Free Markets, Free People


GOP–pay attention to this poll

Pay attention to this because it is important:

The portion of Americans who say they believe the U.S. is on the wrong track is higher than it was at any point during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, when unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent after the 1981-82 recession, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. The ABC poll showed the wrong-track number during Reagan’s first term peaking at 57 percent in October 1982. The Bloomberg poll shows 66 percent of Americans think the U.S. is going in the wrong direction now.

This is the number I continue to talk about because to me it is the truest indication of the mood of the country.  The mood is obviously critical to the re-election, and wrong track polling has consistently indicated the way previous elections are going to go.  There is a threshold that portends bad news for the incumbent, and we’re well past that.  The question is, will it stay there?  The answer seems to be, by all indications and forecasts, yes.

As the public grasps for solutions, the Republican Party is breaking through in the message war on the budget and economy. A majority of Americans say job growth would best be revived with prescriptions favored by the party: cuts in government spending and taxes, the Bloomberg Poll shows. Even 40 percent of Democrats share that view.

This should be something every GOP politician should have tattooed on his or her inner eyelid to help them focus.  Concentrate on the message about the economy – it’s a winner.  Wander off into wedge issues and you give your opponent an opening and a way to distract the public.   If you do that you deserve to lose.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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39 Responses to GOP–pay attention to this poll

  • Wander off into wedge issues and you give your opponent an opening and a way to distract the public.

    Sure, but to the SoCons, the only reason they are in politics is those very wedge issues. From their point of view, for example, abortion is mass murder, and so it’s simply higher on their priority list than anything else. Other issues, such as gay issues, creationism in schools, etc., are usally a matter of the will of God, and so also very high on their list. They may be generally sympathetic to proposals to cut spending, debt, and regulation, but those are *not* the reasons they are active in politics.

    That’s why I’m pessimistic about any real grand alliance to fix our problems with a focus on limited government. I don’t see how we ever get social conservatives focused enough on limited government issues to put aside their SoCon issues. So the public will indeed be distracted as long as the SoCons are a part of the coalition on the right. Reagan was marginally successful with mollifying the SoCons, but we’re in a much more fractious and dangerous era.

    • Agreed on the SoCons/theocratic fascists. Their view is it is the job of the Feds to enforce a certain narrow religious view on everyone else. The GOP is wasting their time with them and would be better served with a coalition of fiscal hawks, social libertarians, and independents. Most independents I know, including myself, don’t want the Feds telling us what to do in our bedrooms. I like much of what Ryan and Daniels have done, for example, and the SoCons add nothing to the mix.

      • The only way to make an alliance would be to explain to them that the left is going to ban their religion and beliefs, so at least under libertarianism, they could keep their religion and beliefs.

    • Um…bullshit, Billy.
      BIG GOVERNMENT is the unifying factor.  Most SoCons are REACTIVE to BIG GOVERNMENT (i.e., Roe’s imposition of homogenized, Federalized abortion on demand) incursions.
      SoCons can’t be ignored or “mollified”…except at risk of alienating them.  They have to be simply reminded of the common enemy; BIG GOVERNMENT.

      • Rags, you try talking to someone who wants to stop teaching evolution for a while, and come back and tell me it’s BS. Talk to someone who injects the phrase “killing babies” into every conversation about politics.

        Sure, from a theoretical view, you can make a connection between limited government principles and some of these SoCon positions. But I’m telling you, the ones I talk to are motivated first and foremost by those SoCon issues, and those issues require more government intervention in several areas, not less.

        Do they want lower taxes? Sure, except for a few deluded idealistic liberals, who doesn’t? John Kerry wants lower taxes, and he proved it with his boat. Doesn’t make them good allies for limited government.

        Do they loathe liberals? Sure, because those liberals are de facto from a different religion, namely the religion that government is the solution to all problems and that God isn’t needed. They may work against the left because of that conflict of visions, but they absolutely have no intention of shutting up or being moderate about their touch-button issues.

        That has consequences for alienation of voters in the middle, and for young liberals who are beginning to see that their faith-in-government religion is a failure. It makes the task of bringing together a critical mass of people who will accept massive changes to solve current problems before they spiral out of control much tougher. Asserting otherwise sounds like BS to me.

