Be careful what you wish for.
One consistency among conservatives is that the things they champion often change when they have to live it. So it is with the sequester cuts. According to a new poll released Friday by ABC News and The Washington Post, Republicans are 14% more likely to say they’ve been hurt by the cuts than Democrats, and of those who have, 68% disapprove of them. Those Republicans who have not been hurt only disapprove by 42%.
ABC News reports that experiencing the cuts trumps partisanship and ideology, “Experience of the cuts even trumps partisanship and ideology: Among Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party supporters who’ve been harmed by the cuts, most oppose them. Support is far higher among those in these groups who haven’t felt an impact of sequestration.”
It’s bad news for Congressional Republicans who championed the sequester for years before declaring a major victory when they got it, as they are hurting their own base and losing support for the cuts by enacting them: “Republicans are 14 points more apt than Democrats to say they’ve been harmed by the sequester. And among Republicans who’ve been hurt by the cuts, 68 percent disapprove of them. Among those unhurt, disapproval drops to 42 percent.”
While ideology has an impact on who approves of the cuts, with conservatives approving more than liberals, once the cuts hit them personally, ideology goes out the window, with 65% of conservatives impacted by the cuts disapproving of them: “Ideology has an effect: Forty-seven percent of “very” conservative Americans approve of the cuts, as do 42 percent of those who call themselves “somewhat” conservative. It’s 36 percent among moderates and 24 percent among liberals. But again, impacts of the cuts are a bigger factor in views on the issue. Among conservatives hurt by the cuts, 65 percent disapprove of them; among those unhurt, just 34 percent disapprove.”
The numbers are similar for Tea Partiers hit by the cuts, with 66% of them disapproving: “Similarly, 66 percent of Tea Party supporters who’ve been damaged by the cuts disapprove, vs. 44 percent of those who report no personal impact.”
The poll notes, “Support is far higher among those in these groups who haven’t felt an impact of sequestration.” Liberals often feel frustrated by what they see as the selfishness of conservative ideology. It seems disaster relief is not good for others, but is needed for conservatives, just as budget cuts that hurt the vulnerable are seen as unacceptable by liberals but necessary by conservatives, until the cuts are actually implemented and conservatives have to live with them.
Don’t expect your conservative Republican friends to suddenly develop a capacity for empathy just because these cuts are hitting them more than Democrats. And isn’t that odd, with Democrats opposing the cuts because they hit the vulnerable, or as conservatives call them, the “takers”. This poll shows that it takes experiencing something first hand for conservatives to grasp the impact on their life. If it happened to someone else, that’s still okay, because they deserve it for “failing to take responsibility for themselves.”
It’s all “reckless spending” and “don’t tread on me!” until Republicans feel the hits of spending cuts. Suddenly, they strongly disapprove of the spending cuts championed by their party. We’ve been told for years that they are the makers and this is “their” money. If that’s true, how did government cuts impact them by a larger percentage than Democrats?
They protest spending, but now they’re upset that they got their way. Hint for our conservative friends: That government spending for the “takers”? That’s you, apparently. Pardon us for trying to help.
Image: Tea Party protest via Politico