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Twice as Many Americans Conservative as Liberal

Looking at the topline results [PDF here] of the latest AP-Ipsos poll, I came across this:

Gallup Poll Ideology

So 41% of the country self-identifies as “conservative,” 34% as “moderate,” and only 21% as “liberal.” Further, 14% consider themselves “strong conservatives” vice only 6% “strong liberals.” So, not only are there twice as many who consider themselves “conservatives” as “liberals,” but two thirds as many “strong conservatives” as “liberals,” period.

This, from a survey sample where 47% are Democrats or Democrat leaners vice 43% Republicans or Republican leaners, where 68% think the country is on the wrong track, and 65% disapprove of President Bush’s job performance.

Clearly, the powerful association with the word “conservative” persists even with great disaffection with the leadership of the Republican Party, and the negative connotation of the word “liberal” continues even after the public has swept Democrats into control of both Houses of Congress.

This is especially interesting considering that the public seems to continue to demand liberal policies, opposing even nominal market-based reform of Social Security, continuing to push for the socialization of health care, expecting instant bail-outs for poor financial decisions, and generally wanting more federal spending on a variety of social programs.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. ken says:

    This is especially interesting considering that the public seems to continue to demand liberal policies….

    America was founded on liberal values and we have been the liberal progressive light to the world ever since. On occasion the conservative demon gains sway over large swaths of the United States but if we remain true to our values we defeat them, eventually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  2. James Joyner says:

    America was founded on liberal values and we have been the liberal progressive light to the world ever since.

    The U.S. was founded on Classical Liberal values, which is a major faction of today’s understanding of “conservative.” Today’s “liberals” are an outgrowth of the European social democracy movement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  3. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup…

    And a good Sunday to all. Not a clue who did this pinup. Forgot to add the painter to the properties. Oh, well. Still a good one. Something about a red head
    So, what is happening out there today?

    Blogs For Bush has the Great Democratic Meltdown. Bas…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Jim Henley says:

    I’m not surprised. I think we’re a conservative species. But it does seem like the words have become pretty empty signifiers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Bithead says:

    This is especially interesting considering that the public seems to continue to demand liberal policies, opposing even nominal market-based reform of Social Security, continuing to push for the socialization of health care, expecting instant bail-outs for poor financial decisions, and generally wanting more federal spending on a variety of social programs.

    Perhaps it comes down to the press, and how they report on things. It would be simplicity itself to report, for example , that liberal policies have far more support than they actually do, Either by intent, or by the press not understanding that the largest volume of screaming, does not constitute the largest volume of people.

    Or, both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  6. ken says:

    Today’s “liberals” are an outgrowth of the European social democracy movement.

    That is just plain stupid.

    FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton were uniquely American. If European social democrats engaged in liberal policies of their own they can thank America for giving them the liberal democracy and the liberal values with which to do it.

    And to think that hotel workers who are organizing for better wages and working conditions are doing so because of the influence of some European socialist is beyond stupid, it’s crazy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  7. James Joyner says:

    But it does seem like the words have become pretty empty signifiers.

    I think that’s right. Robert Bidinoto has a good piece (the cover story) in the latest New Individualist noting that there really is no definition for “conservative” in America and instead there are half a dozen or more hyphenated-conservatisms.

    FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton were uniquely American.

    Sure, but Otto Von Bismark was uniquely German more than half a century before FDR’s presidency.

    And to think that hotel workers who are organizing for better wages and working conditions are doing so because of the influence of some European socialist is beyond stupid, it’s crazy.

    But that’s collective action on the part of workers, not top-down policy from the government. Obviously, governmental policy is implicated in how it deals with unionization, but that’s a separate issue from what I’m talking about here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  8. ken says:

    James, you are saying that the predominate American political philosophy for the last two hundred plus years is a derivative of European socialist thinking over the last forty years. You really, really need to read up on American history. Just because the Fox news channel says John Kerry looks French does not mean what you think it means. It means they are stupid and that if you buy into what they are saying you are …. well you know, somewhat of an intellectual lightweight.

    Just for your information and education Truman introduced national health care right after the war ended. Initially it was one of his major domestic policy goals. Yet oddly, by your reasoning this liberal American policy was derivative of a European political philosophy that did not even exist yet.

    Do you see why smart people cannot take conservatism seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  9. Brian says:

    On occasion the conservative demon gains sway over large swaths of the United States but if we remain true to our values we defeat them, eventually.