        • Rags, you try talking to someone who wants to stop teaching evolution for a while…

          Why, though, Billy?  Because they have no (or very little practical) choice in where they can send their kids.
          Why?  Because there is a monopoly (essentially) in education, and that by virtue of BIG GOVERNMENT.  And the material taught is OFTEN inimical to people of faith…or anybody with a values system not based in the Collective.  (See Maryland, predicates for graduation).
          All this is the result of concentrating power and limiting choices.  I know SoCons who LIKE Blue Laws, but NONE of them would propose making them Federal.  Texas has dry counties, which I think are dumb, but I would not support a move to MANDATE liquor sales state-wide, and no SoCon I know would push for state prohibition.  See?
          But it is hardly “mollifying” people to help them shift there focus (or broaden it) to understand that the concentration of power in BIG GOVERNMENT is the root of MOST evils in our  civil society.

          • RaspierreI know SoCons who LIKE Blue Laws, but NONE of them would propose making them Federal.  Texas has dry counties, which I think are dumb, but I would not support a move to MANDATE liquor sales state-wide, and no SoCon I know would push for state prohibition.  See?


            I understand your good federalist point and I believe that you are being honest, but I suggest that there is a very understandable trust issue: is it reasonable to believe that somebody who wants a law at one level certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it at a higher level, or would even actively support having such a law at a higher level?  Would you, for example, trust somebody like Captain Bullsh*t or SanFran Nan if they claimed that they ONLY want abortion to be legal in Cook County, IL or San Francisco and would never DREAM of trying to legalize it on a national level?

            The thing about “social cons” (and their liberal counterparts, for that matter) is that they honestly believe that their positions are good for society, as good as laws against murder, rape, theft, fraud, etc.  If one truly believes that this law or that is good for everybody, then doesn’t it make sense to want it to apply to everybody?  Let’s face it: that’s how we got into Prohibition and our current fix with regard to abortion.

          • Would you, for example, trust somebody like Captain Bullsh*t or SanFran Nan if they claimed that they ONLY want abortion to be legal in Cook County, IL or San Francisco and would never DREAM of trying to legalize it on a national level?
            Well, you sort of answer your question for me.  In the case of people like those you named, HELL NO!  We know they are lying Collectivists.
            But the reality of the anti-Roe people (me) is that we NEVER suppose that abortion will be universally outlawed.  It won’t be.  Reversing Roe would just return the question to where it belongs…the states…which is where it HAD been for our entire history.  I am sanguine with that.
            I think you paint SoCons with way too broad a brush IF we differentiate between SMALL GOVERNMENT and BIG GOVERNMENT types.  Which is sort of my definition of Conservative…small government.  Prohibition was a PROGRESSIVE deal (and, yeah, it had religious thrust behind it).

          • Ragspierre - I think you paint SoCons with way too broad a brush IF we differentiate between SMALL GOVERNMENT and BIG GOVERNMENT types.  Which is sort of my definition of Conservative…small government.

            Perhaps, but I suggest that Americans generally have embraced two dangerous habits of thought:

            1.  The Puritan-era belief that society is perfectable, and that it is the government’s job to define and enforce “perfection” (more simply, the idea that butting into other people’s business is not only accetptable but outright desirable), and;

            2.  The Progressive-era belief, reinforced by the “successes” of the federal government with regard to the New Deal, World War II, and the Space Race, that only the national government has the power to truly solve problems because state / local governments are too easily corrupted and / or too lacking in the power to stand up to powerful corporate interests.

            So, we have a combination of do-gooderism and belief in the efficacy of centralized authority.  A bad, bad combination no matter what side of the social fence people are on.

            I don’t say that all social conservatives embrace these habits of thought; I will go so far as to say that not all liberals do, either.  I think that many people want to be left the hell alone and are willing to extend the same courtesy to their neighbors.  However, I think that many more find the urge to rule irresistable and using the power of the federal government to do so to be a perfectly natural and acceptable means to that end.

  • Sound advice.
    But they still have to get over this – quoted from the article:

    Even so, the public remains ambivalent about the Republican Party’s economic stewardship. Asked to rate Obama’s vision for the economy against that of the Republicans, poll respondents favor the president’s by 40 percent to 37 percent, though that is a deterioration from a 12-percentage-point advantage Obama maintained three months ago.

    Not insurmountable, but difficult.  By Nov. 2012, who knows?  All depends on the candidate.  I still don’t see anyone in the race to date unseating Obama.

    Hair of the dog sounds good in theory, but bringing yourself to take that sip …

    Cheers.

    • ” I still don’t see anyone in the race to date unseating Obama.”

      Then perhaps I should enter one of my two Great Dane mixes – ah, dammit, they’re not 35…otherwise they’d be as useful in the job as the current occupant and better than some of the Republican candidates.

      • Tell me, do your Danes lean against you?  And are your Danes, like mine, scared of their own shadow?  I love my Dane “Hamlet”; he’s awesome, but he lacks the fortitude his size and regal stature affords him.  He’s a big baby.  A big, lovable baby.

        I have no doubt that you could convince most here that your dogs could do a better job than Obama, trouble is with the electorate.  Do you think that the current crop of GOP hopefuls have a chance against Obama?  And if so, which candidates do you see rising above the rest?

        Cheers.

        • Two female mixes – one, Bridgit, is as my son calls her, a ‘ninja’  she’s always lurking quietly in the background, Stacey, the other is a mighty coward – I can’t even come into the house sometimes without her going through a “you’re here to kill me, I just know it” phase.  Both rescues, I’d like to find the sumbitch who had them originally to find out what the hell he did to them.

          Damn, they DO look regal though don’t they?  We’ve been accused of walking Shetland ponies at 0Dark:30.   Why is it people always assume big dogs are automatically mean dogs?  Defense mechanism I guess, better safe than sorry.

          Anyway, Republican candidates?
          Geeze, not a one am I happy with – I was starting to take a look at Cain until he went non-linear with the gay issues.
          Romney? of Romenycare -  no thanks -
          Bachman?  I need to see if she’s as crazy as a coot, from what I recall she had some observations to make a while back that made me wince.
          Palin?  Nice enough person,  I’m just not feeling she’s Presidential material.
          Gingrich?  bwaaahahahahahahahahaha.
          Ron Paul?  Non-starter, not enough appeal to win all other issues aside.
          MCcain – Did I see right yesterday he’s mumbling again?  Good Lord.  And never saw a war he didn’t like.
          Perry? – Not in love with him, his inoculation edict and the Trans Texas Corridor both actually made me pay attention in a negative way, again, other issues aside.

          You see my dilemma?

          Some of these guys I don’t know enough about, others what I do know I can’t forget based on their latest “make me President!  I’ve Changed!  Really!” campaigns.

           

        • See “Amy” below – while I’m not necessarily a Socon her post sums up where I’m at – Rino’s and Crazy SoCons is all I’m being offered.

          (Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you….)

  • Billy Hollis: Then win elections without us.

    • Well, we won elections *with* you, and exactly what did that get us? Or you, for that matter?

      Winning elections means nothing, unless the focus and will come out of those elections to enact serious change.

      And don’t forget that, even though SoCons add votes, they also *subtract* votes by driving away those who like the economic message but are unwilling to have their moral decisions made for them by others. So it’s tough to win elections either way. As I said, I don’t see much possibility for a grand coalition with SoCons to attack our problems. So I’m willing to try something else, knowing it might fail and it’s a risk.

      Adopting a strategy just because it wins elections, when it’s already shown lack of results afterwards, doesn’t look like a very good idea.

      • …are unwilling to have their moral decisions made for them by others…

        Geez, Billy.  Beneath you.  You mean like whether to steal or murder?  Weak.

        • I hate it when that lawyerly rhetoric side of you comes out. That’s not what I mean and you know it.

