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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak at a news conference about the U.S. debt ceiling crisis at the U.S. Capitol in Washington July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  
They don't believe their own bullshit.
From Politico's Playbook email newsletter:
--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?

Government should do more to solve problems: 43

Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals 51

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Didnt exit polls also show support (23+ / 0-)

    for letting Bush tax breaks for those making more than 250k expire?

  •  I'd like a smaller investment in (21+ / 0-)

    Weapons of mass destruction, war and the military.   I don't think they realize that's also a small government position.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:36:09 PM PST

  •  I want TSA out of my shorts (18+ / 0-)

    That does not mean I want Medicare cut.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:36:24 PM PST

  •  And Americans by god didn't want (18+ / 0-)

    Big Bird to lose his job!
    Republicans don't want to cut social security and Medicare, republicans want DEMOCRATS to cut social security and Medicare!

    •  exactly what I was thinking. Romney's one (9+ / 0-)

      specific, cutting Big Bird, was wildly unpopular. Markos is exactly on target about people hating it when programs they like and/or depend on are cut, no matter what they say about smaller government.
      I got into an argument with a businessman (father of a babysitter) who was a regular listener to Limbaugh (sorry sorry) who was going on and on about how we need to cut entitlements. So I asked him which entitlements: Social Security -- no no -- he didn't want that cut. How about Medicare -- absolutely not! At first he was all big on cutting Medicaid until I pointed out that meant elderly people in nursing homes (just tell a middle-class middle-aged person that the cuts to Medicaid will mean they might have to care for an elderly relative in their home and they get pretty upset).
      When tea party types or even more reasonable but self-described conservative people think about cutting "entitlements," they're all for it. But when you break those entitlements down to the specific programs, they don't want them cut at all.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:02:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like a smaller government. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conniptionfit, TDDVandy, eps62, raincrow, Smoh

    Reduce the size of the Republican contingent and I'll be a happy camper.  I think if we get rid of Orangemen and Turtlemen and that one Housekeeping Woman, we'd be on the track to wealth and prosperity.

    "Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." -Shel Silverstein

    by klnb1019 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:41:57 PM PST

  •  rates vs. preferences (13+ / 0-)

    Important to note here, the lobbyist class understands that favorable tax treatment of investment is far more important for the 1% than marginal tax rates. Rich people don't earn wages, so the entire tax rate for wages debate is a bit of a distraction. They'll be laughing all the way to their bank if they can keep carried interest and cap gains rates low.

    •  This! (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OffTheHill, aisb23, DSPS owl, eps62, Smoh

      Carried interest and capital gains are where the real money is.  The whole outcry over marginal tax rates is just so much " Don't throw me in that briar patch, Bre'r Bear!"   The longer they keep everyone's attention on marginal tax rates, the longer it will be before anyone can get to demanding that Cap Gains and Carried Interest be taxed the same as earned income.

    •  I want capital gains in the mix for getting the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, Little Flower, eps62, Smoh

      rates raised. There is no reason that people who have income from capital gains should get better treatment than people whose income is from wages. Roll it all together into one income and tax people on the combined amount.
      People who have some capital gains but not much and whose incomes are modest would end up paying less on the capital gains than those people, like Romney, who have huge incomes much of which is from capital gains. And that's as it should be.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:11:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But I can see allowing a certain amount (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Of cap gains to be excluded. Maybe a few thousand. It would encourage investment by middle income people. Those who have a small amount they can play with, or who get small stock options, wouldn't have to worry about getting zapped at the end of the year.

        But after you subtract that amount, the rest gets taxed like any other income.

      •  Capital Gains... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, eps62, Smoh

        from raiding a pension fund -- like Romney and the vulture capitalists were wont to do -- should be taxed at 100%, since the pensioners who were robbed will have to rely on the federal government for less than 60% of what they had before they were raided.  The IRS and Department of Justice can coordinate to determine who did the raiding.  Maybe we should make raiding a company's pension fund for private gain a capital offense.

        •  new kind of "capital" gains -- we gain by making (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          pension fund theft a capital crime! (actually, I'm against capital punishment, but I like your humor).

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:17:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  They didn't care about deficits under Bush (7+ / 0-)

    As a young adult, I was so angry watching them run up a huge credit card bill with wars and tax cuts for the rich, leaving my generation to pay it off with interest.

    Now I am conflicted, because I am concerned about the size of the debt, but I also believe the president's efforts to stimulate the economy were necessary. But we would not be in this situation if Bush and the Republicans had not run up such a huge debt and squandered the surplus they inherited from Clinton.

    •  The deficit is not a problem in the short (7+ / 0-)

      To medium term.  Bring on more stimulus, get people working at living wages again, and THEN deal with the deficit.  Most of the deficit would be paid for with the income taxes of more people working at living wages.

    •  Don't fret the debt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, DSPS owl, raincrow, Smoh

      Its not the best option, but honestly, the size of our debt is not important. It will shrink, as a proportion of GDP (which is the important part) through economic growth and inflation. Long-term deficits are more important, but large short-term deficits to increase aggregate demand are OK if invested in economic growth. All that as long as you trust Krugman. Drop the austerity bomb in the boom times by taxing the rich and letting high employment and living wages reduce the burden of social programs. Invest surpluses in education and infrastructure. We've done it before.

      •  What bothers me about the debt (0+ / 0-)

        Is that the bigger it is, a larger portion of our tax dollars have to go to debt service and that's less money we have for worthwhile programs. And it sometimes feels like around here, there are people who don't care what kind of debt they leave the next generation with as long as they get their benefits that they are entitled to.

        I agree with you that now is not the time for austerity, but I am concerned that every dollar we borrow now is probably $1.50 that we don't have to spend in the future.

    •  Well... yeah... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eps62, democrattotheend

      That was the whole goal, after all.  Bleed the federal government dry through tax cuts (while simultaneously telling the tinfoil-hat crowd that tax cuts increase revenue by stimulating the economy), then whine about deficits once a Democrat is in office and try to cut spending.

      28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:18:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They're not even telling their staff how they want (9+ / 0-)

    to vote on the fiscal cliff. Yes, it's early but I called my congressmen today. I say plural because one expires on 12/31/12. I live in an Illinois CD that will switch over to a different district come New Years.

    Today I decided to call the one who's going away as well as the one we're getting. I asked their staff where they sit in reference to making the tax cuts on the middle class permanent while raising those of the 2%.

    In both instances, the staff members hemmed and hawed. One said he had a statement from his boss somewhere but was unable to find it. After being put on hold, he came back to say that the congressman actually did not have a position at this point. The second call yielded the same final answer.

    Oh, did I memtion that these bozos were Republicans? Yes, they don't want us to know where they stand on the issues. So  it's time to force them to stand. Hopefully Pelosi will force a vote on the middle class tax cuts with the petition. That will put the pugs on their back foot before Barack hits them with the combo!

    While not all republicans are bigots, all bigots are republicans.

    by Maximilien Robespierre on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:46:21 PM PST

  •  Yes Kos, the crux of the matter (6+ / 0-)

    Why are we engaging in an argument that says government is bad...spending is bad?

    Federal Spending Target of 21 Percent of GDP Not Appropriate Benchmark for Deficit-Reduction Efforts from our Democratic centrists

    The whole argument's foundation, which even Warren Buffet alluded to is that too many including Bowles have a battub concept about Federal spending-- treating spending as if it's a piranha. Limiting spending to a percentage of GNP is straight out of a Grover Norquist's playbook and too many accept the meme.

    It's nonsense, we need efficient programs and a stimulus.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:48:26 PM PST

  •  Muppet McConnell looks more like a puppet than (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conniptionfit, raincrow

    he normally does in the picture.

    Follow me on Twitter! @guileofthegods

    by Guile Of The Gods on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:51:36 PM PST

  •  Whenever the "Private Sector" can fix poverty (8+ / 0-)

    let me know.

    American voters rarely understand what our government spends money on.

