Conservatives ? Big Government Too



It has been clear for a while that the liberal-tarian alliance isn't going anywhere fast even though fantasies that some day, one day, it'll be fully consummated simply won't die down. But now Frank Luntz, the conservative pollster, has a piece in the Washington Post that suggests that the conserva-tarian alliance might be on its way to an annulment too. Luntz lists five myths about conservative voters, the top one being that they no longer – if they ever did—give a bird's do-do about small government. He notes:

They may have rallied around President Ronald Reagan's call for smaller government three decades ago — but it's not the 1980s anymore. Today, conservatives don't want a reduced government so much as one that works better and wastes less.

In a poll we completed among self-identified conservatives just before the 2010 elections, "efficient" and "effective" government clearly beat "less" and "smaller" government. For conservatives, this debate is less about size than about results, along with a demand that elected officials demonstrate accountability and respect for the taxpayer, regardless of whether they're spending $1 million or $1 trillion. They are rallying behind the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) not simply because it cuts the size of government, but because it cultivates accountability.

It used to be that conservatives supported smaller government on theoretical grounds: The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen; government should only do for people what they truly cannot do for themselves; government isn't the solution, it is the problem. You've heard such comments from conservatives, and they're the mantra of the tea party movement. They're still part of conservative orthodoxy — which is why Republican candidates invoke them — but the underlying conservative belief system is shifting.

In keeping with this sentiment, conservative voters don't want Big Government entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security dismantled. Writers Luntz:

Take Florida, a key swing state full of conservative seniors. According to an AARP poll there last year, 70 percent of them oppose cuts to Medicare. They want the program strengthened, not dismantled. They know Medicare needs reform, but they want changes to be effective and reasonable.

But if a decade of ruinous wars, kleptocratic bailouts, and profligate and useless economic stimulus packages by Big Government won't shake conservative faith in Big Government, then what will?

Maybe libertarians are just falling down on the job and can't find a way to effectively communicate the failures of Big Government. Or Americans have just become too fond of their EITC and Social Security checks to be seriously moved by cute Remy videos. In short, a la Greece, there are too many of us on the government dole and too few left to question it.

If there is a silver lining to Luntz' findings, it is that even though conservatives don't distrust Big Government, they still trust themselves more. Hence, when it comes to Medicare – the greatest entitlement program on the planet, they want patient-centric solutions to extend its solvency. He notes:

Conservatives believe in such simple principles as personal choice and greater competition, and they are more confident than liberals in people's ability to make the right decisions. For example, 78 percent agree with the statement: "Increasing patient choice in Medicare will help save Medicare from bankruptcy. When patients can shop for better care .?.?. it will force insurance companies to compete against each other, which lowers costs and increases care.

This is consistent with the finding of the recent Reason-Rupe poll that Americans want more control over their own health care dollars with 65% of them saying that Medicare should hand them the money that it currently spends on their behalf so that they can purchase their own private health plan, compared to 24 percent who don't.

NEXT: The White House Press Correspondents' Dinner Is About as Bad as You Think, Only a Little Bit Worse and a Little Bit More Fun

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  1. You mean there’s a large group of people which say one thing yet mean another?


        1. There’s a lot of ’em, Ryan. Some of them are called “Freepers”.

        2. “I know this book. Your conclusions were all wrong Ryan.”

  2. She’s a plant, right? A very, very stupid plant.

    1. I would hope no one is that stupid but the hands off my medicare types tend to be so.

    2. Agent Provocateur, no doubt.

      1. Could be a false flag… maybe an Occutard?

  3. You mean Frank Luntz?

    1. That’s better

  4. Incredible how these poll numbers are in accord with the Rovian BigGovBush!Bush! political philosophy Luntz espouses isn’t it?

    1. This face right here? *points*
      This is my “Shocked Face”

    2. So some supposedly conservative people took a multiple choice poll. They chose efficient and effective government over less and smaller government – either because they want efficient big government, or they simply don’t believe that the government will ever shrink.

      This, in turn, means that conservatives and libertarians can never get along?

  5. HAHAH That’s so true.

  6. Since when was Reagan for smaller government? He was just for lower taxes.

    Bill Clinton was the Small Gov president (meaning he actually cut federal spending).

    1. “he actually cut the growth in automatic spending increases”, you mean.

      Clinton = Reagan = Bush = the other Bush = Obama. They ALL suck.

      But you claim you only voted LP up until 2000, at which point you also claim you started voting Democrat.

      IF that’s true, at that point you sided with The Other Enemy of Freedom… Team Blue. You went from one frying pan to the other frying pan.

      Fuck you.

      1. And since when is your friend Obama for smaller government?

        1. To be fair, by “smaller goverment” they mean fewer people per civil servant, duh.

          1. Good call, Friend of Trousers.

      2. I voted anti-fascist in 2004. I didn’t like Kerry a bit and thought him a worthless sump who would just arrest the Neo-Nazi movement forming on the right.

        In retrospect I am glad Kerry lost.

        1. A vote is an expression of who you want FOR President, shrike. You have voted for Democrats for political power since 2000 – that’s all we needed to know.

