The Daily Beast

How Joe Biden—in Less Than Two Months—Turned Ronald Reagan’s Decades-Old Conventional Wisdom on Its Head


“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” With that famous line Ronald Reagan uttered on August 12, 1986 during his second term as President, the GOP mantra for decades to follow was born.

In fact, this philosophy later even found a home in the Democratic Party. President Bill Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union address declared that, “The era of big government is over,” explaining that, “We have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington.”

And during an October 2000 presidential debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush, pundits at the time noted that the two seemed to be competing for the title of “the candidate of smaller government.” Gore even bragged that his “reinventing government” campaign as vice president under Clinton had reduced the government to its smallest level in terms of jobs since 1960.

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