    Ken, you are giving us fellow liberals a bad name with your crazy ranting. Any history professor will tell you that your understanding of US history is completely wrong. And that’s not a profession known for being conservative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  10. Anderson says:

    Ken, jeez, lighten up a little. I personally have no idea to what extent the New Deal had its origin in European social democracy, but I very much doubt there was NO meaningful connection.

    The Constitution is a pre-Industrial Revolution document. I don’t think there’s any room for doubt that the IR fundamentally changed our economy, which is to say, our entire way of life.

    Social democracy is a reaction to the IR. Classical liberalism, depending on how far you look back, is an Enlightenment ideology. The reconciliation of these two ideologies is still a work in progress.

    One way to think about liberals is that they believe there *is* such a reconciliation. Some conservatives are “conservative” and not liberal b/c they doubt the possibility of any such reconciliation, and take their stand on the side of classical liberalism. I suspect this may be JJ’s own point of view.

    But obviously, as JJ points out and pace Bithead, most people in America take a measure of social-democratic policy for granted. Whether this should be changed is arguable; whether it *can* be changed is doubtful. As Plato noted, once the demos gets its hands on the public treasury, the process isn’t reversible within the framework of democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. ken says:

    Ken, jeez, lighten up a little. I personally have no idea to what extent the New Deal had its origin in European social democracy, but I very much doubt there was NO meaningful connection.

    History says you would be wrong. FDR and Truman were not looking to Europe for solutions to American problems, they were searching for uniquely American solutions. FDR, in particular, would try many different things, some worked, some did not. To the extent they were similar to what other countries were trying was coincidental confirmation that they were on the right track, but was never used as justification for what they were trying to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  12. Liberal America?…

    LIBERAL AMERICA?….James Joyner reports today on a new Gallup poll showing that the number of Americans who self-identify as conservative is twice the number who self-identify as liberal. He comments:This is especially interesting considering that the…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. ken says:

    Anderson,

    In addition the critics of the New Deal tried to use the same criticism James is throwing out here: IE. that these liberal policies were dangerous foreign ideas. In fact, they were organic American solutions that had their roots in the ‘internal improvements’ debate that took place during the earliest years of our new nation. The liberals won that debate and have been winning the debate ever since.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. ken says:

    Ken, you are giving us fellow liberals a bad name with your crazy ranting. Any history professor will tell you that your understanding of US history is completely wrong. And that’s not a profession known for being conservative.

    Really? What history professor would claim that, if you were to draw the distinction, it wasn’t the liberals who ended slavery, gave women the right to vote, enacted civil rights legislation, gave investors some protection against unscrupulous capitalists and enacted the myriad other programs that make our country better for it?

    Do you think anyone thinks of these as conservative contributions to our nations well being?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  15. Tano says:

    There are several different contexts in which the terms liberal and conservative are defined, such that it is really hard to know what people mean when they claim one identity or another.

    There are the historical positions – where liberalism means Enlightenment, or “classical liberal” ideas, and conservatism refers to the lingering attitudes that supported monarchy and a strong church influence on political life.

    There are the modern uses in the popular media which are a total mess.

    But there is also the psychological meanings – in which liberals are those who care little about the old ways of doing things and are always looking for new ideas, versus conservatives who find strength and solace in well-proven frameworks. This is more a personality thing than a rationally thought out political position.

    And one must remember that society itself is ever-evolving. The American revolution was radical liberalism – imagine, overthrowing a monarchy! Overthrowing the settled, god-sanctioned natural order of government. There was absolutely nothing conservative about the American revolution. But in short order of course, once the revolution succeeded, the radical innovation became the status quo, and it became part of the new conservatism.

    In my own lifetime I have seen liberals demanding the end to racial segregation, the equality of women in the workplace, equal dignity for gays, and a concern for stewardship of the environment, just to name a few big ones. All of these positions were opposed, heatedly, by conservatives. They are all now accepted by conservatives. You will hear conservatives now state that these positions are inherint parts of conservatism.

    It is the natural order of things. Liberals are on the cutting edge, coming up with new ideas, most of which are crap, but some of which will be the new paradigms of tomorrow. It is the working out of trial and error – the only process that leads to beneficial change. Conservatives resist change, thus providing a “peer review” process – but they eventually fold and accept those ideas that are good ones.