          • Well, I SUPPOSE I do know what you mean, but I can’t differentiate.
            Virtually ALL laws…but especially criminal laws…are morality-based.
            I see your argument as being one where…since you OPPOSE some moral issues you ascribe to SoCons…YOU are the one seeming to pick a fight.
            Why not simply be more consistent and say, “Look, the real issue here is not about who gets possession of the football, but taking that football off the field entirely.  Let’s return all these issues to the realm of persuasion, taking them back out of the realm of power.  At least, let’s bring them back to the most local levels of government, which would allow all of us maximum choice.”
            I think that is a winning appeal all around.  And you know how I always seek to be agreeable…

    • Well you can stand on your principles and watch the Boy King and his second term in the White House starting in 2012 – what’s it gonna be?  Practical or principled?

  • 1) If they don’t like the way the USA is going, which way would they want it to go?
    2) How many citizens have a clue of how the economy and government work? Can they back away from ESPN, Comedy Central, and MTV long enough to find out?
    I’d like America merely to move in the direction of having it’s head out of it’s ass.

  • I’ll never underestimate the ability of Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Dole, McCain, Romney.
    And, the utter failure to fulfill the 1994 Contract With America convinced me that the majority of RINOs and wimps will stop any progress at reining in government and increasing freedom.
    Limbaugh has been playing Ronald Reagan’s speech at the Statue of Liberty before the 1980 election, contrasting it to the pussified candidates of today.  Reagan’s problem was that he didn’t stick to the principles he espoused in his speeches.  But the current runners with any chance of getting the nomination can’t even give a solid speech.  Rick Perry might be an exception, but I’ve heard him say a number of idiotic things.  (No, I don’t count his remarks about secession.  I’d love for Texas to cut ties with Washington.)
    If the Republicans can’t make Obama a one-term president, their entire leadership, campaign staff, and long-term office holders should be shipped off to Patagonia.

    • I don’t think you were paying attention.  The contract with America was a promise to bring around ten items up for a vote.  They did.  I think they passed about half of them.
      How was the actual contract not fulfilled, as opposed to what the MSM seems to have made you merely believe what the contract was?

      • It was ten items and they passed all ten. All but a couple were by overwhelming margins (380-50 or so). The Dems whined and moaned but they voted for them.
        Of course, very little of it was ever enforced, rather like Gramm-Rudman.

      • The Contract was a failure because the end result of the election was, for the most part, business as usual.  They did put Clinton’s feet to the fire on the budget and brought it close to balance.  Otherwise, they failed to change the system enough to keep Bush (with a Republican Congress) and Obama from running up the deficit to insane levels.
        Telling me that they voted on bills is a bit like telling the utility company that you filled out a check and sealed it in an envelope.  If that envelope got stuffed into your bookcase, the bill never got paid.  You don’t get credit for writing the check, only when the money is in their account.
        The RINOs and wimps in the Senate tanked all the radical changes passed by Gingrich’s House, which is why those of us who had put our hopes on the 104th staving off the ruination learned our lesson not to trust Republicans, ever again.  The 107th-109th only confirmed that, in spades.  Bush was horrible for a multitude of reasons (two wars, massive spending, prescription drug program), but then they nominated John McCain, one of the worst of the RINOs.  No political party that does those things can be taken seriously.
        I have fundamental problems with subjecting moral questions to the whims of the mob and no longer give my “permission” to politicians to violate my neighbors’ rights.  But that aside, if I were a voter, I’d never again do anything to help the Republican party, beyond criticizing the Democrats more.
        I hope Obama loses in 2012, but that would almost certainly accomplish little more than a slight postponement of the impending fiscal disasters.

        • “Telling me that they voted on bills is a bit like telling the utility company that you filled out a check and sealed it in an envelope.  If that envelope got stuffed into your bookcase, the bill never got paid.  You don’t get credit for writing the check, only when the money is in their account.”
          Nonsense.  That Congress did exactly what they said it would do.  Later Congresses were not merely not all the same people, the electorate changed by what 15, 20% in the intervening time.  By your measure the Founders were failures, I’ll at least allow the jury is still out.

