Free Markets, Free People

The Importance Of Wednesday’s Speech

Charlie Cook, one of the more respected political analysts, has a piece in the National Journal that patiently explains what the left and Democrats still don’t seem to understand – they won, but they didn’t win what they think they won.

In fact, they won much less than that. “Change”, as defined by many independents who put Barack Obama and the Democrats in office, had little to do with expanding government. And within a span of a few months, the entire political dynamic changed, but apparently the left missed it:

Independent voters — fired up by the war in Iraq and Republican scandals — gave Democrats control of both chambers of Congress in 2006. Two years later, independents upset with President Bush and eager to give his party another kick expanded the Democratic majorities on the Hill. Late in the campaign, the economic downturn, together with an influx of young people and minorities enthusiastic about Obama, created a wave that left the GOP in ruins.

That was then; this is now. For the seven weeks from mid-April through the first week of June, Obama’s weekly Gallup Poll approval rating among independents ran in the 60-to-70 percent range. But in four of the past five weeks, it has been only in the mid-to-high 40s. Meanwhile, Democrats and liberals seem lethargic even though Republicans and conservatives are spitting nails and can’t wait to vote.

Why? Cook explains the basics of what has happened:

While political analysts were fixated on last fall’s campaign and on Obama’s victory, inauguration, and first 100 days in office, two other dynamics were developing. First, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression scared many voters, making them worry about their future and that of their children and grandchildren. And the federal government’s failure to prevent that calamity fundamentally undermined the public’s already low confidence in government’s ability to solve problems. Washington’s unprecedented levels of intervention — at the end of Bush’s presidency and the start of Obama’s — into the private sector further unnerved the skittish public. People didn’t mind that the head of General Motors got fired. What frightened folks was that it was the federal government doing the firing.

Many conservatives predictably fear — and some downright oppose — any expansion of government. But late last year many moderates and independents who were already frightened about the economy began to fret that Washington was taking irreversible actions that would drive mountainous deficits higher. They worried that government was taking on far more than it could competently handle and far more than the country could afford. Against this backdrop, Obama’s agenda fanned fears that government was expanding too far, too fast. Before long, his strategy of letting Congress take the lead in formulating legislative proposals and thus prodding lawmakers to take ownership in their outcome caused his poll numbers on “strength” and “leadership” to plummet.

These fears haven’t been allayed one bit. In fact, they’ve been ignored completely as Democrats continue their approach to the issue of health care. Americans are telling them, in every poll and every townhall meeting, to back off the direction they seem to be insisting on taking. One of the implications in Cook’s assessment of why Republicans were kicked out in 2006 and again in 2008 was a growing frustration with the deafness of the Repubicans. They weren’t listening. They moved ahead with their agenda and never seemed to consider what their constituents were saying.

The Democrats are in exactly the same sort of loop. They’ve finally got the power, they’ve either misinterpreted their mandate or are simply ignoring the people for the chance to pass what they’ve long wanted to pass and are very close to paying a huge political price for doing so. Cook addresses that point:

With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to improve the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away. These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.

If you take an objective look at the situation under which the Republicans lost their power, Cook’s formula was precisely how it played out. If you take an equally objective look at how this situation is forming up, you can indeed see what Cook is talking about repeating itself for Democrats.

And that brings us to the Obama health care speech on Wednesday – many are calling it a “make or break” speech. I’m of the opinion that it is more likely to be too little too late. Popular support for any bill is trending down. Popular support for the Democrat’s version(s) has been trending down. Obama’s approval ratings concerning health care have been falling.

Unless Obama has some startling new ideas, never before discussed which will be introduced and promise to be pleasing to both sides, he’s stuck with attempting to repackage and spin the same old tired arguments which have, to this point, been pretty well rejected.

Wednesday’s speech could indeed still be a “make or break” speech, but not for health care. Instead it may make or break Democratic support (depending on the President’s stance on the public option) and sound the death knell for Democratic Congressional control and, possibly, the presidency. It is indeed an important speech – but not for the reasons Democrats think.

