Sunday, February 7, 2010

Small Business Gallups to Front While Socialism Finishes Last

A recent poll by Gallup asks Americans a very simple question.

"Just off the top of your head, would you say you have a positive or negative image of each of the following?"

Small business95%4%
Free enterprise86%10%
Big business49%49%
Federal government46%51%

No surprise here for anyone familiar with the American public. Certainly there are ideological differences within the American public on these terms. And that sometimes confuses the ideologues, who tend to sort themselves with like-minded people. So 53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism, compared to 17% of Republicans.

The Republican Party does well to run against big government but hurts itself to be allied too closely with big business. They'll be in big trouble if the Democrats ever think to start tagging Republicans "big corporate socialists".

The Democratic Party would do well to leave any socialistic big government dreams behind, as that is never going resonate well with the American people as a whole. For example, pandering to the single payer advocates on health care reform was fatal. The American public saw right through the left's public option as single payer socialized medicine in waiting.

For the Democrats to succeed, they need to embrace issues like health care and job creation from the top of the list not the bottom. That is, from the perspective of small business and free enterprise. And leave the governing as much as possible to state and local government rather than the federal government.

It's not socialism if it comes from the bottom up instead of the top down. Leveling the playing field, fair competition, protecting consumer choice and quality, fostering philanthropy, creating opportunities for small business to provide needed social services. That kind of change Americans would support.

How to explain the 25% drop from free enterprise to capitalism? Capitalism is for the big guy and free enterprise is for the little guy. America identifies with whoever fights for the little guy, whether against the capitalist or against the socialist.

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