Shorter Nathan Smith: "The reason the size of government keeps growing is because disgruntled libertarians aren't voting Republican!"
What he doesn't realize is, he fisked himself in his own damn article:
Yes, we all love the 1990s. But it doesn't follow that having a Democratic president and a Republican Congress will bring them back. Instead, it's far more likely that the strange and fortuitous synergy between Clinton and the Contract with America Congress that made the 1990s so nice was a one-off.
First, Bill Clinton was elected without a mandate. Ross Perot handed him the election by splitting the conservative vote. Having won only 43% of the vote, Clinton should have known the public wasn't really behind him -- though it took another punch-in-the-face from voters in 1994 to really wean him of his old liberalism. What the 1990s analogy might argue for is supporting a McCain insurgency, so that the Democrats would recover the White House without a mandate for their agenda. It gives no grounds for thinking that a liberal Democrat president with a majority mandate would benefit the small-government cause.
Second, while the 1990s were great for the people, the economy, and the country, they were frustrating for the Republicans and Democrats, in different ways. For Republicans after 1994, they managed to move policy in a conservative direction, but at the expense of their own popularity vis-à-vis Clinton, who got re-elected, and the Democrats, who kept picking up seats in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, for Democrats, they had their man in the White House, but he governed mostly like an Eisenhower Republican, and presided over the greatest landmark of conservative legislation in fifty years: welfare reform. (emphasis mine)
This chunk of clarity is soon followed up by what can only be described as utter nonsense:
If Andrew Sullivan and his fellow small-government conservatives had supported Bush, Bush might have won 55-44 instead of 51-48. In that case, Bush wouldn't need to try to expand the Republican base with a big Katrina relief package. Bush would be stronger vis-à-vis the Democrats, and the conservative base would be stronger vis-à-vis Bush.
Read the part before that steaming pile again. Wouldn't this reasoning actually show that the reason government keeps getting bigger is that all potential political heirs to Ross Perot (read: Right-ish indie/3rd party types that can scare the crap out of the majors) have been strangled in their cribs?
Why does Nathan acknowledge the impact of a serious 3rd candidate in creating the atmosphere where Republicans called for abolishing entire departments & considered a balanced budget amendment and a Democrat actually said "the era of big government is OVER", passed welfare reform, and sent the National Debt clock spinning backwards, only to imply that George W Bush would've brought that back after having ran as a "moderate" candidate in 2000 and governed as a Republican FDR in the run-up to re-election?
Clearly the proper approach is not to cross our fingers and vote Republican, but for libertarians to stay as far away from Republicans as possible whilst seeking to coax genuine conservatives to abandon them as well, constantly threatening to throw a wrench in their plans from outside until they listen to us -- or we simply smash the whole thing, their call as to whichever comes first.