Conservatives Are Doing A Lousy Job Of Explaining Fiscal Issues To The Public.

The momentum that the GOP had in 2010 is starting to drain away. Some of that was inevitable. After all, the wind at our back in 2010 was just about as strong as it could possibly get. That sort of fire-in-the-belly couldn’t last forever.

Yet, these numbers from Rasmussen are troubling.

“Tea Party” has suffered much worse. Considered a positive political label by 29%, 43% now think Tea Party is a negative description for a candidate. That’s a net rating of negative 14, making it the worst thing you can call a candidate. Twenty-three percent (23%) put it somewhere in between.

Last September, 32% viewed Tea Party as a positive label and 38% a negative one. That was the previous low point for the grassroots smaller government movement. But that negative finding fell to 32% in January.

The partisan divided on the Tea Party label is perhaps predictable: 56% of Republicans see it as a positive, while 70% of Democrats think it’s a negative. Voters not affiliated with either party also now regard Tea Party as a negative label by a 42% to 25% margin.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of non-Tea party members see the label as a negative.

Here’s more from CNN, earlier last month.

Just 33 percent of Americans approve of the Republican Party, while 59 percent disapprove in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday. That’s a net negative 10-percentage-point shift from less than a month ago, when 41 percent of those surveyed by CNN said they had a favorable view of the GOP while 55 percent had an unfavorable one.

At the same time, Democrats’ numbers have improved slightly, with approval and disapproval each at 47 percent. In July, 45 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved, a net 4-point positive change.

The tea party movement fares slightly worse than the GOP and has its most dismal ratings since CNN began asking about the movement in polls in January 2010. Thirty-one percent said they see it favorably while 51 percent see it unfavorably. In July, those numbers were 37 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Of those surveyed, just 41 percent say they think the House member in their district should be reelected – the lowest ever – while 49 percent said the member does not deserve another term. A year ago, 52 percent supported reelection of their representatives while 42 percent opposed it.

There is a variety of reasons for those numbers, but I think the spending/debt debate has a lot to do with it.

Most conservatives don’t see this, I think, because we have won the larger debate. Even most Democrats now agree that our current level of spending is “unsustainable” and that we need to cut back at some point.

So, if that’s true, how can we still be getting hurt by the spending/debt debate?

Simple.

Ninety percent of Americans have absolutely no concept of the scope of our budget problems, what programs cost the most money, or how much of the gap we can make up with taxes. Couple with the American people’s love of easy fixes, the mainstream media’s outright refusal to deal with the issue seriously, and the Democrats’ habitually dishonest rhetoric about the issue and this is a real issue.

In other words, average Americans realize that we have a big spending problem, but they’re under the mistaken impression that we can fix it by nibbling around the edges. Maybe we’ll raises taxes on the rich a little bit, increase the tax on corporate jets, cut spending on foreign aid and problem solved! The Democrats push exactly this kind of magical thinking on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are dealing with reality, but not adequately explaining it. Even if we took EVERYTHING the really “rich” made next year, it wouldn’t come close to paying off our deficit. Moreover, our long-term debt problems are being primarily driven by Social Security and Medicare. We have two choices. Either we reform those programs, and the sooner the better, or the country goes bankrupt.

People who are knowledgable understand this. But many Americans who don’t know any better falsely assume that we could fix our problems by taxing the rich, but the GOP wants to cut Medicare and Social Security instead.

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