An interesting First Things article by Peter Spiliakos We Have A Country. I was struck early on by the idea that "small government" is not only a loser as an electoral popularity issue, but has weaknesses as a governing concept anyway.
Small-government conservatives and libertarians remain focused on the bad things that bumbling, large agencies screw up because they are large, and because they like to order people around. This is, in fact, a major danger. They are not merely large and inefficient, but inefficient (and worse) because they are large. But most people don't care so much about that. They see in theory that this largeness part may be the root cause, but they are more concerned about the right-now screwups. Focusing on reducing government sounds good to only a percentage of the citizenry. The others want to know "But what will that mean, really?" It's a fair question.
Those who actually follow government get nervous because such evasions such as "effective government" are often merely code for increased government. But that's because the wolves are hiding in what is, in fact, sheep's clothing. Effective government is indeed what we're after, and if it were delivered even libertarians would sigh and pay dearly for it.
He rightly identifies welfare reform as a real victory both politically and in practice. It captured enough of what positive things we do want a government to do, while removing real excesses. We actually do want good roads and bridges, we want a functioning military, we want some regulation of poisons going into the air and water, we want trade to proceed in some orderly and mostly fair fashion.