The Democrats’ cynical gamble now looks about as smart as betting on Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. The gamble was despite voters saying they want to reduce the deficit, when push comes to shove they will vote out the politicians who made the cuts.
Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent explained the rationale in a recent post ,
Don’t look now, but there are increasing signs that Democrats are adopting a surprisingly aggressive and unapologetic posture in the looming political battle with Republicans over government spending. Rather than running from the issue . . . they are treating this as an argument that can be turned to their advantage, if it’s framed in the right way.
A Democratic strategist familiar with ongoing discussions says Dems have been encouraged by recent polling on these questions. While polls undoubtedly show that the public supports reducing government spending in general, Gallup recently found that sizable majorities oppose cuts to education, funding for the arts and sciences, Social Security and Medicare.
Democrats’ move is cynical because it is pure election politics, completely ignoring the budgetary realities that threaten to push us towards insolvency. It is a strategy based in short term success for the Democratic Party, even if it meant long term disaster for the nation as a whole.
As it turns out, gambling against Americans is a bad idea. It is no doubt true that Americans love many of the programs government funding supports. Older voters will fiercely defend Social Security, young adults want to maintain public subsidies for higher education, and everyone in between has likes something or another funded by the government. But that doesn’t mean we as a society do not understand that our government cannot continue to live beyond its means.
The latest proof comes from who else, the king of in-your-face budget cutters, Chris Christie. A Quinnipiac University poll out today finds that 52 percent of New Jersey voters saying they approve of governor Christie. That’s up 6 points since December. Eight in ten Republicans, and more importantly, 55 percent of independents approve of the job Christie has done.
“Deep cuts in public budgets and a popular governor don’t usually go together,” said Peter Woolley , a Fairleigh Dickinson professor who has also polled New Jersey.
Woolley was right. That’s just what Democrats were gambling on. But things have changed. Our nation’s dire fiscal straits have reframed the debate. Voters understand that we cannot remain on our current spending path and that we have a choice to make – more taxes or less government. Regardless of what choice they make voters are increasingly rewarding politicians who engage in the debate rather than continue on with their head in the sand.
Democrat’s had better adjust their strategy. Any more gambles like this and they will soon find their party has gone belly up.
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee