That’s a direct quote repeated several times by Mike Pence (R-IN) and other GOP congressmen in today’s House debate: “OSHA is Big Brother.” Of course they were generally circumspect about including within a paragraph of these denunciations emotional insistences that their intent was only to strengthen OSHA, and expressions of dismay and offense that Democrats would suggest otherwise.

The GOP message, then, is this: OSHA is Big Brother. We must strengthen OSHA. Any guess which part reflects how they really feel about it?

No attempt to argue that the reforms they were pushing would somehow make OSHA less like Big Brother either (after all, this is just a “narrow,” “small, inocuous” set of bills, right?). Just insistences that they were committed to preserving OSHA, and that to understand it we should think of it as a totalitarian overlord which supresses individual freedom (at least it’s not the “Gestapo,” like the EPA).

I’m not going to go so far as to say that the GOP’s messaging here is Orwellian. Thought it’s a better candidate for the label more than, say, government action to prevent manslaughter on the job.

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