The objective failure of Big Government programs doesn’t prompt the independent voter to turn on them – at least, not as quickly as conservatives would like. This is partially due to liberalism’s insistence that its results are immune from criticism, due to the moral urgency of its policies. It’s also due to the sheer, incomprehensible size of Big Government, which makes it easy to convince independents that even though a given socialist program was a disaster, things would have been far worse if the government had taken no action at all. You can hear exactly this argument being retailed today by Obama mouthpieces, in defense of the wasted $800 billion “stimulus” package.
The flip side of this belief in the urgency and justice of Big Government is also largely accepted by the electorate: if you wish to reduce government spending on any given problem, you don’t “care” about it. The desire to reduce the overall power and wealth of the government is seen as being motivated primarily by greed. The icy simplicity of collectivism is one of its selling points. The State is the collective will and justice of the people, so anything taken away from the State is being stolen from the people. It is remarkable how quickly the American mind calcified into this kind of thinking.