The public’s fears about public spending have reached a crescendo.
In a must-read article headlined “It’s the Spending, Stupid” in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger addresses this concern (fear is a better word):
I'm convinced that beneath all the economic turbulence in the land is anxiety that's been building for years as public spending has continued to grow. What was a chronic "concern" has exploded this year into a broad public movement—in Washington, California, New York, New Jersey and indeed across Europe. This isn't "concern," Mr. President. It's a crisis.
Look at the astonishing numbers in the Rasmussen poll released last week. Nearly seven in 10 respondents (68%) want a smaller government, lower taxes and fewer services. The party breakdown: GOP, 88%; Democrats, 44%; and Other, 74%. In short, the independent voters who decide national elections have moved into the anti-spending column. I don't think they'll leave any time soon. …
This loss of faith predates the Obama presidency.
Fear of spending is driving this year’s midterm elections and will undoubtedly be a boon for the GOP.
But Henninger ends on a cautionary note for Republicans:
If voters give control of the House to the GOP, the party desperately needs to establish credibility on spending. Absent that, little else is possible. …
In a sense, the GOP's impending victory is meaningless, a win by default. If the Republican rookies entering Congress next year don't do something identifiably real to stop the federal-spending balloon, voters two years from now will start throwing the GOP under the bus. Absent action, the political rage and cynicism on offer in 2012 could make this year's tea parties look like, well, a tea party.