Having sold itself in 2010 as the uncompromising champion of Tea Party-fueled fiscal austerity, the enhanced G.O.P. caucus arrived in Washington in 2011 to discover that most Americans prefer compromise to confrontation and favor balanced budgets in name only.
A CNN poll this month found that just one American in five regards deficit reduction as pressing enough to justify cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Only one in four would choose balancing the budget if it meant reducing education programs. Indeed, a new Gallup poll reveals that there’s exactly one category of government spending that a majority of voters favors slicing — foreign aid (which amounts to some 1 percent of the budget). Incredible as it sounds, even current government outlays to science, the arts, farmers and antipoverty programs still enjoy 50 percent-plus support.
I’m wondering why liberals weren’t able to figure out this obvious truth until after the election.