    It is no surprise that there are more conservatives than liberals. One needs a certain personality type to be a liberal – risk taking, creative, willing to question the things that most people take for granted. Most people do take things for granted because most people just want to live their lives with the cards they are dealt, and are not so concerned with, or even aware of the larger dynamics that are moving the society in one way or the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  16. Part of the problem is that conservative has a large number of definitions, so just that more people identify as conservative doesn’t automatically mean electoral superiority.

    ‘Conservative’ is broken up into lots of little subcamps, many of whom detest each other. It’s unlikely any candidate is going to be able to get all of those conservatives to vote for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  17. Bithead says:

    History says you would be wrong. FDR and Truman were not looking to Europe for solutions to American problems, they were searching for uniquely American solutions.

    Marx was American!!?!!?!?!??? Who knew?

    There are several different contexts in which the terms liberal and conservative are defined, such that it is really hard to know what people mean when they claim one identity or another.

    Perhaps. in the truest sense, however, the words “liberal” and “conservative” are relative to the existing power structure.

    As an example; a conservative citizen of the Soviet Union, would be considered a strong proponent of communism. On the other hand, an American Liberal would be such a proponent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Tano says:

    Go crawl back under your rock Bithead. Your childish little insults dont add anything to the conversation. Dont you ever get tired of yourself? (we sure do).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. floyd says:

    Liberal, conservative , reactionary, traditionalist, ….. whatever! It seems when a people are confused about what they believe and why, we end up with BABBLESPEAK, wherein definitions change with the mood of the speaker.

    Honest speech can only come from unintimidated honest people, who know what they think.

    It has become imperitive to know the speaker before one can interpolate the meaning of what is said.

    “All of us cynics think we’re realists” FC [lol]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Bithead says:

    Well, let’s take government health care, as an example, Tano. Tell me such a plan doesn’t fall precisely in line with the dictates of Marx.

    The truth of the matter is this:

    The idea that this country was founded on Liberal principle, is quite correct. However the definition of Liberal has changed as the power structure has changed. That’s because the terms liberal and conservative are relative to the existing power structure.

    This country was founded on freedom, and individualism. Those were liberal values for the time. That is what the conservative strives for, today. That’s what they’re trying to conserve. The Liberal on the other hand, in today’s context, seeks to change that… to move AWAY from freedom… the liberal of today strives for government. Government of a depth and level that would have Jefferson rolling over in his grave. It amazes me, that they still use Jefferson as an icon for the Democratic party.

    Indeed, watch closely, gang, and you’ll find that the Democrats feel government to be the answer for everything. What better time to demonstrate this, than in a presidential election cycle, when the biggest part of the party platform will be what government GIVES you at someone else’s expense?

    And adding something to the conversation, Tano?

    Oh, I think I have. I’ve added basic points inside of which all this makes sense. Given the speed with which you got aggressive with me, you must think so, too?

    Whereas, I must say, your several paragraphs added lots of John Kerryesque ‘nuance’ but no substance.

    Insult?
    No.
    Mere fact.
    Which, apparently, some cannot handle.
    So be it; It goes hand in hand with standing for something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  21. Bithead says:

    And if anyone is to take uinsult from anyone, Tano, I think I might have a say. How else do we read…

    It is no surprise that there are more conservatives than liberals. One needs a certain personality type to be a liberal – risk taking, creative, willing to question the things that most people take for granted. Most people do take things for granted because most people just want to live their lives with the cards they are dealt, and are not so concerned with, or even aware of the larger dynamics that are moving the society in one way or the other.

    … other than to say that we’re not liberal because we’re too stupid and self-absorbed?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. ken says:

    Bithead would be on stronger ground if he actually read some legitimate American history books instead of relying on the Heritage Foundation spin on American history.

    Yes, Jefferson as President was for limited government and took the conservative position in the debate over federal involvement in ‘internal improvements’, which essentially meant road building. He was against it.

    Hamilton, on the other hand, the same checks and balance Hamilton today’s conservatives love to honor, took the liberal position on the debate over internal improvements. He was for it.

    You see bithead, once our government was formed and people realized that the levers of power were now in their hands instead of in the hands of a far off monarchy, they took the preamble to the constitution to heart and actually started using the government they created to ‘provide for the General Welfare’.

    This was after all one of the reasons the revolution was fought and the new government was created – so we could make these decisions for ourselves through our own government.

