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HonestChieffan
01-22-2010, 10:30 AM
Harsanyi: The problem is the idea

By David Harsanyi
Posted: 01/20/2010 01:00:00 AM MST


Generally speaking, would you favor smaller government with fewer services, or larger government with more services?

Fifty-eight percent of those polled by The Washington Post recently claimed they preferred smaller government with fewer services, with only 38 percent favoring a larger government with more services (and, yes, it is a terrific struggle not to place ironic quotations marks around the word services).

This is the highest number for the "smaller government" category since 2002. And a full year into President Barack Obama's term, most polls, and state elections, tell us that the electorate is walking maybe sprinting? back from the progressive economic policies that now dominate Washington.

Some Democrats believed grousing about (the fully imagined) wild and unregulated days of the Bush years would be sufficient to pass sweeping top-down economic controls. Yet, for all the presidential election-time happy talk, Americans have this sturdy historic aversion to "fundamental" reorganizations of their society.

Still other Democrats convinced themselves that surging opposition to their big plans was fabricated, paid for by insurance companies or oil companies or some other reprehensible profit-motivated bogeyman they'd conjured up. They overestimated their mandate and underestimated the electorate.

Many more Democrats continue to persuade themselves that the party's problem is flawed candidates or poorly communicated messages, as White House spokesman Robert Gibbs conceded this week because, presumably, the idea of socializing medicine is too nuanced and intellectually rigorous for the average voter to digest.

Hardly. The predicament Democrats face is the opposite. Too many voters appreciate exactly what health care legislation entails.

This is why Congress conducts clandestine negotiations on legislation and trashes promises of transparency. This is why leading Democrats have embraced procedural tricks and senatorial bribery and now the possibility of "reconciliation," so they can adjust health care reform and pass it with a 51-vote majority. You're gonna get it whether you want it or not.

That's what happens when these Democrats lose a debate. According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 33 percent believe the health reform effort is a "good" idea, while 46 percent consider it a "bad" idea with 55 percent disapproving of Obama on health care.

What's most striking about this poll is that opposition to Obama's plan has increased 20 percentage points since April coinciding, not surprisingly, with the president's big push to convince us that it's needed. The more people learn, apparently, the less they like.

Now, I am under no grand illusions about democracy. The electorate can be mercurial and irrational as nearly every election proves. Nor do I believe any ethical politician should abandon his or her core values simply because polls tell them it would be expedient.

I say, keep fighting, Mr. President. Those of us who believe in capitalism need you.

But, the fact is, we have one party controlling both houses of Congress with historically impressive margins. We have an opposition political party Americans have lost confidence in. We have endured a frightening downturn that allowed the far left to advance a menu of stunning regulatory intrusions that would normally be non-starters.

Finally, we have a charismatic and articulate president who, armed with near-national landslide, was given the stage to make his pitch on health care reform.

If, with all that, the progressives could not convince voters that the central cause of their movement was necessary, then it is not a messaging problem, it is not a leadership problem, it is not a Republican problem, it is an idea problem a terrible idea problem.



Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/harsanyi/ci_14224746#ixzz0dMaYQiIQ

RJ
01-22-2010, 10:55 AM
I think most people favor smaller government but don't favor giving up anything that benefits them personally.

Hydrae
01-22-2010, 10:55 AM
All day long and twice on Sunday!

patteeu
01-22-2010, 11:36 AM
I think most people favor smaller government but don't favor giving up anything that benefits them personally.

This is the central challenge of American politics, IMO.

FishingRod
01-22-2010, 12:58 PM
I think most people favor smaller government but don't favor giving up anything that benefits them personally.

Right on the Money so to speak. Most everyone thinks they should get stuff. Some other rich guy should pay for it because he doesn't need all that money or some lazy bum should quit sucking all the money out of the government teat so there is money left for me.

Taco John
01-22-2010, 01:00 PM
This is the central challenge of American politics, IMO.


And the central challenge of the libertarians.

patteeu
01-22-2010, 01:13 PM
And the central challenge of the libertarians.

Yes, of course. Libertarians have to confront the fact that people generally don't want to give up the benefits they (or their loved ones) get (or might someday get) from government just as Socialists have to confront the fact that people generally don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry to get a bunch of benefits that they don't personally want themselves.

Baconeater
01-22-2010, 01:24 PM
Other than building roads and providing a judicial system and military to protect me, I can't think of a single thing that the gov't does that benefits me.

Amnorix
01-22-2010, 01:42 PM
I think most people favor smaller government but don't favor giving up anything that benefits them personally.

QFT.

MarcBulger
01-22-2010, 03:15 PM
Except for the regulation of commerce that cross the borders of each state and the protection of borders the Fed Govt should not do anything else.

Instead of sending 80% of my taxes to the Feds and 20% to the State is should be the exact opposite. Then my friends we would have or control over our Govt....

The Mad Crapper
01-22-2010, 03:59 PM
I'm trying to see where the federal government is doing anything for me right now. Seriously. Right now, I can walk a few blocks to the avenue and with a blind fold on touch an illegal alien in any direction.

KCTitus
01-22-2010, 05:06 PM
60% support smaller government...it's in black and white. That is the winning solution

Cannot disagree that many in the public talk a good game but when govt starts to shut of the spigot they squeal like stuck pigs. So be it. If we really want to get out of this hole, it's got to happen.

Im in...this country is too important.

BucEyedPea
01-22-2010, 05:07 PM
I think most people favor smaller government but don't favor giving up anything that benefits them personally.

ROFL sad but true. This is how the welfare-state corrupts the people.

HonestChieffan
01-22-2010, 05:13 PM
Livin on UNcle Sams Plantation