When it comes to balancing the federal budget, our country isn’t mythically “center right,” it is, in reality, ultra-left wing. From a recent 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll of American adults:

What would you do first to balance the budget?

In order to balance the budget, 61 percent of Americans would rather start by taxing the rich more and 20 percent would cut defense spending. Very few people would mess with Medicare (four percent) or cut Social Security (three percent).

An overwhelming majority of Americans think the absolute first thing we should do to balance the budget is increase taxes on the wealthy. There is a barely measurable, tiny minority that supports cutting the hallmarks of our liberal social safety net, Medicare and Social Security, before raising taxes on the rich or reducing our bloated defense budget.

This means the entire Congressional Republican caucus, with their near-unanimous opposition to tax increases of any kind and position that only spending cuts should be used to reduce the deficit, is dramatically outside the American mainstream on the issue deficit reduction.

If Democrats can’t exploit how significantly the elected Republican disagree with the American public on this issue in 2012 (when the Bush tax cuts are set again to expire), it will be an act of serious political malpractice.