    Needless to say it was the liberal position that carried the day, back then, and has carried the day ever since. Bithead must be pissed about that, but that is the way it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  23. ken says:

    Well, let’s take government health care, as an example, Tano. Tell me such a plan doesn’t fall precisely in line with the dictates of Marx.

    I don’t know about Karl Marx’s take on the subject but I do know that it falls precisely in line with the dictates of the Preamble to the United States Constitution…. promote the General Welfare … and all that.

    Universal health care is just another paving stone in the long road started over two hundred years ago when free people declared for a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Right now, thanks to bithead and other conservatives that road has a pothole in it that needs fixing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  24. Bithead says:

    Bithead would be on stronger ground if he actually read some legitimate American history books

    actually, I spent a lifetime doing precisely that. Indeed, I consider that I’m probably far better read than yourself, with all respect. You see, the differences, that I actually have a mind, with which I can discern the facts regardless of the source.

    Yes, Jefferson as President was for limited government and took the conservative position in the debate over federal involvement in ‘internal improvements’, which essentially meant road building. He was against it.

    Correct in large part. But what might we take from this response of his? Particularly, what will we take from it in comparison to those who invoke his name today?

    This was after all one of the reasons the revolution was fought and the new government was created – so we could make these decisions for ourselves through our own government.

    Hehehehh. No.
    If you will but read some history books which are not approved of by the NEA, but rather written with the truth in mind, you will find much to your chagrin, that the idea of founding a new nation was so that we could make these decisions for ourselves, in spite of the government… Not through it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. Bithead says:

    I don’t know about Karl Marx’s take on the subject but I do know that it falls precisely in line with the dictates of the Preamble to the United States Constitution…. promote the General Welfare … and all that.

    You do understand, of course, that there is a difference between promoting the general welfare, and providing it?

    As for Karl Marx’s taken on it, “from each according to as ability to each according to his need” seems to apply rather well, in describing government health care.

    Well, at least that’s the design. That’s what’s supposed to happen. We both know it doesn’t. But, that, perhaps, is another thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. ken says:

    Well bithead if you actually do have a library of legitimate US history books to consult I’d advise you to turn off Rush Limbaugh and start reading.

    You will be sorely disappointed that never in the last two hundred plus years has your position carried the day long enough to head off progress.

    US history is one long progression of the US government using its power to do liberal things.

    To you this is a violation of first principles so besides being disappointed in what America has become it must really suck being you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  27. ken says:

    And Bithead when you do turn age 65, you, just like everyone else your age and older, will enroll in univeral government sponsored and paid for health care. It is called Medicare. So get off your stupid high horse on the subject of universal health care. It makes you a hypocrite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  28. Tano says:

    “I’m probably far better read than yourself, with all respect. You see, the differences, that I actually have a mind,”

    Here is a little life clue for ya, Bithead.

    “Having a mind” is something that you should hope that someone says of you someday – on their own, by virtue of being thoroughly impressed with what comes out of that mind. Making the assertion about yourself just makes it clear to everyone that you have probably realized that you will never hear those words unless you say them yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  29. JohnG says:

    I’m confused, is Ken saying that the colonials had a revolution so that they could create a socialist state?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. sara says:

    People have been brainwashed that “conservativism” is a Good Thing, as a moral abstraction. They fail to make the inference that all the problems in today’s America that “conservativism” in the abstract is supposed to fix have been caused by actual conservatives.

    Excess government deficits — thank Bush.

    Rampant tasteless commercialism, sexuality, etc. in the media — thank free-market capitalism and deregulation.

    Illegal immigration — thank free-market capitalism, again, and the demonization and oppression of unions, causing unionized, well-paying manufacturing jobs to leave the country.

    Crime — thank increasing social inequality in America.

    Threat of Islamic terrorism — thank Bush, again, for giving Middle Eastern Muslims grounds to hate us for the next hundred years.

    Corruption and amorality — thank Bush, Cheney, the neocons, et al.

    Children aren’t learning in schools — thank Grover Norquist’s brand of Republicanism, so that Americans resist paying higher taxes for better social services.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  31. Bithead says:

    I’m confused, is Ken saying that the colonials had a revolution so that they could create a socialist state?

    Certainly sounds that way, doesn’t it?

    Excess government deficits — thank Bush.

    You seem to be missing a couple facts;
    The annual deficits are going down at a rate where there will be no annual deficit by the time Bush’s out of office, assuming the Democrats in Congress do absolutely nothing. If I’m not mistaken, this was mentioned on this very blog.

