Let’s say your political party has campaigned against the Rising Tide of Eeevul Librulism and managed to get a sound majority in the U.S. House of Representatives (but not in the Senate).
Let’s say your political party has claimed it is for reducing the U.S. deficit, for smaller government, against the Eeeevul Librul Conspiracy of Anthropogenic Climate Change, against abortion, against the encroaching immorality of the librul Public Broadcasting System.
You need to show your voting constituents that you are Working Hard to win the culture war and save the United States as it was designed by the (cue angelic choir) Founding Fathers.
You take a look at the U.S. federal budget.
You could take a whack at military funding, which is huge (20% of the federal budget, not counting percentage of Department of Energy costs aimed at military spending, and not counting the percentage of Veterans Administration costs aimed at medical care for military members wounded in the recent wars). But that would look bad to your constituents, as you also campaigned on a strong U.S. military presence around the globe, and standing strong in the War on Terror. Besides, you know those sneaky Democrats in control of the Senate might actually agree with those cuts and leave them in! So leave that out.
You could take a whack at Social Security (20% of the federal budget). But while it might look good to your constituents, you know that a large number of them are actually using Social Security. Start cutting there, and your constituents will start suffering and blame you.
You could take a whack at Medicare/Medicaid (23% of the budget). But, once again, your constituents are adamant that the government not mess with their Medicare. Maybe there’s a way to fiddle with Medicaid…
But look at all these other things to cut that would fire up the base!
Hey! There’s funding for Title X—reproductive health and family planning, and—OMG!—Planned Parenthood! That’s ripe for the cutting, and boy howdy, will your constituents love that! Cut the whole thing!
Oooh! There’s funding for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio! Yeehaw, let’s cut that puppy down! Another eeevul librul program bites the dust. Real Americans, hard working, red-blooded, blue-collar Americans, they don’t watch PBS or listen to NPR.
Ahh! What about the IPCC? (What’s that, you say? That’s the funding for the U.S. portion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.) Ooooh, yeah, that’ll play perfectly with your constituents! Global warming, shhhyeah, right—what about all that cold and snowy weather on the north coast of the United States?! Yeah, yeah, the Antarctic is showing temps that are up to 10 degrees higher than normal on a regular basis, permafrost is melting all over the place in Alaska, northern Canada, and Siberia, but, hey, that’s not here, where regular folks live.
We are on a roll, here, folks! The EPA? A bunch of overly regulating bureaucratic flunkies whose main purpose in existence is to impose restrictions on good, hard-working businesses. Let’s put the axe there, too!
While you’re at it, make sure you ensure that funding for advertising the military at NASCAR races is kept in.
Because, you see…you know very well that this stuff plays well with your base. You can fire them up, have them nodding their heads as they watch Fox News, pumping their fists, and know quite well that none of it is going to go through, so you don’t have to deal with any…oh…repercussions of these kinds of cuts. Because you know quite well that the Democrats who control the U.S. Senate won’t pass any of these cuts. Because you know quite well that even if the cuts did pass the Senate, President Obama would veto them.
The only problem in this entire thing is that it might—just might—anger the centrists and liberals in the U.S. enough to cause problems in the next elections. But, hey. Given all the stuff that’s been going on over the past ten years, it’s pretty obvious that the centrists and liberals in the U.S. aren’t going to stay angry enough to actually do anything, especially if these cuts don’t pass.
So it’s a win-win situation all around, right?