~McQ

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15 Responses to The Importance Of Wednesday’s Speech

  • McQAmericans are telling them, in every poll and every townhall meeting, to back off the direction they seem to be insisting on taking. One of the implications in Cook’s assessment of why Republicans were kicked out in 2006 and again in 2008 was a growing frustration with the deafness of the Repubicans. They weren’t listening. They moved ahead with their agenda and never seemed to consider what their constituents were saying.

    I’m not sure that I agree with this. IMO, the GOP got torpedoed in ’06 in part because the GOP in Congress appeared to be doing NOTHING. Who were the faces of the GOP majority then? Denny Hastert, who seemed to be a live-action Jabba the Hutt minus the personality; and Trent “Foghorn Leghorn” Lott, who came across as a total buffoon. Add the unpopularity of George Bush and the war in Iraq, and things were not well for the GOP.

    It got worse in ’08. Eight straight years of “two minute hates” against Bush took their toll, and the GOP chose as its new standard bearer… John McCain, a man loathed by their own conservative base for his role in McCain-Feingold and his reputation as a “maverick”, i.e. a man with absolutely no loyalty to his party. When MiniTru went into full Goebbels mode, plumping for the youthful, well-spoken, exciting democrat candidate… The predictable happened.

    Now, the shoe’s on the other foot. The dems have been in control, and their arrogance, corruption, and stupidity have been on full display. In the place of Fatso Hastert, we have SanFran Nan, one of the most hateful and stupid politicians in memory. In the place of Foghorn, we have Dingy Harry, a feckless, clueless, blundering fool. The bloom is also of TAO’s rose: he’s not youthful, well-spoken, and exciting: he’s an unprepared, teleprompter reader who’s big government proclivities would make Stalin take notes.

    The problem in all of this is that NEITHER party has to offer anything to win: they merely have to appear not as bad as the other side. This is a sorry thing for the future of our country: “Vote for Smith: less crooked than the other guy!”

    • Yes, it’s depressing. It’s like two drunk idiots fighting over the steering wheel as they head towards the cliff at 90 mph. Neither seems to have a glimmering that the cliff is there, or maybe don’t care. They’re so totally fixated on being the one in control of the steering wheel, nothing else matters.

  • Let’s not forget, like the Democrats and Republicans, that the largest single group of voters, by party, is now “none of the above” (i.e. independents).
    While the Democrats and Republicans fight “over control of the steering wheel”, the independents have (excuse the Vick-ian reference) “no dog in that fight”. They only care about the outcome of legislation that effects them, and this is where Obama “screwed the pooch”.

    “If you like what you’re getting, keep it,” Obama said. “Nobody is forcing you to shift.”

    According to the Associated Press, “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn’t about to barge in and force people to change insurance.”

    Obama lost the independents here. In a bold face lie that wasn’t supposed to be taken literally. Yes Barry, words do have consequences.

  • Instead it may make or break Democratic support (depending on the President’s stance on the public option) and sound the death knell for Democratic Congressional control and, possibly, the presidency. It is indeed an important speech – but not for the reasons Democrats think.

    ***

    If you think the media will allow that, you’re sorely mistaken. The fight has just begun.

  • shark
    the media is not a player anymore – intelligent folks ignore
    and accept only what they can glean after research now
    bho is lame as we speak- the voters and activitist have lost
    confidence in him – he lied just like they believe George Bush lied
    but bho really did lie!
    No trust!!!

    • the media is not a player anymore

      ***

      Don’t delude yourself.

    • I agree with shark. Yes, some people are very careful about what information they get from MiniTru, but most people still reflexively believe almost everything they see on the news or read in the papers or on a news website. Further, most people are not especially interested in politics unless there’s a hot election or contentious issue, and even then the “research” they do is geared toward reinforcing their preconceived notions. MiniTru can have a field day with people like this.

  • While the herd members are content to be led by their snoots to their ultimate demise they don’t care for a shepherd that is rudely arrogant, it stirs their american idol sensibilities. Its OK to be rude to other but they won’t accept rudeness themselves and the dems have been rude.
    ————
    Think *feelings* here, there is no logic involved.
    ————
    If intellect was alive and well in the USSA we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now and every lamp post on Pennsylvania Av would be occupied with bloated pork belly’s.

  • So over vacation Obama and his brains trust decided to come out swinging with the full force of Obama’s charisma and speechifying.

    First, the schoolchildren, then both Houses of Congress, and finally the full UN Assembly (to discuss nuclear non-proliferation without mentioning Iran and North Korea). I almost can’t believe it.

    Hubris, thy name is Obama.

    Can this possibly work?

  • Notice that Charlie Cook said that the Dems arehemorrhaging independents. Bleeding from an uncapped wound. What to do?

    My thesis is that The Clown™ still believes that if he only passes some reform of health care along the lines of what he has been trying to do all along, it will rescue him. In fact, more of the independents, including, for the first time, seniors, will move away from the Dems and towards either staying home or voting for the GOP.

    59 days from today is the first test, in VA and NJ. You will see how bad it gets for Demmies when perhaps even Ted Kennedy’s seat might be in danger (that is, if Curt Schilling runs). If that happens – and if Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, and Arlen Specter look to be in continuing trouble – watch as the Demmies get more and more panicky. They realize what 1994 did to them; perhaps an 1894 would really wake them up. But I doubt it.

    • “You will see how bad it gets for Demmies when perhaps even Ted Kennedy’s seat might be in danger (that is, if Curt Schilling runs). If that happens – and if Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, and Arlen Specter look to be in continuing trouble – watch as the Demmies get more and more panicky. They realize what 1994 did to them; perhaps an 1894 would really wake them up. But I doubt it.”

      1) There’s no way in hell a Republican would ever get within shouting distance of winning Teddy’s seat- even if Schilling ran

      2) Reid, Dodd and Specter are all unique cases – Dodd is a hemmorhoid of a human being, more corrupt than even Charlie Rangel to the point where it can’t be glossed over. Specter is despised and distrusted on all sides, and nobody would miss him. It’s probable that the Dems retain that seat regardless. Reid……well he’s just a piece of excrement. It WOULD be sweet to see the GOP oust successive Dem. Senate leaders from their seats ;)

      3)I’m of the school of thought that if the next election looks bleak, the Dems and Baracky will go all in and shove whatever they can down our throats before they get slapped by the voters. Even with GOP gains, they won’t be able to undo it.

  • On the other hand, I do not believe that the GOP is going to do as well in 2010 as they are now predicting. They still have no direction, no leadership, and people have not forgotten how bad they were.

    So all they really have is the growing anti-democrat sentiment. They will certainly make gains, but not much more than is average to the party out of power in a mid term election.

    Democrats still have huge advantages, unions, solid minority vote, media, groups like Acorn, and unscrupulousness. Remember if a race is very close the Democrats will always steal it.

  • He’s pretty much in the same situation we the voters usually find ourselves’ in, choosing between the lesser of 2 evils. On the one hand he drop the public option in his speech and lose the left wing extremist and gain support of the centrist and possibly get reelected. On the other hand he can demand a public option and possibly get it passed ensuring he doesn’t have a chance for reelection.

    I think it comes down to whether he wants to stroke his ego or maintain his socialist agenda.

  • The importance of Wednesday’s speech is how unimportant it is, how wearying the prospect of it is, and most of all just how early in this bad faith presidency it is so very wearying and unimportant.

    Someone described the (now resigned) “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones as “Jeremiah Wright behind a White House desk.”

    I think that Van Jones is a surfacing Barack Obama’s id and I expect that with Jones quitting it will surface elsewhere, by necessity.