NY-26: Aid to Pakistan, the New Democratic Wedge Issue?

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 19 2011 11:02 AM

NY-26: Aid to Pakistan, the New Democratic Wedge Issue?

ROCHESTER, NY -- After the debate last night, Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul told reporters that one of the areas of the budget she wants to cut is foreign aid.

"I'm looking at the defense budget," said Kochul. "I'm looking at our payments to foreign countries like Pakistan. I think we need to reevaluate some of those relationships."

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Hochul's echoing that message with a TV ad, most of which I captured in full grainy-o-vision before leaving my hotel today. "There is wasteful spending in Washington," says Hochul in the ad, "and I'm going to fight to get rid of it. I'd start with foreign aid to Pakistan, and every other country that doesn't support us."

Foreign aid is a classic wedge issue . Voters think it's much higher than it is . The Ryan budget, which Hochul opposes, makes deep cuts to it over time. Zeroing out all military and foreign aid to Pakistan would mean saving only $3 billion. But at this moment, it's nice, pungent populism.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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