--A top Republican emails: “K Street prefers [giving on] rates to preferences. But Republican political operatives -- campaign people -- DO NOT see going over as bad politics. Their view is that Rs win a fight over the President's unwillingness to reform entitlements in a meaningful way. Their evidence is exit polling showing a preference for smaller government. Your point is not wrong: There some cracks. But they are relatively minor. The foundation remains solid.”Wow, they're trying to use the exit polls from their blowout losses this year to justify their demands for more meaningful cuts in entitlements? They're still pretending they won something on Nov. 6! Here's the exit poll question conservatives are using to justify his rationalization:
Which is closer to your view?Yes, in the abstract, people think the government does too much. Problem is, Republicans know that this is genuinely abstract. Ask Republicans to propose concrete spending cuts, you know, to have government do less, and they blanch at the idea. There was a reason Republicans relentlessly attacked President Barack Obama on his "$700 billion cut to Medicare." People always think government can be cut, but ask them about specific spending cuts and they change their tune something fierce.
Government should do more to solve problems: 43
Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals 51
In fact, in the only two other questions dealing with specific federal spending in the exit polls, voters approved of Obama on Medicare (despite the GOP's $700 billion lie), and 64 percent considered Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy a factor in their decision (which Obama won 62-36). Not a lot of people sat around complaining that government was doing too much to help the victims of Sandy, and that businesses and individuals should've handled the response instead.
As Paul Krugman writes:
While there has been a lot of bluster from the G.O.P. about how we should reduce the deficit with spending cuts, not tax increases, no leading figures on the Republican side have been able or willing to specify what, exactly, they want to cut.Republicans may claim that Americans want smaller government, but they know full well it's all bullshit. That's why Mitt Romney couldn't name much in the way of things he'd cut beyond Sesame Street—a pathetic song and dance that continues to this very day.
And there’s a reason for this reticence. The fact is that Republican posturing on the deficit has always been a con game, a play on the innumeracy of voters and reporters. Now Mr. Obama has demanded that the G.O.P. put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble.