Because the reality is that for all the ire directed toward the Obama-era Congress, the measures that our elected representatives have actually undertaken lately, however haltingly and acrimoniously — a mix of defense cuts, discretionary spending cuts, and tax increases on the rich, with Medicare and Social Security left essentially untouched — are roughly what Americans of all political persuasions claim to want. This is clear enough from years and years of polling…

And again, if you drew up a policy blueprint based on these preferences, it might well look something like what Congress has actually done: The top tax rate has gone back to Clinton-era levels, discretionary spending and military spending have each taken a big hit, and entitlements have been touched barely at all. The public may hate the process and the spectacle, but there’s a sense in which they’re getting exactly what they’re asking for. …

What’s clear, though, is that something like the current “soak the rich and hack away at everything but Medicare” approach has vastly more support than any kind of serious entitlement reform. This is bad news for conservatives trying to keep the government’s share of G.D.P. within historic norms, bad news for liberals who would prefer that the government do more than just deliver Social Security checks and Medicare reimbursements, and probably bad news for today’s economy and tomorrow’s federal balance sheet alike. But since it’s what the voters says they want, maybe they should take their cues from Clyda Mellett and throw a little more love to the Congress that’s been giving it to them.