          • Why didn’t Republicans pass a balanced budget amendment?  Because Bob Freakin’ Dole voted against it.  Then they nominated this guy to run against Clinton.
            1994 and your “jury” is still out?  It’s nearly two decades later.  Your “jury” died of starvation while being sequestered.  Didn’t you think to check on them in all this time?
            As for the founders, that many of them actually presumed to own other human beings, even after declaring to the British that all people “were created equal” and “endowed with inalienable rights … life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  And still, they kept those black people in bondage for the rest of their one and only lives. *spit*
            I side with those who say that the US Constitution was a counter-revolutionary document, and that the first three words are an abject lie. Lysander Spooner made the case 150 years ago.

  • Fiscal responsibility ??

    * Democrats call for new stimulus
    WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – Democratic leaders called on Wednesday for new spending and tax cuts to boost the sluggish U.S. economy, setting up a fresh hurdle for bipartisan efforts to head off a government debt default this summer.

    All I can say is …  Dude ! …  these guys really belief in that never waste a crisis, even went it’s a debt crisis.

  • This is where the Tea Party could be a detriment. The electorate is concerned about jobs and the economy and the deficit later on. The Tea Party is concerned about the deficit mainly. Pushing against the deficit may not lead to more jobs, and many voters may not connect that either. Thus, I’d say Pawlenty was right with his “shoot for 5% growth” line – focus on the economy first and the deficit second. (And by second I don’t mean ignore it, just don’t make it the primary issue.)

    • There is no future if the debt crisis is ignored

      • Yes, but until the public fully wakes up, it won’t be the winning ticket. And since economic growth would help the deficit too, its not unreasonable to link them, but focus more (say 60/40) on the growth aspect.
        In fact, if you only did deficit cutting, I’m not sure that would be wise either. Better than nothing, but I think you need some reforms to jump start the economy as well.

  • Nay, nay!  People don’t want cuts (in programs THEY personally use), and the politicians certainly do not.  Why, you would rob them of their ability to buy votes best serve the public interest and take care of the most vulnerable amongst us?  Heavens forbid!  Much better to deal with wedge issues that can’t easily be solved, make for good campaign advertisements, and above all don’t require a lot of complicated jiggering of budget numbers.

    HarunThis is where the Tea Party could be a detriment. The electorate is concerned about jobs and the economy and the deficit later on. The Tea Party is concerned about the deficit mainly. Pushing against the deficit may not lead to more jobs, and many voters may not connect that either.


    First of all, I agree with Neo: if we don’t get the debt under some semblence of control there won’t be a future: our kids will paper the walls of their cold houses with greenbacks, because that will be all they are good for.

    Second, the debt / deficit – i.e. government hogging all the money and generally mismanaging too much in our country – is the root cause of our economic ills.  I think that the Tea Party’s focus on the budget is a proxy for the real problem: a government that is too big, too powerful, too intrusive, and hence destructive of our liberties AND our pocketbooks.

    • Deficit cutting alone will help growth in the longer term, I agree.
      But I think the electorate will say “that’s nice, but what about NOW.”
      And the Dems will use “Kill Grandma, and the GOP doesn’t care about unemployed people” and get re-elected.
      Just an example: cutting the Dept. of Education is fine, but will that jump start investment in oil drilling in the USA? NO.

  • A majority of Americans say job growth would best be revived with prescriptions favored by the party: cuts in government spending and taxes,

    That should read ‘ostensibly favored by the party.’ For a long time, Republican candidates have blathered about how they’re fiscally responsible, but when the rubber meets the road … not so much. Their only real pluses are that they’re less fiscally irresponsible than the Dems and more vulnerable to Tea Party pressure.

  • I desperately want a decent Republican/not Obama candidate for both deficit and national security issues – has anyone noticed that the entire freaking world is in total turmoil right now (ok, maybe not Guam)?
    As a fiscal conservative, and a social conservative, in that I believe it’s none of the government’s business (or mine please!) who has sex with who, all I can see is dreck.  What the Republicans are offering now is a bunch of people who seem to be either RINOs like Romney or crazy Socons and no one who seems to have any idea what to do when the entire Middle East goes up in flames.  Although I would trust a few of them to cut a few billion in programs for giggles…