Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania’s most recent Republican challenger to RINO Arlen Specter, comments on a study by his Club For Growth that shows voters in 12 contested counties nationwide prefer smaller government. 11 of these 12 tossed their Republican congressional representative on Tuesday.
Toomey warns that Democrats shouldn’t see these gains as a mandate for big government. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Although these voters were either too dim or too caught up in emotion to realize it, the voting booth has no way to know their actual opinion on issues. It only records the candidate for whom they cast their vote. They voted carte blanche for President-Elect Government to do whatever he wants.
Consider the most salient aspects of Mr. Obama’s economic agenda: the redistribution of wealth through higher taxes on America’s top earners; the revival of the death tax; raising the tax on capital gains and dividend income; increased government spending; increased government involvement in the housing crisis; a restriction on offshore drilling and oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); and “card check” legislation stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot in union elections.
On each of these issues, swing voters stand starkly against Mr. Obama. According to the Club’s poll, 73% of voters prefer the federal government to focus on “creating economic conditions that give all people opportunities to create wealth through their own efforts” over “spreading wealth from higher income people to middle and lower income people.” Two-thirds of respondents prefer to see the permanent elimination of the death tax, and 65% prefer to keep capital gains and dividend tax rates at their current lows.
When it comes to government spending, voters in these swing districts are fed up with the explosion of government under Republicans, and are no more inclined to swallow further spending increases from the Democrats. Over half of respondents think more than a quarter of federal spending in Washington is “wasteful,” and 66% prefer candidates “who want to reduce overall federal spending, even if that includes cutting some money that would come” to their own districts.
I agree with Toomey that Republicans should use this information to shape their agenda and message going forward. Considering how the wild spending continued after 2006′s rout and how message conservatives were given short shrift during the Presidential nominating process, however, I hold out very little hope that they’re going to get that message. Increasingly, it seems Republicans are going to have to rebuild from a grassroots level rather than relying on the party structure to apply the lessons learned here.
Mr. Obama is not the only person who should take notice of this poll. These numbers carry a powerful message for Republicans too. In the coming days you will hear many a pundit read the conservative movement’s obituary. But voters have not rejected conservative ideals; they are disgusted with Republican politicians who govern like liberals.
I wish the study had some information on illegal immigration, a traditionally winning issue Republicans took off the table by nominating John McCain.
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TaggedConservatism, Republican Party
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