    Also, there is this; Bush is no conservative. He is at best, a centrist. Now the situation would be far better had we a real conservative, but Bush will do, particularly in comparison to a John Kerry, or an Al Gore. (Sheesh)

    Rampant tasteless commercialism, sexuality, etc. in the media — thank free-market capitalism and deregulation.

    Now isn’t that interesting? Back in the fifties and sixties when this stuff was starting to ramp up, we were being told that we were prudes, and authoritarian driven, because we were trying to keep sexuality in the media under wraps. The left got its wish in that case. And now you’re complaining about it and blaming the conservatives? Yeah… THAT makes sense.

    Threat of Islamic terrorism — thank Bush, again, for giving Middle Eastern Muslims grounds to hate us for the next hundred years.

    Are we to take from this comment , that you feel the declaration of war leveled against us during the Clinton administration, …..can be blamed on Bush?

    My, my, my ; he must be a powerful individual indeed, to have that kind of authority, even before he took office.

    Corruption and amorality — thank Bush, Cheney, the neocons, et al.

    This coming from the party of Clinton. The party of William Jefferson, he of $90,000.00 in his freezer; the party of Nancy Pelosi who just got through legislating herself a little boost in her husband’s company’s income by means of legislative fiat. The party of Harry Reid, he of the less than above board land deals in Nevada… and so on.

    Sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Bithead says:

    “Having a mind” is something that you should hope that someone says of you someday – on their own, by virtue of being thoroughly impressed with what comes out of that mind.

    Here we go again with the insults.(Sigh) Par for the course, I suppose. IN any event;

    You might want have a word with my boss. I say that because that is precisely what he said on the occasion of my last raise a few months ago. In short, having a mind, and what comes out of it, is precisely what I get paid for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Bithead says:

    And Bithead when you do turn age 65, you, just like everyone else your age and older, will enroll in univeral government sponsored and paid for health care. It is called Medicare.

    Possibly.
    But if so, it will be because of the amount of money the government stole from me, thereby preventing me from being financially capable to taking care of myself. My financial situation would have been far better, had I been able to invest that money on my own, without the government usurping it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    I guess Bithead has been out fishing while “conservative” Bush has presided over one of, if not the greatest expansion of both the size and power of the federal government. (and lets not even mention the budget).

    Meanwhile, a brief glance at a history book will show how Clinton did a pretty good job of trimming the government (kudos to the reform minded GOP Congress of the 90’s as well) and practised fiscal responsibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Iowa Voice says:

    Where’s The Liberal Outrage?…

    They’re still gnashing their teeth over Ann Coulter’s "faggot" remark, trying to say that she called him gay (she didn’t…she just called him a pansy, for lack of a better word), that they’ve appa…

    ……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. JohnG says:

    Bush has been expanding government, even beyond what you would think a war would need. However, isn’t this where the right wing of the party generally hammers Bush? Don’t the Congressional Democrats usually attack Bush for not spending even more?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. anjin-san says:

    John….

    Lets have a little detail about “Democrats attacking Bush for not spending more”.

    I think Democrats are unhappy with Bush’s spending priorities, not the total dollar figures. Any rational person has to be alarmed by out of control federal spending under Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    Bit,

    How do you feel about the money that the government has stolen from you and “misplaced” in Iraq?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. David L says:

    The state is utterly incapable of providing welfare, commodities, to anybody. In order to first provide a service for one person, the state must first deprive another person of it. That Mrs. Clinton can not provide healthcare to a single person unless shs first takes it away from another.

    Conservatives see the roll of the state in protecting and promoting freedom. Liberals see the roll of the state in deciding what groups or persons get freedon and which ones don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. steve says:

    The U.S. was founded on Classical Liberal values, which is a major faction of today’s understanding of “conservative.”

    Well, I dunno. The second piece of legislation passed by the first Congress was the Tariff Act of 1789, sometimes called the “Hamilton Tariff.” The act was a revenue-raising measure true, but it was also a measure to protect US “infant industries” from foreign competition…that doesn’t strike me as very conservative. And remember, many of the members of the first Congress were ratifiers of the Constitution in their respective states. So I’d guess you’d have to say that their original understanding of the principles upon which our nation was founded allowed for government intervention in the economy. Again, that’s not a contemporary conservative position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Bithead says:

    How do you feel about the money that the government has stolen from you and “misplaced” in Iraq?

    One of the documents that I have spent a great deal of study on is the constitution. Wherein we find that defense is one of the few constitutionally mandated expenditures of public funds.

    You may want to look into this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Bithead says:

    I guess Bithead has been out fishing while “conservative” Bush has presided over one of, if not the greatest expansion of both the size and power of the federal government. (and lets not even mention the budget).

    Now why would you not want to include the budget? Old, I see…. You’d rather not look closely at the budget because if you actually look at the growth you would find that it has been actually holding steady as a percentage of the GDP. Which, of course, is the only meaningful way to measure the budget. Further, if you were to measure the budget, you would find that if we hold on the track that Mr. Bush has said for us, there will be no budget deficit, by the time he leaves office. A party mentioned that one, I think. I can understand why you’d want a bypass all that. Those facts don’t match your world view.

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  43. just me says:

    they took the preamble to the constitution to heart and actually started using the government they created to ‘provide for the General Welfare’

    YOu are misquoting the preamble.

    Provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.

    Provide and promote are not the same thing nor are they synonyms.

    The reality is that the founding fathers loathed a strong federal government, and they wanted to see its powers limited.

    As for socialism given that Marx wrote his book in the mid 19th century, it is hard to argue that Marx had no influence on either European or US government in the 19th century. Shoot the Russian revolution occurred before FDR ever ran for or took office. I think it is hard to argue that the US was existing in some vacuum on this side of the Atlantic blissfully unaware of socialism.

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  44. [...] But we are dealing with people who are never satisfied with anything. They are a small group of people; AP reported there are twice as many conservatives as there are liberals (via James Joyner). They prefer looking from the outside in. Now that they are inside, they turn on their own. [...]

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  45. James Joyner says:

    The act was a revenue-raising measure true, but it was also a measure to protect US “infant industries” from foreign competition…that doesn’t strike me as very conservative.

    It was very old line conservative, in the mercantilist tradition. Recall that Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations came out in 1776, the same year the Declaration of Independence was signed. It took a while to catch on. And, sadly, too modern-day liberals and conservatives alike have a fondness for tariffs and other barriers to foreign trade.

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  46. ken says:

    The state is utterly incapable of providing welfare, commodities, to anybody. In order to first provide a service for one person, the state must first deprive another person of it.

    This conservative argument against taxation and government services was rejected over two hundred years ago and has been rejected repeatedly ever since. America is a liberal country. Get used to it.

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  47. [...] But we are dealing with people who are never satisfied with anything. They are a small group of people; AP reported there are twice as many conservatives as there are liberals (via James Joyner). They prefer looking from the outside in. Now that they are inside, they turn on their own. [...]

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  48. Monday’s Daily News…

    THE DAILY NEWS Where Are the JFK Democrats? – Rich Karlgaard, Forbes.com Are Trade Deficits a Drag on U.S. Economic Growth? – Dan Griswold, Cato Washington’s March Madness – John Fund, Wall Street Journal Twice as Many Americans Conservative as Libera…

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  49. ken says:

    The reality is that the founding fathers loathed a strong federal government….

    That makes no sense. They did not loathe the government they created. The Articles of Confederation failed because it created a central government that was too weak. The Constitution was written to solve the problem of a too weak central government. The government created by that document is the one we have today. To say that the peple who created that government loathed it is pretty dumb.

    The preamble to the constitution lays out the purpose of the federal government … and clearly there is nothing limited in the boldness of the goals set out in it.

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  50. James Joyner says:

    The preamble to the constitution lays out the purpose of the federal government … and clearly there is nothing limited in the boldness of the goals set out in it.

    Unless, of course, one reads the document that follows said Preamble.

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  51. Bithead says:

    America is a liberal country. Get used to it.

    Wishful thinking. The same kind of ‘logic’ the ‘global warming’ myth uses.

    And demonstrably so, given the numbers James quotes.

    Ken, welcome to reality.

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  52. Bandit says:

    Alternate explanation – how many people want to claim moral values they don’t practice while continuing to be OK with spending other peoples money.

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  53. Stephennnn says:

    Keep in mind that both “liberal” and “conservative” really defy definition. For example today’s conservative is tomorrow’s liberal and the reverse is true. As our experiences are formed from year to year, from youth to old age, it follows that our views and opinions change as well. Also, we may have defined ourselves as liberal or conservative 30, 40, or 50 years ago, but that definition is no longer relevant in today’s usage.

