CNN poll: Majority of Americans … agree with founders

posted at 2:20 pm on February 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The most frightening part of this story is that it’s not a dog-bites-man announcement.  CNN, in its latest polling, reports that 56% of respondents believe that the federal government poses a threat to individual liberty (via Mary Katharine Ham):

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

Well … yeah.  In fact, 56% seems pretty low to me.  The entire reason that the founders wrote the Constitution was to keep a powerful federal government from encroaching on the rights of the states and the individual citizens of the US.  If that wasn’t explicitly obvious from the actual text of the document, then the prolific discourse left by the founders in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere makes that point over and over again.

This shouldn’t be a surprise; it should be basic civics.

However, that 56% almost certainly represents an increase in the awareness of the basic reason for the Constitution’s limitation of federal power, and we can thank Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid for underscoring its need.  The health-care initiative pushed by the Democrats would put the government into our most personal and private choices, greatly increasing the power of Washington and decreasing the liberty of Americans.  After more than seven decades of increasingly statist policy, Americans have belatedly awoken to a crisis in liberty and a fiscal meltdown of the welfare state.  Our massive federal expansion now has to be funded by debt bought by foreign countries — nations like China, who hardly have either liberty or our best interests in mind.

A massive federal government and the crushing debt it produces is exactly what the founders wanted to avoid.  Thankfully, 56% of Americans have awoken to the danger of Leviathan.  It’s hard to figure out what it will take to get the other 44% to comprehend it, short of total collapse.


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Man, the trolls are out in force today.

It’s pretty simple really: our form of government and our Constitution are not perfect, but I defy you to find me one out there right now (or ever in history) that is better.

What’s truly amazing is that when other countries find the circumstances of their situations conflict with their constitution, they toss it out and rewrite it, essentially forming a new government. Though one of the youngest nations, America has the longest active Constitution in the world. This indicates that it’s a pretty solid founding document, yet flexible enough to stand the test of time.

Those advocating a more “enlightened” form of government don’t recognize that our current Constitution is the source of the benefits they enjoy, and the best path back to prosperity.

Animator Girl on February 26, 2010 at 6:22 PM

The Washington Independent: Why Rand Paul is Winning

Spathi on February 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Wow, he really beat up the global warming extremists and defended his record here. This gives me hope.

The Dean on February 26, 2010 at 7:03 PM

“Basic Civics has suddenly become an advocate for all things gay…”

Seven Percent Solution on February 26, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Either way, epic fail, gang. Better luck next time.

Proud Rino on February 26, 2010 at 3:16 PM

You are hilarious . You sound like a punk kid. Funny you could not even argue their point about the 10th amendment.

CWforFreedom on February 26, 2010 at 7:53 PM

After more than seven decades of increasingly statist policy, Americans have belatedly awoken to a crisis in liberty and a fiscal meltdown of the welfare state.

Well said!

Keep throwing even more cold water in the face of the 44%!

JDPerren on February 26, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Maybe the GOP were more Paul Ryan and less Rick Santorum ;-)

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Who is no longer in office. So called Social Conservatives constitute a small, weak influence in the GOP.

See the recent CPAC poll of priorities.

Illegal Immigration ranked at 5%, Stopping Gay Marriage at 1%. The significantly higher priorities were reducing the size of the Federal government, lowering spending, lowering taxes, etc.

JDPerren on February 26, 2010 at 8:17 PM

The Dean on February 26, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Ok–now I’m getting scared…that makes the second time this year that I have agreed with you….

lovingmyUSA on February 26, 2010 at 9:00 PM

After more than seven decades of increasingly statist policy, Americans have belatedly awoken to a crisis in liberty and a fiscal meltdown of the welfare state.

If the meltdown occurred in the ‘welfare state’, then our problems would be trivial. Unfortunately, the meltdown occurred in the very heart of American capitalism, nearly wiping broker-dealers off the map. If the Fed didn’t step in to stop the panic, who knows how bad things would have become. And there are signs that the economy isn’t improving.

bayam on February 26, 2010 at 9:13 PM

The fact that 44% think the feds are super duper terrific-o should come as no surprise. About the same amount of people pay $0 income tax.

Benjamin Frankilin knew this would happen:

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

And that is exactly what is happening. The 44% vote themselves money. And that 44% will be 46%, and 48% and eventually 51%. And when that happens, it will be the end of the republic. I predict somewhere around 2015.

angryed on February 26, 2010 at 9:28 PM

A massive federal government and the crushing debt it produces is exactly what the founders wanted to avoid.

Not to worry. Obama appointed SEIU’s Andy Stern to the debt commission, so we’re gonna be just hunky-dorey now.
/s

God Bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her
And guide her
Through the night…

TN Mom on February 26, 2010 at 9:53 PM

I have a different theory.

The Race Card on February 26, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Yeah, I had a feeling that I’d wake up to crap like this.

It’s all in the context, RC. My remarks about public and private school were a response to an earlier, snarky comment in which the commenter tried to make excuses for their own lack of knowledge because he/she hadn’t been privileged enough to attend private schools.

I didn’t fail myself, or anyone else. I’m self educated, and not ashamed of that, though I’m used to reactions like yours. The moment you saw “high-school dropout”, you assumed that I didn’t know what I was talking about, so you decided to give me some schooling.

State Defense Forces and Patriot Act? Duh, I didn’t know that stuff existed… My post was addressing the purpose of the Bill of Rights as a document that limits the power of the Federal government, even though it, and the main text of the constitution, also lay out the responsibilities (rights) of the branches of government. I guess I could have written a comprehensive essay on all of the guidelines regarding state militias, and how various forms of legislation have interpreted and reinterpreted the constitutional rights and responsibilities of the government, but that wouldn’t have had anything to do with the points I was making.

Of course, a certain percentage of people won’t look for my point, or try to understand it, because they assume that I must be a bitter failure – a “quitter” even – and grace me with a lecture instead.

By the way, I took time out from the private sector and spent a few years teaching at a business college, kinda like our Geneyus Prezident – except that I was teaching full time. It was fun, challenging, and rewarding, and yet, the failures of my misspent life are consuming me!

ral514 on February 26, 2010 at 9:56 PM

Klavan covered this today.

Liberals don’t trust the government, so they want to give all the power to the government. Huh?

barnone on February 26, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Who gave the goldfish a microphone?

Dark-Star on February 26, 2010 at 4:23 PM

I was wondering that myself.

unclesmrgol on February 27, 2010 at 12:05 AM

If the meltdown occurred in the ‘welfare state’, then our problems would be trivial. Unfortunately, the meltdown occurred in the very heart of American capitalism, nearly wiping broker-dealers off the map. If the Fed didn’t step in to stop the panic, who knows how bad things would have become. And there are signs that the economy isn’t improving.

bayam on February 26, 2010 at 9:13 PM

You can tell that the welfare state and every other socialist program is just plain bad because when the economy contracts, they get more money (to help people, you know) while the private sector weakens. When the economy revs up, both benefit from the cash generated by private enterprise. It’s only when laws are changed and the money spigots are turned off that the economy and the private sector come back from the brink.

And by the way, nice job on the “nearly wiped” so-and-so off the map. This is always the excuse to bash capitalism; the sky is falling, the crash is imminent. Socialism is the only answer..Not. Capitalism always revs up the economy and everyone with it when it’s tried, but the same naysayers continue to ignore the money holes that every socialist program is and becomes whenever it’s tried. The post office isn’t ‘nearly’ losing money, it is losing money. The war on poverty isn’t ‘nearly’ winning, it’s lost. Amtrak isn’t ‘nearly’ turning a profit, etc. etc. etc.

trace_9r on February 27, 2010 at 4:47 AM

I like the question, “Why not implement your idea at the state-level and prove its merits?” I have never had this question answered by a lib. My guess is that they ignore it cause there is no good answer.
WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 2:34 PM

RomneyCare. ‘Nuff said.

mwdiver on February 26, 2010 at 2:35 PM

No, Romney’s health care plan, regardless if you like it or not, is the perfect example what the Founders intended as pointed out below:

If we don’t have 50 experiments running (57 for for you, BHO), how can we learn from New York and California’s errors?

jamie gumm on February 26, 2010 at 2:36 PM

That’s the whole idea. Each state is supposed to be a laboratory for experimenting with different approaches on how to resolve problems.

Moreover, the founding fathers knew that while two states may be facing the same problem, they knew that no states are the same and as a result, the states must be free to address the problem based unique circumstances in those states.

Finally, allowing the 50 states to run their own experiments is another way of allowing states to compete with one another.

For example, If you don’t like State Y’s health care system, you’re more than free to move to State A or State Z or any other state that you think has a better system than State Y.

Another poster explains this concept perfectly:

Which is a good part of the reason why individual social issues, like health care, are state level issues, not to be touched by the federal government.
neurosculptor on February 26, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Thus, Romney’s plan is exactly in line with the Conservative belief in federalism and state’s rights.

The Constitution allows States like MA or CA or WA or any other state to make their own choices in addressing the unique health care needs of its citizens.

Makes you think Romney is pleading with the GOP to keep mum on RomneyCare and the budget issues it is causing in MA.

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 2:39 PM

People in MA actually like Romney’s Health Care plan:

A poll conducted this week by The Washington Post of 880 Massachusetts residents who said they voted in the special election found that 68 percent support the Massachusetts plan. Even among Brown voters, slightly more than half backed the 2006 law. (Source.)

Finally, any problems with Mitt’s plan lies with the MA State Congressional Democrats and not with Romney.

Conservative Samizdat on February 27, 2010 at 5:17 AM

44% are either not paying attention or they’re SEIU members.

n0doz on February 27, 2010 at 12:38 PM

44% represent the socialist and communist; the “educated” liberals; those who know they have constitutional rights or something, like the miranda rights; the freeloaders who never met an government entitlement they didn’t take or demand more of; the people who believe that newspapers and TV news always tells it the way it really is; those that worship the “One” who knows more than anyone on how to be a president; those that will figure it out, but the light bulb is still dark. We should not leave out Obama and his gang who think their approval ratings rate a B+ and a mandate to do what they know is best for us, even if we do not know that. We also need to include the idiots, like the governor of Florida who says the bill should be past, but can not name one thing he likes about it.

Franklyn on February 28, 2010 at 3:36 AM

As George Washington so aptly said, “Government is and indifferent servant and a cruel master.” The founders tried to spare us from ourselves…However, it seems that Americans are hell bent on learning one of history’s cruel lessons…

Nozzle on February 28, 2010 at 2:43 PM

State takes custody of 7-year-old over homeschooling

O.k., so it’s the State of Sweden. Anyway, about six months ago I suggested here on HA that this would soon happen in America and I was laughed out of town and called a kook (more or less). Do folks here still think it’s beyond possibility?

Eyas on February 28, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Well … yeah. In fact, 56% seems pretty low to me. The entire reason that the founders wrote the Constitution was to keep a powerful federal government from encroaching on the rights of the states and the individual citizens of the US. If that wasn’t explicitly obvious from the actual text of the document, then the prolific discourse left by the founders in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere makes that point over and over again.

No, but it was made obvious inthe Bill of Rights in Amendment X (10th Amendment for those of you who are challenged by Roman Numerals).

Amendment X on March 1, 2010 at 10:37 AM

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