WILL: Congress and the White House. And that's why in that pledge the word "spending" appears 47 times. The perfunctory nod to the social issues, but this is about economics.
AMANPOUR: Spending. I tried to get it out of Senator McConnell. You know, they talk about rolling back spending, but where? Where? Are they going to take on the big, big, big issues of Social Security and all the rest?
DOWD: Well, the interesting thing about this, first of all, the only people who are going to have read this thing are the person that wrote it and maybe the person that printed it. It's not going to have any effect on the election.
But the problem that -- what the country is that they don't trust either party on spending. They went through years where -- and during the Bush presidency, where spending rose dramatically, now they're -- now two years into the Obama presidency, where spending has risen dramatically. So the country doesn't really trust any of them, so that's why they're trying to kick out -- and the next round of -- they kicked them out in 2006. They're going to kick out a whole bunch in -- this year, 2010.
That's the problem, that the country does not trust either political party to do what they want to do, so that's why they're sending what many people consider fringe candidates to Washington.
BROWNSTEIN: You know, it's not only the political parties they don't trust. And this is where I would amend or disagree a little bit with -- with George.
What happened after 2008, after the financial meltdown, was that trust cratered in both government and business. Obama overestimated the extent to which the public would be looking -- clearly would be looking to government to counteract business via -- have a larger role in the economy, and they are seeing the backlash of that now. There's -- clearly, a portion of what's happening now is an ideological backlash among voters who simply don't trust Washington to do the kinds of things that the Democrats have set it on a road to do.
On the other hand, there is a tremendous loss of faith in business, as well. And I think Republicans do face the risk -- if -- depending on how they interpret what happens in November -- of coming in and, as in '95, trying to go too far in the other direction and seeing a backlash again against (inaudible) government.
We've done polling in the last few weeks. Only one-third of Americans say they support extending the Bush tax cuts to everybody, including those over $250,000. Only one-third support the idea of repealing health care completely, and only one-third support the idea of converting Medicare into a voucher for seniors, as some of the House Republicans want to do.
BRAZILE: You know, Christiane, I read it. It's retro. It's recycled old material from the past. It's vague. It's a fig leaf to cover the thinness of their proposals.
There is some spending in that -- in that booklet. It's spending more on the military. It's spending money that we don't have. It's spending more on tax cuts that we can't afford. So this is an opportunity for Republicans to finally say we're for something, but it gives Democrats to say what they've been against over the last 18 months.
AMANPOUR: Right, but given what Ron just said about the numbers and what people think about -- about health care and the -- and the rest, why then haven't the Democrats been able to translate that into a positive message?