, the last things middle-class families and small businesses need are new layers of bureaucracy and red tape. But that’s exactly what they’ll get from the President’s financial regulation bill that could soon pass the Senate.

[...]

…our jobs plan would get control of government spending, while tearing down all the new taxes and regulations that are keeping small businesses today from investing and hiring.

In other words, the GOP’s plan to fix the economy is: tax breaks and fewer rules for corporations. Straw man!

Come on, Tanman — when was the last time a Republican made an affirmative case for more government? Nixon?