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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: Three Conservative Memes Unraveling

Three conservative memes are unraveling in the wake of the midterms – the notion that the public supports their rigid positions on the deficit, Bush’s tax cuts and DADT. As Ruy Teixeira explains in his November 22 ‘Public Opinion Snapshot‘:

On the deficit, conservatives are promoting the idea that immediate drastic action must be taken to shrink government spending and reduce the deficit despite the current economic situation. They are aided and abetted by a chorus from the mainstream media and professional budget scolds. Indeed, to listen to the rising tide of deficit mania you’d think nothing was more important than rapid action on this front.
But that’s not how the public sees it. Fifty-six percent of respondents in a recent CBS News poll said they wanted the new Congress to concentrate first on jobs and the economy. Fourteen percent said health care, and a whopping 4 percent said the budget deficit or the national debt.

On W’s tax cuts:

On the Bush tax cuts, conservatives claim that preserving the tax cuts for the rich is a matter of grave national importance that must not be separated from preserving the middle-class tax cuts. Once again, the public’s view is far from that of conservatives. Sixty-four percent of respondents in a recent CNN poll either want to keep only the tax cuts that apply to families earning under $250,000 a year (49 percent) or think all the tax cuts should be eliminated. Just 35 percent endorse the idea that all the tax cuts should continue regardless of how wealthy families are.

Regarding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:”

Finally, conservatives are putting up a last-ditch effort to stop the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which currently prevents gays from serving openly in the armed forces. They may be worried about this change, but the public isn’t. In the same CNN poll just referenced an overwhelming 72 percent favored permitting gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military compared to only 23 percent who were opposed.

So much for the GOP’s midterm mandate regarding three major issues of 2010. Less than a month after the Republicans’ midterm victory, their triumphalist masquerade looks a lot like a farce. As Teixeira puts it to the conservatives: “…You say you want to represent the will of the American people with your newly won power in Congress. Why don’t you start by actually listening to them?”

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