Today’s good news
One more time for those who continue to believe all these Tea Party demonstrations are founded on the right and favor the Republicans:
A majority disapprove of both political parties, their leaders and most members of Congress, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
Attitudes are reminiscent of those in 1994 and 2006, when control of Congress switched from one party to the other.
The favorable rating for the Democratic Party has fallen to its lowest level since Gallup began asking the question in 1992 —its standing has dropped 14 percentage points since President Obama’s election — but the Republican Party fares no better. Three of four Americans say they are dissatisfied with the country’s direction.
It isn’t just anti-incumbent fever, it is anti-party fever. How many times do I have to say that these Tea Parties are the tip of a very big iceberg and it doesn’t necessarily represent just the right-wing? I’d certainly say that for the most part you’ll find very few from the left in there because their nominal party of choice is in power. But these protests probably represent the big middle more than any I’ve seen in my life time.
I know I sound like a broken record when I continue to say that what happened late in ’08 and early ’09 with the financial crisis, TARP, the bailouts and the takeovers slapped a whole bunch of people awake. I travel – a lot. And I’m around everyday Americans constantly. And I hear them talk among themselves. Normally it’s about the vacation they’re on, something personal in their lives, sports – whatever. But rarely if ever is it about politics, government or the like.
Until now. Now I hear it constantly. I hear older couples traveling together, for instance, in a small town diner in Tennessee talking about how big government is going to ruin us. I hear people in a BBQ joint in Alabama concerned about their financial future and saying government needs to get out of the way. I hear a hotel worker in the lobby of a Hampton Inn – a hotel worker – complain that this country is going to the dogs. I don’t know their party affiliation, if any, but I do know they’re pissed. I never hear that stuff usually, and trust me, I’m attuned to hearing it if it is being said. Politics is the last thing most people talk about in public. But there is a growing grassroots dislike for all that is the federal government and those that represent it. I’m not talking about violence, certainly not at this stage, but definitely a desire to do something about it. While the elite like to wave off the “I want my country back” crowd as ignorant rubes (or thugs, or angry white men, or nazis, or brownshirts or terrorists) who just don’t know what what’s good for them or what they’re talking about, that sentiment simmers not that far below the surface. People are concerned and people are getting angrier. I use the word “angrier” because they’ve been somewhat angry about this for some time. They’re getting angrier because they no longer just perceive their being ignored, they flat know they’re being ignored. And that really pisses them off.
Look at the cite above – 75% of the nation thinks we’re on the wrong track. That accounts for most Democrats (the 25% not mentioned) and Republicans probably make up another 25 to 30%). So that leaves 45 to 50% of the country unaffiliated and not at all happy with either party. And of course, remember, Democrats assumed that the election and ascension of Obama and their assumption of power was all that was necessary reverse that (because, you know, it was all about Bush). Well it didn’t, and in fact, it has gotten worse. That says something about the “wrong direction” with which the people are dissatisfied. The last administration and especially this administration have vastly expanded the size, scope and cost of government and racked up record deficits and debt. As that has happened this number has gotten worse. It’s not hard to figure out what they’re dissatisfied with, is it?
I think it could be safely assumed that at the moment their dissatisfaction is more likely to fall most heavily on the party in power, but if Republicans assume that means they’re in the driver’s seat, they’re simply wrong. Right now, if you look at the “my Representative deserves to be reelected” those numbers are below 50% and over 10 points lower than in ’94 when the GOP rode to victory in midterms because of dissatisfaction with Democrats. No matter how many times the GOP tries to sell it, this isn’t “just like” ’94 and they better figure that out quickly.
The rubes aren’t as dumb and certainly not as uninvolved as the political elite would like to assume they are. How the anger they now are feeling will work itself out remains to be seen. But, despite the assurances of the ruling class that by November this anger will all go away, especially if the economy turns around, this anger is not likely to dissipate. So we’ll see how it goes – whether it is an anti-incumbency midterm or a dump the Democrats midterm. While I’m sure a bunch of Democrats are going to be dumped, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a good number of Republicans lose their job – especially if they start waffling on the repeal promise and their principles. Their losses may put a Democrat in office, but it will be because another candidate took the Republican on and split the vote. And, if it is because they again abandoned their principles, deservedly so.
The politicians like to talk about how corporate America needs to change its culture. Well there is no establishment in this country more ripe for major cultural change than that in DC. And what I hope to see in November is an aroused electorate slap the crap out of those complacent scalawags and start that cultural change rolling. A pipe dream – maybe. But it may actually be one of the last chances the people have of “taking their country back”.