    The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

    by freelunch on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:53:29 PM PST

  •  Republicans are FRAUDS, plain and simple. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings, raincrow, eps62

    Vampires, when exposed to sunlight, tend to disintegrate.

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:53:38 PM PST

  •  Mr. Obama needs to put a stake in the ground. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, DSPS owl, eps62

    If the Republicans want to prevent us going over the cliff, they can pass the Senate bill in the House, keeping the middle class from having a tax increase.

    Should they choose not grab the stake and take the country off the cliff, it should be clear that it is Congress and not the President that needs to act.  Boehner needs to pass a bill that will pass the Senate or else accept a bill that has passed the Senate.

    The President can do nothing if Congress doesn't act.  They passed the Sequester.  It is their legislation and they need to fix it.

    Dr. Obama ought to say "Take two bills and swallow.  See me in the morning."

    Mitt Romney's moral compass points to the Cayman Islands.

    by captainlaser on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:57:24 PM PST

  •  That may be true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings, raincrow, eps62

    but here is what CNN is telling the public:

    Washington (CNN) -- Negotiations on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff got a jump-start on Monday with House Republicans offering a counter-proposal to President Barack Obama, but continuing to reject his call for higher tax rates on the wealthy.
    The GOP proposal would result in $2.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade, including $800 billion from tax reform, $600 billion from Medicare reforms and other health savings, and $600 billion in other spending cuts, House GOP leadership aides told reporters.
    So the MSM spin is that indeed the House Repubs are coming back with a plan that has details in it. Crap details, of course, but details nevertheless, although 800 + 600 + 600 = 2000 not 2200. So where is the other $200 billion coming from. Maybe some more details are in order.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:58:55 PM PST

    •  And where are the spending cuts coming from? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      No details from the Republicans.  They know this will go nowhere.

      They up your eligibility date for Medicare and Social Security.  They say they are cutting tax benefits?  Where?  Getting rid of the mortgage deduction? Capping your deduction limit?

      Smoke and mirrors.

      Mitt Romney's moral compass points to the Cayman Islands.

      by captainlaser on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:02:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Smoke and mirrors work surprisingly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        well with a gullible audience sometimes. I guess we have to see whether the public is that gullible.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:01:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I want a better functioning gov't (5+ / 0-)

    I want them to shut the fuck up and do the job the MAJORITY of Americans want done. Tax the damned wealthy, keep the programs that help Americans intact. Cut defense spending but by God, take better care of our active and retired service-members. Spend more on the failing infrastructure and there will be a helluva lot more jobs when that happens.

    Smaller government - bull shit - how about a better functioning government. Damn the Republicans who continue to let big corp and big money squeeze their asses from their back pockets.  

    I feel better.  

  •  Lets move the party forward on this 8 step plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Icicle68, smiley7

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:03:30 PM PST

  •  I'm still trying to figure out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    if big bird gets to stay once the red states finish seceding from the country.

  •  If the right hadn't demonized "Big Government" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe B, TDDVandy, smiley7, mightymouse, eps62

    for the last fifty years and hadn't tried to destroy everything in the New Deal, there would be tons more support for government than there is now.

    I'm one of the 47%. I'm going to the VA tomorrow for a checkup. I get a social security check. I went back to college on the G.I. Bill. Big Government? FUCK YEAH.

    "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan." --Joel McCrea as "Sully," in "Sullivan's Travels."

    by Wildthumb on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:05:02 PM PST

  •  GOPer don't care what Americans want (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy, Dogs are fuzzy, eps62

    At least not most Americans want.

    All this fiscal screwing around and crisis creation is going towards trying to implement the Republic of Ayn Randistan.

    Blow the government up financially, so we end up with no social security, no medicare, no medicaid, and no social safety net whatsover.

    If they lose a few elections after that, who cares, because their main goal will be achieved. Most of the teabag sleazoids in the House are in safe seats anyway. They presumably believe that they'll survive the resulting economic consequences.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:05:36 PM PST

  •  The question itself is badly worded (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The two options aren't even mutually exclusive.  How about, "Government should do less to solve problems" or "Government should do more to solve problems."?