        2. But if you stopped voting LP, you really didn’t vote anti-fascist.

          Why did you hate Kerry? You’re on his page, philosophically…

          1. He hated him so much, he voted for him for President! makes total sense!

          2. I predict he’ll start spewing the “wasted vote” BS any moment now.

            1. *I* hated Kerry AND Bush so much, I voted for Michael Badnarik.

              1. Last I checked, my ballot didn’t have a “tick here for Anti-Fascist Vote” section. Although now that I think of it, it probably should…

                1. The only way to vote against fascism, is to not vote Team Red/Team Blue.

                  1. There is an element of truth to that, I admit. I do it begrudgingly – not because of the truth in it but because of the rancid source.

                    1. Fuck off, Bitch Puddin’.

              2. I hated Kerry AND Bush AND Badnarik so much I didn’t vote in the 2004 general election.

                1. Wow… that’s severe. I could see not voting for, say, Bob Barr, but Badnarik was at least a Team Libertarian.

        3. Did you also vote for the censor music and games ticket of Gore/Lieberman? How are secular moralist any better than christfag moralist?

          1. They’re both bad, and evil.

  7. There is a fucking problem with your server/anti-bot bot, Reason. Next year I’ll designate my donation to buying some uprated software or hardware or something that – you know – WORKS or something.

    Fuck you.

    Good night.

    1. Everything is threaded comments’ fault.

  8. Yeah, I have no respect for anybody who votes the “anybody but _________” ticket. Fuck them in the asshole with a cat-o-nine-tails.

    If everybody in America voted for the candidate they wanted, we would probably have a half dozen national political parties, countless regional parties and a system much more representative of localities than the national parties. People like shrike (on either side of the aisle) perpetuate the flawed two-party system the rest of us are saddled with. He, and the rest of the sheep who vote according to party affiliation rather than for an individual are cunts that deserve nothing but derision. They are cowards.

    1. But even with a dozen parties, eventually you have to get down to 2 for President. So after the 2nd round, half the people are voting for the 2nd choice.

      1. That’s a great idea, sloop. Fuck those who bitch about “balkanization”… that’s EXACTLY what we need.

      2. No you don’t, Pants Fan. Ross Perot almost proved that. If he’d have been a more likable and/or personable guy, and if Stockdale hadn’t have gotten fucked over in the debate, we may well have found out what a third option could have done.

        I am just a firm believer in voting for who you want (or not voting out of principle), and damn everybody else. I really believe it’s what the founders would have done.*

        *And on that, if we had a winner gets the Presidency and runner-up gets the VP slot, I think we’d have many more options than what we have now. And better ones at that.

  9. Every time I hear about Frank Luntz and polling I think about Penn’s sage advice.
    “Fuck You Frank!”

  10. Shikha Dalmia loves big government. Does that make her a conservative or a liberal?

  11. “Strengthening” Medicare and Social Security by turning them into private accounts for younger people with (perhaps) some federal insurance for extreme cases could turn them in a more libertarian direction without freaking out the current beneficiaries or giving too much fodder for the statist scaremongers.

  12. Well, duh, because otherwise there really wouldn’t be a need for the Libertarian party, then.

    But still, which is better, those that know they should stop spending so much damn money but can’t (or won’t), or those that think they should spend more money (and do)?

    turns out we’re in worse shape than Greece, with health care playing a major part of course

    (but Greece can’t print Euros, ha)

    cybersecurity bills:

    “Four bills coming out of the House with strong majorities,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) said Friday. “I really think the burden is on the Senate to do something. They can do big bills, small bills, it really doesn’t matter. Just do something.”

    small effective government, bi-partisan style => leaner, meaner, more nimble Leviathan to respond at will

  14. Wow… this is surprising:…..?ref=media

    …surprising that Obama’s handlers would want insane blowhard Ed Schultz anywhere near their campaign ads.

    I wonder if Schultz threatened to torch the fuckin’ place, like he did a while back.

  15. But you claim you only voted LP up until 2000, at which point you also claim you started voting Democrat.

    IF that’s true, at that point you sided with The Other Enemy of Freedom… Team Blue. web design canada
    You went from one frying pan to the other frying pan website designers canada .

    1. Come on, at least TiggyFoo contributes something new to the discussion instead of simply plagiarizing someone else’s comment.

  16. Frank Luntz, the conservative pollster, has a piece in the Washington Post

    Can we have a link to the article, the original link is a link to this page!

  17. Is this photograph actually true? Was it actually taken with a conservative holding it? Or is it another Reason “fake but accurate” gimmick graphic?

    1. Googling “keep your hands off my medicare” produces immages and stories on several variants on this.

      If I had to speculate I’d say that some of them come from genuinely not knowing that “medicare” is a government program – possibly even confusing it with “healthcare” – while others are versions of the old “my social program is social justice, yours is government waste/socialism/etc.

      Whatever it is, I’m afraid my final conclusion is that, for this generation at least, the battle against big government is lost.

      1. As to the actual picture in this thread the signholder appears to be too young to be on Medicare.

        But the fact that it refers to “stealing from Medicare to support…” indicates that she knows Medicare is a govenment program. Why she thinks it, too, is not “socialized medicine” is anyone’s guess.

    2. Looking at the people behind her may help. My screen’s kind of small but the guy on her left kind of looks like Trotsky. Also, no doughy middle-agers, or gaudy patriotic crap anywhere that I can see. I’m guessing this one is in your “fake but accurate” category.

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