Rasmussen: People wonder where Capitol Hill conservatives have gone

Sen. Rand Paul Assaulted at his Kentucky Home
Conservatives and liberals agree with Sen. Rand Paul that Congressional Republicans don’t seem to be cutting it.

A new Rasmussen survey released Tuesday shows 42 percent of likely voters think Sen. Rand Paul was right when, during a floor speech, he observed, “When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party. But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party.”

According to Rasmussen, 34 percent of the voters disagree, but a whopping 23 percent are “undecided.” That’s nearly one in four likely voters who can’t make up their minds, and that is not good news for the GOP heading into the 2018 mid-terms.

Even more surprisingly, 50 percent of identified Democrats agree with the statement, while only 37 percent of acknowledged Republicans do.

Importantly, Rasmussen noted that when it interviewed survey respondents, Sen. Paul was not identified as the author of the quote.

Republicans have had a hard time delivering on things voters hoped for. Where, for example, has been Senate action on H.R. 38, the proposed national Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act? When Republicans took control of Capitol Hill, with Donald Trump in the White House, American gun owners whose votes carried Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio away from Hillary Clinton’s clutches expected action on this long-sought constitutional accommodation. Passage of legislation by the House was appreciated, but the Senate has not finished the job.

There may be some “squishy” Republicans who talk about gun rights without really believing in such rights, and maybe Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to unmask them, but now is as good a time as any. Gun owners have been living on promises long enough.

A separate Rasmussen survey reveals that 43 percent of likely voters think the country is headed in the right direction, but 52 percent say the nation is on the wrong path. Last year at this time, 45 percent thought the country was going the right way under newly-inaugurated President Trump.

The past year has seen the Republican majority unable to repeal Obamacare, and one might suspect the economic growth experienced over the past 12 months happened in spite of Republicans rather than because of them.

As noted previously, Rasmussen revealed Monday that a startling majority (55%) of likely voters “would rather have a partial government shutdown until Congress can agree to either cut spending or keep it the same.” That doesn’t signify much public faith in government. Only 31 percent wouldn’t like to see a partial shutdown.

It has long been considered a cornerstone of conservatism that “the best government is that which governs least.” Attributed alternately to Henry David Thoreau or Thomas Jefferson, the phrase actually appears to have been first used in United States Magazine and Democratic Review, according to legal scholar Eugene Volokh, writing in the Washington Post last year.

Regardless who said it first, the principle still makes sense today. If the GOP wants to retain power, it needs to take the philosophy to heart, and stop relying on conservative voter support because they deserve more than lip service.