Not Getting It

| | Comments (0)

The problem with this and the other GOP reason-for-loss meme (that the conservatives abandoned the party because the Republicans had abandoned their philosophy of limited government) is that it just isn't borne out by either the facts (or even the conventional wisdom that this election was a move to the center.) These people all seem to truly believe that the majority who voted for Bush two years ago came out in favor of Democrats this week because they were upset that the Republicans were insufficiently conservative. Does that make any sense? -- digby

Actually, yes, it does. It is not the whole story, but it is a huge part of it, yes.

Well, let me back up slightly: the majority who voted for Bush didn't come out in favor of the Democrats this week. More people voted for Kerry in 2004 than voted for Democrats in 2006.

Also let me clarify that the abandonment of conservatism meme he linked to has nothing to do with social conservatism, and everything to do with small-government conservatism.

So, look at the turnout. GOP turnout was way down. For the first time in several decades in a midterm election, the Democrats came out in far greater numbers than the Republicans. And the reason for that is, quite specifically, because the GOP in Washington DC was not conservative enough. Find me one Republican voter -- current or past -- who is not pissed off at the lack of small-government conservatism in the GOP. And, as we know from the numbers, many of them simply stayed home. So how could anyone not see that this election is due in large part to the GOP abandoning conservatism?

The blindness is truly mind-boggling.

There is not the slightest bit of evidence that this election was a move to the center. None of the polling shows the electorate wanting higher taxes, more social programs, more gun control, and generally more government intrusion into our lives. Sure, there's some widespread support among the electorate on a few right-of-center issues like minimum wage, but there's no evidence that these issues significantly affected the electorate.

He quotes from The New Republic:

While the publicly-available election data can't answer this question definitively, everything we know about public opinion suggests there isn't a majority constituency for economic libertarianism. (Tax cuts, perhaps, but not the smaller government that goes along with it.)

There is some truth to that, which is (I believe) why the GOP cut taxes and not spending. But 1994 taught us that Americans are quite willing to have smaller government if it also means lower taxes. Sure, they want both, but if forced to choose, they will take lower taxes. That is precisely why the Republicans won every national election since 1994 except for Clinton in 1996, until now. And the reason they lost this time, in large part, was because the people finally stopped believing the Republicans in DC were for small government. By now, it is impossible to believe it.

The TNR piece goes on:

The easiest way to see this is to focus on a specific issue. For example, amid all the conservative hand-wringing is the occasional lament about Social Security privatization. But there's a simple explanation for the GOP's wobbliness on the issue: A solid majority of the country opposes it. According to a Washington Post poll from March of 2005, Americans disapproved of the president's Social Security plan by a 56-35 margin.

But the respondents didn't understand half of what the politicians were talking about, and the Democrats exploited this by lying through their teeth, saying the Trust Fund would not go bankrupt, that Bush's privatization plan would be forced on anyone instead of being entirely voluntary, that even though it was voluntary it would endanger the rest of the program ... all lies.

This sort of poll always underestimates how much people will be against a program when they actually see the bottom line for how it will affect them. That Washington Post poll did not mention the fact the Social Security program is estimated by the federal government to go broke around 2040 (meaning, specifically, that the Trust Fund will be empty, and the SS income will not be enough to continue paying the full benefits), and that at that point, everyone's taxes will have to go up (progressively more every year, without end) to cover the deficit. They just heard in the poll, "keep it the way it is, or not?" and said "keep it the way it is."

Democrats do this all the time. They just don't get that Americans don't want to spend the money (if it is their money, and for most of us, it is our money). And this is, again, why the Republicans screwed up: they gave us the benefits and cut taxes. Gave people both of what they wanted. But it can't last, and people finally caught on.

But by all means, those of you on the left, please keep believing that this election is a validation of your big-government views. PLEASE. I really do want you to act like it, and try to implement everything you believe in. Especially the parts that will cost taxpayers a lot more money. It will make my job as a Republican chairman so much easier.

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on November 10, 2006 10:11 PM.

GOP Future was the previous entry in this site.

Me on Spiegel, Malkin is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.