Nick Forte has some good news in the struggle for ideas in the USA
The advocates for smaller government appear to be winning the war of ideas on this side of the pond if the following Rasmussen poll is accurate. For a long time I believed this to be the case, but I was surprised by the margin shown in the poll.
February 16, 2004–Sixty-four percent (64%) of American voters say that they prefer smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 22% would rather see a more active government with more services and higher taxes.
What is even more amazing is that even a majority of Democrats hold this view. Only the extreme left prefer more government over less government, and even then by not as large of a margin as one might have guessed.
Support for smaller government cuts across just about all demographic lines . It is the preference for 67% of men and 62% of…
… group, 49% say they want a more active government with more services and higher taxes. Just 40% prefer smaller government
It will be interesting to see how this will affect US politics. So far, President Bush has not been able to capitalize on what should be a Republican issue because he has been seen (accurately) as big spender despite his tax cuts. Somewhat counter-intuitively, an earlier Rasmussen poll shows that more Americans voters view the front running liberal New England Democratic presidential candidate as better able to control spending than the purportedly conservative Texan Republican candidate (42% to 33%).
There is indeed growing discontent among conservatives over Bush’s spending record. Last week, House Republicans held a ‘mandatory’ conference to come up with ideas to curtail runaway government spending. Among the more radical initiatives under discussion are measures to curb the power of House authorizers and appropriators who have routinely ignored budget limits, giving the budget resolution the force of law, and requiring two-thirds supermajorities in both the House and the Senate to pass spending provisions which exceed the budget.
Although some Republican members of Congress are true believers in the need to reduce the size of government, many more are probably reacting to concerns that Americans are turning to the Democrats as the party of fiscal responsibility, undercutting a traditional GOP advantage. Could it be that political pressures for lower spending has finally overtaken the normal election year drive by politicians to buy more votes through higher government spending? Recent actions by Congress suggest not, but I remain cautiously optimistic.
Falls Church, Virginia