By Cheri Jacobus - 03/10/11 11:01 PM EST
“Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments. When governments are generous it is with other people’s money, other people’s safety, other people’s future.”
— P.D. James, The Children of Men
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) employed the oldest trick in the book in attempting to bully Republicans into joining Democrats in spending other people’s money, decimating other people’s financial security and impairing future generations’ ability to achieve the American Dream. Reid’s latest (failed) attempt at hyperbolic budgetary politics was, thankfully, weak rhetoric that appeared to be written by an eighth-grader. According to Reid, the proposed GOP budget cuts totaling $57 billion ($50.8 billion more than the paltry $6.2 billion proposed by Democrats) will hurt “little children,” and “poor little boys and girls” will suffer — in addition to the hardship imposed on cowboy poets in his home state of Nevada if American taxpayers discontinued funding their annual festival. He forgot to mention the helpless kittens, puppies and bunny rabbits he would have us believe the GOP is also desperately committed to destroying, along with Mom and apple pie.
So why the faux naïveté on the part of the Democrats in Washington? If Democrats care about the next generation so much, why are they not fighting tooth and nail to clean up the budgets, cut spending and tackle the deficit and debt?
The answer is quite simple. Democrat leaders know on which side their bread is buttered. They don’t answer to children, cowboy poets and kittens, but rather to a far more sinister group. By creating, feeding and growing their coalition of victims and political opportunists who rely on Washington’s ability and willingness to feed the beast, their voter base is preserved in a perpetual state of government dependency and entitlement.
The new Bloomberg poll this week indicates seven out of 10 independents want Washington to compromise on the budget, and 77 percent of all respondents understand cuts are necessary. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Obama’s support among independents hemorrhaging, with only 37 percent backing, down from 47 percent in February. That he would tout a measly $10.5 billion in cuts compared to the $61 billion Republicans want as a “compromise,” thumbing his nose at fiscal realities and disregarding what independents want (without whose support his 2012 reelection chances are jeopardized), further points to his allegiance to those who benefit and prosper from a bloated government, budget deficits and national debt.
The trick for Democrats is to try to get those independents to be dependent on government and join the coalition, since growing that coalition is their best and perhaps their only option. Fat chance. Independents fled from the Democrats in November’s elections, supporting Republicans with a fiscally conservative agenda.
But with that same Reuters/Ipsos poll showing 64 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, Democrats need to cynically convince voters that government — and lots of it — is their saving grace. By demonizing those who have managed to achieve a degree of success despite the heavy hand of government, Democrats seem fully engaged in efforts to Robin-Hood their way to a 2012 victory, rather than working with Republicans to make the hard choices that will help put the country back on track.
But jobs are still the key issue for voters, and from where I sit, it would appear the Democrats would rather gain electoral support by “inventing” government jobs funded by taxpayers than allow the private sector to create real jobs under Republican pro-growth policies of lower taxes and less regulation. If President Obama and congressional Democrats have their way, the era of bigger government is only in its infancy.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.