There’s a strange thing about Republicans who want to serve in federal government. This includes the many Republican candidates for the president, the strongest office in the federal government. With the demise of moderate Republicans, most if not all Republican candidates for the House, Senate, and Presidency talk about how they want to shrink and in some cases eliminate government (think of Rick Perry, in the 2012 elections, wanting to eliminate three regulatory agencies, even if he couldn’t remember all three). Not to put too fine a point on it, but why do these Republicans want to serve in a government they say they hardly believe in? Their scorn for government raises questions about their ambition to be a part of it.

What would we think of an aspiring doctor who said she wanted to eliminate much of the practice of medicine? What to make of a would-be banker who said banking should be shrunk “to the size where it could be drowned in a bathtub”? Or a house-builder who set out to build as few houses as she might possibly could? For that matter, what about a book editor whose goal was to produce fewer books every year? (I know what my bosses at Wipf and Stock would make of that!)

So here’s a question that should be asked in the next interminable Republican presidential debate: If you hate federal government so much, why do you want to be a part of it?