At first blush, it’s rather surprising that 70 percent of Tea Partiers oppose Paul Ryan’s plan to phase out Medicare and Medicaid. Isn’t the Republican Party all about getting Big Gubmint off our backs?
But I think it’s a consequence of the divide between the Randian-talking-points-driven views of the institutional GOP on one side, and the Tea-leaning, birther-friendly, “take our country back,” impulse-driven rank and file on the other.
The research has been in on this matter for a while.
[A]mong white voters being ethnocentric is associated– independent of self-described ideology and other factors– with decreased support for means-tested welfare…. [W]hen it comes to social insurance programs[ ] you actually see the reverse. Ethnocentrism increases support.
That’s not the view of GOP elites like Paul Ryan, whose few misremembered anecdotes from the Reagan era and dim awareness of something Hayek said once lead them to believe that government is always bad, even if it is helping white people (unless, of course, it’s targeting minorities or foreigners).