America The Conflicted

All right, America, what do you really want?

04.22.11 11:07 PM ET

You’re so hard to figure out sometimes.

We in the punditry business pore over the polls so we can go on TV and intone with great authority, “The American people have clearly indicated…”

But sometimes you seem so…what’s the word, distant? Confused? Utterly convinced of your right to have contradictory things?

How can the politicians pander to you if you can’t make up your mind?

The latest CBS/New York Times poll is filled with more conflicting signals than a downtown with broken traffic lights. People want that big bad deficit cut, right? Well, sure, but only 29 percent said that would create more jobs. Another 29 percent said it would cost jobs, and 27 percent said it would have no effect. What’s a budget-cutter to do?

But they obviously want to cut Big Government down to size. Fifty-five percent say they’d rather have fewer services from a smaller federal bureaucracy than more services from a bigger one.

Except…60 percent say they believe Medicare is worth the cost. And they’d rather pay higher taxes if it meant keeping Medicare services. And a majority don’t like the Paul Ryan plan of turning it into a voucher program. Got that?

Ah, but there is consensus on one point. Seventy-two percent are just fine with the Obama plan to end tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000.

Why is that? Most people aren’t rich. Fine to tax those other folks.

America, you drive me crazy.