    I think given that choice you'd get a much more realistic answer.  I know, from my point of view, I want to answer "yes" to both choices.  

  •  The two biggest areas of spending (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy, DSPS owl, eps62

    that people I talk to who aren't politically sophisticated want cut, is welfare and foreign aid. They seem to believe that we're spending gazillions on lazyass welfare cheats who stay at home all day spending their checks, despite being fairly well-off, by illegally transferring their assets to relatives. And they're not necessarily claiming that it's the usual target of such accusations, African-Americans, but other ethnic groups, such as Latino, Russian and Eastern European immigrants.

    They also seem to believe that we're spending vast sums to help poor people in foreign countries, that should be spent at home.

    However, recently I've also been hearing more complaints about how rich people's and corporations' taxes are too low, so perhaps the tide really is turning.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:08:51 PM PST

    •  Do they want people to actually starve? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, smiley7, eps62

      As a Swede I cannot understand Americans who want even less spending than what you already have.

      Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

      by Joe B on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:15:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The assumption among people I know who say this (0+ / 0-)

        is that the recipients are lazy and dishonest, either working and/or with assets and not reporting it, or capable of working and finding a job but choosing not to. So technically, according to their viewpoint, they're not being mean to poor and desperate people, but to lazy cheats. I'm not condoning or agreeing with them, mind you, just saying the sorts of things I hear beyond the blogosphere--where most people live. It's important to remember that not everyone is as plugged in as most folks here and there's still a lot of misinformation out there.

        Btw I don't doubt that there's cheating and fraud, but I'm sure that it's a fairly small part of the system. Most people don't want to be on aid if they can help it.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:14:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Norquist-sized bathtub (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, eps62

    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.

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:11:27 PM PST

  •  Scary how ideology is speaking through people (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, DSPS owl, smiley7

    They don't know what they really think about an issue but only repeat talking points served by their corporate overlords.

    "Government bad, my Medicare good".

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:12:28 PM PST

  •  Some people do want smaller government... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings, eps62

    for others. Ask them about the services that they need or use.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:14:50 PM PST

  •  Pretty much. (0+ / 0-)

    The GOP's economic agenda is far less popular than they think, which is why the "ditch the social issues" crowd is dead wrong (Republican stances on social issues actually being more popular than they think.)

    When it comes to real, tangible government spending (as opposed to the Big Government Boogeyman), people like it, especially when it's money spent on them or things they care about.  (Although a lot of people do hate government spending when it's strictly going to other people.)

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:14:51 PM PST

  •  Americans DO want smaller government. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, Thomas Twinnings, eps62

    Until you ask them exactly which parts.

    We will all vote for cutting anything we don't understand.  Bureau of Land Management?  I haven't a clue what they do - slash away.  Labor statistics?  Who needs those?  And the IRS, well, everybody hates the IRS.

    But we don't all agree which parts those are.  And when we discover what the repercussions are, we aren't happy.  We all want clean food and clean water.  We want educated children and bridges that don't fall down.  We want accurate weather reports, and financial forecasts that aren't for sale to the highest bidder.

    But if I don't understand it, then by all means chop it.  That should reduce the deficit by at least...  oh...  2%?

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:25:55 PM PST

  •  Small government kills business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you build actual things, you have to have infrastructure, property rights protection, trade policies and enforcement structures, government investment, regulation, etc., etc., etc. -- the fruits of big-enough government -- to pull it off.

    The Teahadists utterly and spectacularly failed to deliver on November 6th, and Big Money is going to have to change dance partners if they want to regain clout.


    by raincrow on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:39:04 PM PST

  •  even on that abstract... (0+ / 0-)

    question, if you break it down by age, more younger voters think the government should do more than not...

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:29:26 PM PST

  •  My God the GOP is SOOOOOOOO STUPID!!!! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Well behaved women rarely make history.

    by IamNotaKochsucker on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:30:04 PM PST

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