Sunday, April 10, 2011

Frost: Voters Are Not Into Symbolism

By Former Congressman Martin Frost (D) ~ Tea party Republicans pushing for a government shutdown are operating under a faulty premise: They believe the average voter is into symbolism. Average voters, like the ones I represented during the 1995 government shutdown, could care less about symbolism.

They want to be able to get their tax refund processed quickly by the Internal Revenue Service; they want to be able to get a passport to travel outside the United States on their non-refundable airline ticket, and they want grandma to be able to get her Social Security application processed to get her first check on time.

Tea party Republicans who think the public will thank them for the symbolic act of closing down the government because they didn’t get every last dollar of budget cuts they were seeking are in for a rude awakening. Wait till they go into their lightly manned local congressional offices and start answering the phone calls from angry constituents. It will not be a pretty sight.

The American people are not abstract thinkers. They expect government to function and they expect their elected officials to resolve national issues — even if this involves a little compromise. Voters are practical, even if they have strong ideological beliefs. They are not into symbolism.

This article, which originally appeared via Politico, can be read in its entirety at Southern Political Report.

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