Americans Want Every Important Institution To Be Less Powerful Except The Military

Here’s the latest from Gallup on which institutions Americans think should have more and which should have less power:

In terms of today’s hot-button political discussions this shows that both sides have good cards to play in debates about labor unions. On the one hand, there’s appetite for curbing union power. On the other hand, a “countervailing forces” argument has good prospects if voters can be persuaded that strong labor unions will or do primarily use their power to counter the influence of major corporations, etc.


But to me what’s most telling and distressing about this poll is the extent to which the military stands above other institutions in public esteem. This means that no matter what people say about defense spending or the deficit, it will in practice be extremely difficult for mere politicians to ever win an argument with generals and admirals. It also means that standoffs between the White House and Congress are likely to continue to be framed (as the recent appropriations fight was) disproportionately in terms of their impact on the military.