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  54. anjin-san says:

    Bit…

    Thanks for the comic relief, I can use it on a Monday. So Bush has cooked the books to show we are on target for a balanced budget in 2012. Of course everyone with an IQ over 90 knows this is nonsense, but if it makes you feel good, hey, go for it.

    As for the many billions that the Bush admin has lost in Iraq, I am not referring to legitimate defense expenditures, but to the billions of dollars that have simply vanished. A lot of it has no doubt ended up in Swiss bank accounts, and some has very likely been used against our own forces. But if that’s OK with you…

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  55. Bill's Bites says:

    2007.03.12 Surrenderpolitik update (Multiple updates)…

    See previous. Do the Dems represent Moqtada al-Sadr’s best hope? Paul Mirengoff Robert Kagan argues that the surge is succeeding. According to Kagan, there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new …

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  56. Bithead says:

    So Bush has cooked the books to show we are on target for a balanced budget in 2012.

    Some solid proof of this charge would seem in order as a prerequsite of making it…. and unattainable.

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  57. Bithead says:

    And actually, that estimate is now on track for a balance in ’08. As I said, by the time he leaves office.

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  58. anjin-san says:

    Bit,

    Really, tell us, do you actually believe that Bush is going to leave office with a balanced budget? And whats your position on bigfoot and the Easter bunny?

    Bush’s “Balanced Budget” assumes a lower outlay for DOD & Homeland security in 2012 then 2006 (22% lower). This seems improbable. Then there are the cute little games the Bush admin is playing with the Social Security surplus in the budgetary process.

    Of course when Bush actually does leave office, paddling off into the sunset upon a river of red ink, you will just blame the democrats in congress and thus feel vindicated.

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  59. 11x says:

    So the “moderate” category gets no inclusion into either the “liberal” or “conservative” categories, and yet those 2 categories get to have 2 sub-categories (“somewhat” and “very”) included in the tallies. Why is there no such specific choices for “moderates”? The “somewhats” of either the “liberals” or “conservatives” could also have been given to the “moderate” category, which I think might be more truthful. I find it hard to believe that anyone actually knows the original OED-type meanings of the words “liberal” or “conservative” anymore; certainly no one in government office at any level does.

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  60. Bithead says:

    Really, tell us, do you actually believe that Bush is going to leave office with a balanced budget?

    No.

    I do believe that’s what the numbers say; I do believe that if we carried on the same track as we run, we will get there. But I don’t think we will. There are, after all, Democrats running Congress.

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  61. Save The GOP says:

    [...] Polls can say anything you want them to say and I take each one I read with a grain of salt.  That being said, I liked the results of this poll just fine. [...]

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  62. anjin-san says:

    Damn Bit, you made my prediction about blaming Democrats for Bush’s mega deficits come true two years early. You are nothing if not predictable.

    Yea, its those darned Dems who do all the spending. Bush has been a model of fiscal restraint for the last 6 years.

    Bit………. Do you know what “cooking the books” means? Its how Bush managed to come up with a projection for a balanced budget after 6 years of faith-based budgeting.

    Does it make you proud to know how much of our paper the brutal communist regime in China holds after 6 years of Bush?

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  63. Bithead says:

    Damn Bit, you made my prediction about blaming Democrats for Bush’s mega deficits come true two years early. You are nothing if not predictabl

    Mostly, that’s because the democrats are so predictable. You must think so too; do you really think they’re not going to raise social spending, thus affecting the deficit?

    Does it make you proud to know how much of our paper the brutal communist regime in China holds after 6 years of Bush?

    And, eight years of Clinton. How many times did the question of most favored nation trading status come up, during the Clinton administration?

    Bit………. Do you know what “cooking the books” means?

    That’s easy; The Democrats are in charge.

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  64. [...] This change in the dynamics of the Democratic race may actually help the Republicans in 2008. With the Democrats appearing to want a true believer, a 100%, dyed in the wool liberal, it could make a more conservative candidate like Senator Brownback or, more likely, a Fred Thompson more attractive. Sharp contrasts in candidates have favored Republicans in every election since 1980 and recent polling would seem to suggest that this will not change anytime soon. Americans largely still see themselves as “conservative” despite their support for some “liberal” social programs. What pollsters have been unable to fathom is that the American people support those liberal social programs – as long as they don’t have to pay for them. [...]

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