It’s easy to believe government has no place in helping people when you don’t need help. But when you do… people flip their position quite quickly.

Many of us have had a change of heart about government action when we encounter unexpected and otherwise insurmountable challenges. Consider the value that my friend, Dennis Sanders, found in Minnesota’s Medicaid program when he needed its assistance back in 1996. Or my experience, when I realized that had it not been for government action, our only child, who suffers from a severe case of Tourette Syndrome, might never have had access to the medications that help him lead a reasonably normal, productive life.

These cases and others suggest that “pure” libertarian conservatives are comprised of those who have not yet hit the brick wall of non-solutions; have not yet needed (nor had an opportunity to appreciate) just how valuable government “interference” can sometimes be.

Apparently, Steve Chabot has had a similar revelation.

Chabot has earned a 97.5 percent lifetime rating from The American Conservative Union and has largely stuck to the Republican ranks, except to oppose some pork-laden spending bills.

But when foreclosures in his hometown of Cincinnati skyrocketed, Chabot found himself aligned with Democrats — and against his party’s leaders, his conservative colleagues and the White House.

The fact is, government is “of, for, and by the people”, and there are many areas where government can act in the interest of the public good better than for-profit industry (which, by definition, is only motivated by what maximizes profit, not by what’s in the best interest of the public). Saying so doesn’t make one a “communist”, or mean that there isn’t a role for non-governmental actors in society. It’s just recognizing reality.