To the victors go the spoils. And to the victorious Republicans went the prize, so they say, of throwing the federal budget on the bonfire in exchange for more jobs for out-of-work Americans down on their luck.
Two months after taking power, let's see how the Republican's slash-and-burn, Sherman-like march to the sea is working out for them, shall we.
A new NBC/WSJ poll released yesterday says that of the 26 different ways voters were given to reduce the federal budget deficit, the most popular were: Imposing a surtax on federal income taxes for those who make more than $1 million per year (81%); eliminating spending on earmarks (78%); eliminating funding for weapons systems the Defense Department says aren't necessary (76%); and eliminating tax credits for the oil and gas industries (74%).
The least popular choices were: cutting health care for the poor under Medicaid (32%); cutting health care for the elderly under Medicare (23%); cutting funding for K-12 education (22%); cutting funding for Social Security (22%).
As you may have noticed by the results above, the Republican Party's idea of carrying out its popular mandate is to do the exact opposite of what "The American People" says it actually wants done.
Just look at their record:
Since their 2010 election victory, Republicans held the nation hostage until they were able to blackmail Democrats to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans -- a position only 26% of Americans supported.
Republicans fought tooth and nail against proposed cuts to the manufacture of a secondary GE jet engine to a Raptor interceptor fighter that the Pentagon said it did not need and did not want even if it did mean $400 million in jobs for neighbors of the Speaker of the House.
Republicans yesterday unanimously voted against a measure to eliminate federal subsidies to rich oil, gas and coal companies.
Republicans voted to cut $600 million in IRS funding to go after rich (presumably Republican) tax cheats, which was obviously the point.
And, newly elected Republicans like Governor Walker in Wisconsin have proposed cutting local public education by nearly $1 billion over the next two years, and then refusing to allow local communities to raise property taxes to make up the difference.
At the same time, Republican assertions that eliminating all this "job-killing" government spending would instantly unleash the free market to create new jobs has so far met with bi-partisan skepticism.
Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, a campaign economic advisor to John McCain, says the Republican budget-cutting plan will cost the economy 700,000 jobs.
The Economic Policy Institute pegs the job loss tied to Republican cuts at more than 800,000.
The Center for American Progress warns that Republican cuts could force as many as 975,000 Americans from their jobs.
Even Wall Street bad boy Goldman Sachs thinks the GOP's plan is a loser that would shave 2% off GDP and push the economy closer to recession.
Oddly, Republicans seem pleased that Fed Chairman Bernanke predicted the GOP's budget cuts would only cost the nation a couple hundred thousand jobs.
But Steve Benen is certainly correct when he wonders why, in the middle of a recession and with unemployment at 9%, we would treat seriously a proposal that cost the economy any jobs at all?
So, to sum up:
The Republican Party claims a mandate to represent "The American People" by doing the exact opposite of what the people say they want -- and by overwhelming margins.
Republicans claim a mandate to reduce the deficit and bring spending under control, but then refuse to phase out expiring tax cuts for the super-rich, collect taxes that are already on the books or support budget cuts in federal subsidies if it means disadvantaging Republican constituents in the fossil fuel and defense industries.
And on their signature campaign issue of creating jobs, Republicans have proposed a budget cutting scheme that analysts across the political spectrum say will destroy jobs instead.
Based on the preponderance of the evidence so far, it is no longer plausible to think of Republicans as prudent conservatives who are merely trying to put our state and national fiscal houses in order. Instead, Republicans have mutated into radical right wing revolutionaries engaged in a massive, coordinated and thoroughly ideological campaign to dismantle government brick by brick, as well as all of those institutions, like labor unions and the Democratic Party, that support government.
But at the same time, Republicans have targeted only a particular kind of government - the kind used by ordinary people.
A government that gives taxpayer subsidies to big oil, gas and coal companies or lets billionaires like the Koch Brothers pollute the air for free - that kind of government gets full Republican support.
The kind of superpower government that starts unnecessary wars, doubles the budget for "national defense" in less than 10 years, creates whole industries in warmaking and homeland security whose only client is the US government and whose only visible means of income is you and me -- that kind of government gets a Republican high five.
The kind of government that builds more prisons, puts away people who don't look like Republicans, then arrests lots more who are guilty of crimes that aren't crimes today but will be soon if Republicans get their way - that kind of "Big Government" is perfectly square with our government-bashing GOP.
A couple of years ago, What's the Matter with Kansas author Thomas Frank came out with a new book that called modern "conservatives" the "The Wrecking Crew." Judged by their performance since gaining power so far, that's a shoe that definitely fits.