Friday, April 08, 2011

Don't Mess with my Medicare

The nearly-always-spot-on Charlie Cook thinks Republicans are deluding themselves if they think they have a mandate to mess with Medicare.  And I like his general framework:
One of the biggest and most frequent mistakes in politics is for a party to misread its mandate. When it happens, independent and swing voters get angry and punish a candidate or a party on Election Day. Because American politics is a zero-sum game, punishing one party means rewarding the other party—even when the latter is not necessarily deserving of support. Frequently, the party that benefits from the spanking mistakenly interprets it to mean that the public is embracing every aspect of its agenda. Republicans shouldn’t forget that their party had dismal favorable/unfavorable poll ratings last fall. They won because they weren’t Democrats.
I felt a bit the same way a few months back when it became clear that the GOP were treating the election as a  mandate to tear down financial regulation and unleash the banks.  On that one, they don't seem to have seen a backlash yet.  Might be that voters are pretty vague on bank regulation anyway--or rather, they believe that bankers are a bunch of scoundrels, but don't think Washington can/will do much about it one way or the other.  Medicare is perahps different; Medicare is, well, Medicare.   

No comments: