Meh. I’ve come to realize, given the last few wave elections, that if either of the two majority parties are in charge, little if anything will change significantly. Or said another way, for the next 2 years, we’re in for the same nonsense we’re suffering now and the only thing that will change is the name of the Senate majority leader.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of divided government. I like” do nothing” Congress, because divided government means fewer laws entailing government interference are likely to pass. However, that doesn’t change the fact that both parties are heavily invested in interfering with our lives. They simply have different priorities in that regard.
That said, let’s look at the mood of the country prior to the selection. POLITICO starts us off with a handy chart:
Too bad we don’t have the “none of the above option”. Me thinks the gray wedge would be significantly larger. As with most recent elections, there’s a large “hold your nose and vote” segment at play here.
However, that particular part of the poll isn’t the most interesting to me. These results say more about the “mood” than any:
– Terrorism: Eighty-four percent of voters say the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant poses a “serious” threat to the U.S. homeland, including 43 percent who say it poses a “very serious” threat. Just 12 percent said the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is not a serious concern.
This is an Obama made problem and he and the voters know it. And if it is an Obama-made problem, then it is also a problem for the Democrats. But more importantly, it reflects a belief is how poorly this administration has handled the terrorism problem. They didn’t buy the “JV” wave-off and, it seems, are much more able than our security experts to see the type and possibility of the threat ISIS poses to the US homeland. When you have an enemy that will go to any extreme to get to you and doesn’t mind if they die doing it, you have a formidable threat facing you. And while you may have more of a chance of being hit by lightning or winning the lottery than being a victim of ISIS terrorism here, please don’t try to sell these people on ISIS not being a threat here. This also reflects a tremendous amount of distrust the public in general have for anything this administration puts out there.
– Health care: Most voters believe their health care costs will go up under the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-seven percent said they believe their personal costs will increase, while only 7 percent said they will decrease. A third said their costs would remain the same. (At the same time, support for repealing Obamacare has continued to drop, now down to 41 percent.)
Here’s another huge trust in government issue that has been a disaster for Democrats. This is one they own lock, stock and barrel. Thus far they’ve been able to mostly manage the bad news to fall after elections. But that’s unlikely to help them when 2106 rolls around. ObamaCare has, for the most part, failed in every way possible. We now have reports of less people availing themselves of routine health care because the deductibles are so large they can’t afford the visits. If you don’t think this is a part of the mid-term calculations by voters then you have to believe there’s no reason to withhold the increases for insurance until after the election.
– Presidential management: Voters in the midterm battleground states are evenly split on whether President Barack Obama or George W. Bush was more effective at managing the federal government. Thirty-eighty percent named Bush, while 35 percent preferred Obama. A quarter of respondents said the two men were equally competent.
As hard as the left and Democrats worked to make Bush the poster boy for bad government, this one has to hurt. All hail the new poster boy, and the GOP hasn’t had to even break a sweat selling this one. Most, if not all of Obama’s failures have been via self-inflicted wounds. Will there be a portion of the voters who use the mid-terms as a referendum on the President? You bet there will. This guy is about as bad as we’ve ever had, and voters are going to make that point in November.
That brings us to this last issue in this particular poll which pretty well makes an important point I want made:
– Ebola: Only 22 percent of respondents said they had a lot of confidence that the government is doing everything it can to contain the contagious disease. Thirty-nine percent they had some confidence, while a third said they had little or no confidence. The poll concluded Oct. 11, before the hospitalization of the second nurse who treated an Ebola patient in Dallas.
Confidence in government and the competence of this administration are at rock bottom. I welcome that. Ebola just happens to be the latest issue to demonstrate both executive and bureaucratic fumbling and incompetence. The only consistent thing this administration has done is demonstrate that. The guy whose goal it was to make “government cool” again, has failed miserably. I welcome that as well. I’d like to see the point understood by more. Instead of success, we’ve seen an increasingly intrusive but ossified bureaucracy fail time after time when tasked to do their job. They may not know it, but that’s one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, that 64% of Americans believe “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” We’ve seen how politics has subverted our public servants into servants of the party in power. And we’ve also seen various government agencies hold themselves to be above the law in certain instances. How changing parties at midterm will change any of that remains a mystery.
Usually at this point before an election, analysts have decided who will decide the election. You remember “Soccer Moms” etc. Well, this year it’s simply “women”. Women will decide this. And the implication is that women have always been more of a Democratic constituency than a Republican one … for various reasons. Well, that may not pan out for the Dems this year and of all people, Tina Brown explains why:
But, you know, the fact is that Obama’s down with everybody, let’s face it, there’s a reason,” Brown said. “And I think that particularly for women. I don’t think it makes them feel safe. I think they’re feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they’re feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody. So there’s a slight sense of that.”
If you’re not feeling unsafe with this clown in office, then you have no fear. Security – safety – is one of the key reasons women consider a vote for a candidate (or so the experts tell us). If that’s the case and we go with the “women will decide the vote” meme, then Dems are in even worse shape than I thought.
And I welcome that as well.
POLITICO has a story out entitled “10 quotes that haunt Obama“. Haunt? I’d say they define him.
The 10 quotes, minus the POLITICO take on each, are:
“Washington is broken. My whole campaign has been premised from the start on the idea that we have to fundamentally change how Washington works.”
“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
“Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not.”
“Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.”
“I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular.”
“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
“It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
“I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President.”
“What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further. We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”
What they define is arrogance, cluelessness, flip flopping and failure. The gay marriage quote was one that ran in a gay newspaper in Chicago as Obama was running for the State Senate. When confronted with that later, he denied those were his words. Then, when it was politically important to embrace gay marriage, he “evolved” (what would be described as a ‘flip-flop’ for any other politician).
There are a ton of other quotes that could be on this list (“the private sector is doing fine” – arrogance and cluelessness). But these will do. They indicate a man who, for whatever reason, thinks an awful lot of himself while not demonstrating anything of substance to substantiate that feeling. That is why Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair. He could just as easily had a naked Obama mannequin up there with an emperor’s crown.
Washington is broken worse since he took office, Solyndra represents crony capitalism at its worst, he’s kicked the can around the cul-de-sac while passing an extraordinarily expensive medical insurance law against the wishes of the American people. Gitmo is still open, he’s done nothing on immigration but blatantly ignored the law, his arrogance still knows no bounds, but he’s damn sure no Ronald Reagan. Or Bill Clinton, for that matter.
So I say we hold him to quote 3. He has no interest in the economy, unemployment or jobs. He’s yet to meet with his jobs council, doesn’t attend his daily intel briefs (well he does now, since being called out on it) and would much rather campaign than meet with world leaders at the UN. He’s a guy who loves the perqs of the job, but seemingly isn’t real interested in the job itself.
And somehow we’re supposed to believe giving him 4 more years would improve on this record.
You are President of the United States. All 57 of them. And you have a challenge in front of you. The public is alarmed by the level of government debt and sharply rising deficits. Of course, being a “Constitutional law professor” you know that any action on this must be initiated by the House of Representatives since by law they are charged with the budget and appropriations. But because of a lack of confidence in the leadership of your party, as they held majorities in both chambers of Congress, the House was reclaimed by the opposition party who now enjoys a solid majority there.
So as a leader, you must address the reality of the situation, tone down the partisan rhetoric, make overtures to bipartisan cooperation and attempt to bridge the partisan gap that you and your party have helped create these past two years. Leadership 101.
Instead we got this – POLITICO lays it out for you:
President Barack Obama extended a fiscal olive branch to Republicans on Wednesday.
Then he beat them up with it. Obama’s long-anticipated speech on the deficit at George Washington University was one of the oddest rhetorical hybrids of his presidency — a serious stab at reforming entitlements cloaked in a 2012 campaign speech that was one of the most overtly partisan broadsides he’s ever delivered from a podium with a presidential seal.
I differ with the analysis – it wasn’t a serious stab at anything. No details were present. Just a “framework”, which is Obama’s usual way of laying off responsibility or outsourcing his job to others. His entire first term, to date, has been about grand and nebulous words left to others to flesh out.
But back to the point – as someone, I believe it was Paul Ryan, said, instead of building bridges with his speech, Obama went about poisoning wells.
What he essentially acted like was a Senate back bencher throwing verbal bombs at the opposition. And, of course, if you recall, that’s precisely what he was until he managed to fool enough people into electing him president.
How stupid was it to act as he did this past Wednesday?
But the combative tenor of Obama’s remarks, which included a swipe at his potential 2012 GOP challengers, may have scuttled the stated purpose of the entire enterprise — to start negotiations with Republicans on a workable bipartisan approach to attacking the deficit.
And it didn’t build much goodwill ahead of upcoming fights, especially the looming battle over raising the debt ceiling.
That’s correct – the looming fights have now been made partisan by a president who set the tone. Donald Trump called him the worst president ever (well, unless Donald Trump were to become president that is). I have to agree – and I lived through Jimmy Carter who now seems almost competent in comparison.
Carter at least tried to be a leader. This man makes no attempt at leadership. He’s a hack politician in way over his head and seems to thrive on political one-upsmanship, partisan bickering and playing politics with everything.
Leaders lead. Sounds trite and clichéd, but as was said about porn, you know one when you see one.
I’ve known many leaders in my day, and Mr. Obama is no leader.
As we enter October, now is the time to begin to pay close attention to election polls. As the November election date approaches, more and more people will turn their attention to them and the polls will begin to more accurately reflect the probable outcome.
But there are other polls out there that are interesting as well. They give indicators, moods and trends which, when combined with election polls help better explain why one candidate is surging and the other faltering.
Two of those catch my notice today. The first is the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll. While it may mean absolutely nothing in 2012, the most important year for Obama, it does provide a snap-shot of the mood of the electorate. In it pollsters found:
- Only 38% say Obama deserves re-election and 44% will vote to oust him out
- Voters trust congressional Republicans to create jobs more than Obama by an 11-point margin
- Republicans hold a 4-point edge in generic ballot
The significance is the difference in his job approval rating (42% – an all time low) and his "deserves reelection" rating. The latter is the most significant, and it says he’s a one term president – for now. Remember, in politics, it is all about the confidence one has in the leadership. This poll could be considered a lack of confidence vote as it concerns Obama right now.
The fact that voters ‘trust’ Republicans to create more jobs than Democrats by 11 points isn’t so much an endorsement of Republican economic policies, but a rejection of Democratic ones. They’re deemed to have failed (and that failure, I would claim, is directly connected with Obama’s reelection number).
You have to wonder if Republicans are able to do a marginally better job on the job front (or the economy begins to rebound naturally and they get some credit) whether it will also pick up Obama’s reelection numbers.
The last number – 4% on the positive side for the GOP on the generic ballot – simply reflects the facts the other two numbers do. Voters are deeply dissatisfied with Democrats. That doesn’t mean they’re wild about the GOP though.
Some other news from the poll concerns the media preferences of the electorate:
- 81% of those polled get midterm election news from cable news channels
- 42% say Fox News is their main source – more than CNN (30%) and MSNBC (12%) combined
- Bill O’Reilly seen to have greatest "positive impact" of opinionated media personalities with 49%, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are second and third
- MSNBC personalities largely unknown – 70% have never heard of Ed Schultz, 55% haven’t heard of Rachel Maddow
Now this is interesting stuff for many reasons. One is it provides proof that the left’s attempted demonization of Fox News has not worked at all. I wonder how that’s going to sit with the White House. In fact, it seems to have been a dismal failure. What the left would characterize as “right biased media” apparently rules.
Secondly, I find it hilarious that the “stars” of the left are unknown to the majority of those polled. And remember, the 30% who say they have heard of Ed Schultz (I’d be one of those) don’t necessarily listen to him (I’d also be one of those). John Stewart, however, did quite well on the “positive impact” side of things.
Last – is Limbaugh’s star being eclipsed by O’Reilly and Beck? I realize that O’Reilly, for some reason, has held the top spot on cable opinion shows for some time, and Beck does both radio and cable while Limbaugh only does radio, but that’s interesting info if correct. However, regardless as to the ranking of those three, they apparently convincingly own the “positive impact” category of “opinionated media”. Wonder what Hannity thinks about all this (and not being really in the running?)?
And as an aside, despite their declining circulation numbers, newspapers remain the most important news source for likely voters:
Despite steady declines in circulation over the past decade, newspapers are more influential than national news broadcasts when it comes to news on the upcoming election, with 72 percent of respondents saying they turn to newspapers or their websites.
Local news did better, at 73 percent, and conversations with friends and family was the second-most-cited source, at 79 percent. Radio was cited by only 58 percent of respondents, and non-newspaper websites and blogs by 39 percent.
