People tend to not like being lied to, over and over
On Tuesday, Politico reported what the House GOP sees as their secret weapon in winning the political battle over the sequester: Their unpopularity.
“And, for once, the GOP is buffeted by its unpopularity: House Republicans kept their majority with mid-teen approval ratings after two years of political warfare,” Jake Sherman wrote. “They aren’t spooked that their numbers will move any lower.”
Republicans have put off their investigation into why they’re so unlikable and decided to take their unpopularity for a spin by embracing a policy Americans won’t like and refusing a compromise 76 percent of Americans say they want.
They’re prepared to sabotage the economy because they think the debt is too high — even though the deficit is rapidly shrinking — but they won’t do the basic thing we need to do to get control of the debt: Get rid of tax loopholes. Republicans have said that will not happen — not in a box, not even if Fox goes off the air.
New revenue is necessary for two reasons. The first is political. Democrats can’t agree to cuts unless the billions in tax breaks given to hedge fund managers, big oil and corporations are dealt with first. The second is mathematical. Ending tax breaks for those who can afford to see them end does the least damage to the economy. And raising taxes is the only way to get back to the nearly balanced budgets we had circa 2000.
It would be better to wait to solve our deficit until we fix our economy. But the GOP says we can’t wait because look at this giant debt clock we discovered when President Obama became president!
As Slate‘s Dave Weigel wrote, “The idea that you can be a deficit hawk while ruling out any tax increase, ever, is politically and mathematically untenable.”
And that’s exactly why Americans are increasingly sick of Republicans. The hypocrisy.
You can’t say you care about the debt after blowing the surplus and swearing to all-powerful Grover that you’ll never raise taxes.
You can’t say you’re for a smaller government and then use the government to decide how many forced ultrasounds a woman has to endure to make a medical choice.
You can’t say you’re for fiscal discipline and let Mitt Romney pay a lower tax rate than most nurses.
You can’t say you’re for families and stop millions of Americans from getting the same access to marriage that you have.
You can’t accuse groups that don’t exist of stealing elections and then spend millions making it difficult for anyone but rich, white men to vote.
You can’t say you love America and be unable to contain your hatred for the President, the First Lady and anyone who doesn’t vote Republicans.
People may not know President Obama has cut the deficit each year he’s been in office or that Ronald Reagan actually socialized medicine. But they get it when they’re being treated like a fool. And there is no messaging, no rebranding that will make that okay with most people.
So if unpopularity is the GOP’s trump card, they don’t have to worry about it going away.
[Picture by Keith Allison]