Sixty percent of Americans now believe that the federal government has too much power, an all-time high according to a new Gallup poll. The previous high of 59 percent was recorded in September of 2010, just weeks before the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives. Remarkably, only 7 percent of those polled said the government had too little power.
“Republicans, Democrats, and independents have each grown more likely to say government is too powerful this year,” Gallup reported. Eighty-one percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 38 percent of Democrats said the federal government has too much power today.
Gallup’s findings have obvious political implications given the upcoming mid-term elections in 2014. With President Obama’s net approval ratings now consistently in negative territory, Republicans have a clear opportunity to drive a wedge between independents and Obama’s big government-loving base. And given that they don’t control the government, they’ll have an even easier time mounting a rhetoric-filled campaign against the excesses of Big Government.
Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for those of us who are forced to live under the thumb of an incompetent Leviathan), there are plenty of examples of government excess that Republican candidates can use against their Democratic opponents. From an airport security regime that at times appears more interested in molesting Grandma than in investigating true security threats; to government-subsidized goodies for special interest groups that end up doing little more than jacking up prices on gas and groceries; to inane federal SWAT raids against pesky okra farmers; to government-sanctioned kill teams dispatched to assassinate Bambi, there is no shortage of examples of what happens when an already out-of-control government is given more power than it needs or deserves.
If the defund vs. delay battle is any indication, the main challenge for Republicans going forward will be to consistently offer a united front against government nonsense. They’ll need to stop fighting each other and instead train their sights on the real enemy: a sprawling government that’s too big, too expensive, and too incompetent to be trusted with more and more power.