People don’t trust the government to do much of anything

Posted by K R on

New York Timesman Jim Rutenberg asked Marco Rubio what his biggest lesson was from the political heat he took for being involved in the Senate's passage of comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. Here's what Rubio said: "That there now exists an incredible level of mistrust on anything massive that the government does." That answer both surprised and intrigued me because, yes, Rubio was talking specifically about immigration reform, but his comment also offers a broader insight into how politicians -- in this case one openly considering a run for president -- view the electorate. Rubio, in essence, is saying that the blowback among the conservative rank and file over immigration wasn't really about immigration. Rather, it was about the federal government trying to do something "comprehensive" about anything. His argument also helps to explain the distrust/dislike/abiding hatred within conservative circles for the Affordable Care Act, the economic stimulus plan and Common Core (among other national programs administered in part or in toto by the federal government). Polling evidence suggests that Rubio is right about what Americans -- or, at least, Republicans -- want (or don't) from government. Asked to named the biggest problem facing the United States in 2014, 18 percent of people named "government" in a year-end Gallup poll. That put government in a statistical tie with "the economy in general" (17 percent) and "unemployment/jobs" (15 percent) as people's perceived biggest concerns. Concerns about government are on the rise in year-over-year Gallup polling as well. More via The Washington Post.

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