What Happened to Conservatives' 2010 Message?

Boy do Americans have short attention spans.

Going into last November’s elections, Tea Party movements all over the country were putting growing government and the health of the economy in the national spotlight. Republicans campaigned on cutting spending, reducing the deficit, solving the debt problem and balancing the budget. They rode that platform to a huge House majority and closed their gap in the Senate. The question changed from how much more are we going to spend to how much are we cutting?

That lasted about 6 months. Americans no longer seem to have a taste for major cuts to their benefits.

After campaigning on this for months, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R – Wisc.) laid out a 2012 budget plan that does exactly this: cut $6.2 trillion in spending over the next 10 years and get us back on the path to solvency, all without raising taxes. This is what the 2010 midterm elections were supposed to be all about.

After easily passing the House, Ryan’s budget plan failed on the Senate floor this week.

Not only did Democrats refuse to acknowledge the message of 2010, but they’re now trying to change it. They would have you believe that solving the country’s economic problems means “throwing Grandma off the cliff.”

Never mind the fact that any “Grandma” 55 or older is exempted from this bill, the Democrats’ attack ads on Ryan’s Medicare reforms are scaring seniors into thinking they’re all going to die if this gets passed. And it’s working.

In addition to stopping the budget plan in the Senate, the Democrats also picked up a win in the special election to fill the vacant House seat in New York’s 26th district. You remember, the one Christopher Lee held right up until he was exposed for sending shirtless photos of himself to meet women on Craigslist who he apparently thought wouldn’t recognize him as a married congressman? The Democrats are lauding the win as a referendum on the Republicans’ attempt to reform Medicare.

So now after riding economic issues and entitlement reform into office, the GOP’s efforts have just stalled.

What happened in the last 6 months? Did the debt and deficit just solve itself all on their own and I just missed it? Even former President Bill Clinton stated this week we cannot let healthcare devour our economy, and we just stalled legislation that would prevent that.

Because the bottom line is this: Americans are all for cutting spending and reducing the deficit…as long as it doesn’t affect them directly. So by all means, cut all you want to get this country back on track, just as long as you don’t touch Medicare. Or Medicaid. Oh, and Social Security. And defense of course. We also need to throw more for education too, and welfare, transportation, agriculture, housing, etc.

But besides all that, go ahead and cut!

And with our attention spans today, it’ll be a miracle if these problems ever get solved. The next election is a long way off, and the voters are a fickle bunch. Between then and now we’ll have 2 more American Idols, 4 more Dancing with the Stars winners, and lord knows how many more Bachelors and Bachelorettes.

Last year’s message looks all the more distant from here.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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John Giokaris

John Giokaris has been contributing to PolicyMic since February 2011. Born and raised in Chicago, John graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a double major in Journalism and Political Science and is currently earning his J.D. at The John Marshall Law School. John believes in free market principles, private sector solutions, transparency, school choice, constitutionally limited government, and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. His goals are to empower/create opportunity for citizens to use the tools at their disposal to succeed in America, which does more to grow the middle class and alleviate those in poverty than keeping a permanent underclass dependent on government sustenance indefinitely. Sitting on the Board of Directors for both the center-right Chicago Young Republicans and libertarian America's Future Foundation-Chicago, he is also a member of the free market think tank Illinois Policy Institute's Leadership Coalition team along with other leaders of the Illinois business, political, and media communities. John has seven years experience working in writing/publishing, having previously worked at Law Bulletin Publishing, the Tribune Company, and Reboot Illinois. His works have been published in the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Crain's Chicago Business, Reboot Illinois, Townhall, the Law Bulletin, and the RedEye. He's also made appearances on CBS News, PBS, and Al Jazeera America.

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