Anyway, all of this makes sense when you view the results of the other poll. And, given the majorities who’ve never heard of the liberal show hosts, I’m not sure it would be any different if it was the Republicans in control and failing as dismally as the Democrats are. When that was the case, those folks were on the air and apparently few were tuning in to hear what they had to say.
Why? Because for the most part, Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly talk about getting government out of our hair, making it smaller and less costly. That resonates. That reflects the mood of the country. It is also something you’re not going to hear from the Ed Shultz’s and Rachel Maddow’s of the world.
There’s a free clue (and one that should be obvious by now) to any politician or political party that wants it.
All sorts of things to talk about under that title. So that calls for a bit of a ramble.
First and foremost, the title tells the story. Why is it we’re 20 months into this administration and we’re just now considering tax breaks to stimulate the economy? Note the word – considering. According to POLITICO, there’s been no decision at all made on doing such a thing – if you thought the administration dithered about its strategy change in Afghanistan, this makes that look like a snap decision.
Last November, Obama announced that he would turn his attention to unemployment, calling it "one of the great challenges that remains in our economy." He declared the same intent two months later, telling House Democrats he would focus relentlessly on job creation "over the next several months." Senior aides went on television pledging that the mantra would become "jobs, jobs, jobs."
But other matters – health care, the BP oil spill – continually stole the limelight, creating the impression, some Democrats complain, that the president was barely focused on the economy at all.
And now, “suddenly”, two months before an election, he’s “focused like a laser beam”. A soft weak lit laser that sort of doesn’t do much but emit, well,
words a bit of light.
I mean, read this explanation and tell me those who offered this as proof of his attention to the economy aren’t both tone deaf and just plain politically stupid:
His advisers described his attentiveness – noting, for example, that he discussed the economy with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) for 15 minutes before golfing – but got little traction.
Really? What in the freaking world has NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg got to do with anything to do with the economy. I mean, oh, goodie, he spent 15 minutes being "attentive" before they hit the links. That’ll fix everything. Oh, and what “traction” was he seeking?
In reality what happened was Obama was sold a bill of goods by his economic advisors about the effect of government stimulus. Congress got a hold of the idea and larded it up with pork. Result: spectacular FAIL.
They’re reduced to justifying the stimulus like this:
Many economists say Obama’s policies have been reasonably effective at pulling the nation back from recession. Last year’s stimulus package – now estimated to cost $814 billion – protected as many as 3.3 million jobs, according the independent Congressional Budget Office.
“Many” economists say his policies have been “reasonably effective” because some computer model says it may have “protected” – note the new word – “3.3 million jobs”? Really?
Back to the “this ain’t rocket science” theme, but even if that’s true (and it’s very suspect) that’s about $250,000 deficit funded dollars per job. And most of those, if I were to guess (oh, wait – “according to my model”) would be found in the non-productive government sector. Result? 9.6% unemployment, no growth and no jobs.
So why, you ask at this late juncture, is he and his economic staff finally considering tax cuts?
Well, common sense says that the way to immediately impact spending and consumption is to give consumers more money with which to consume. Make sense? Yeah, it made sense 20 months ago too. And there’s another reason that finally has seemed to penetrate their thinking:
All the talk about taxes—whether to raise them to address the deficit or cut them to stimulate the economy—may be having its own effect on growth. Allan Meltzer, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said the economy wouldn’t fully revive until Washington resolved uncertainty surrounding business costs, including taxes.
"Companies are cutting their expenditures and not hiring because they’re very uncertain" about these costs, he said.
Precisely. Why in the world – as we’ve been saying for months here – would any business hire and expand in the face of this government made market uncertainty?
Meanwhile the political battle rages with the expected blame-game in full swing:
"Obviously it’s going to be hard to get anything done before the election, but it’s really important for him to try, and to make the case to the American people that he’s trying to do something and the Republicans aren’t letting him," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist. "We are at the final moments here."
What the GOP isn’t “letting” them do is wildly throw another huge amount of money we don’t have at the problem.
David Axelrod piles on:
"We’ll continue to do everything we can, understanding that recovery will require persistent effort. There are no silver bullets," senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said in an interview Thursday. "At the same time, we have to make clear our ideas and theirs, and the fact that the Washington Republicans, having helped create this recession, have attempted to block our every effort to deal with it."
Yet the bar to passing any of this may not be “Washington Republicans”. POLITICO reports:
But the administration will have a tough time selling nearly any package to some Democrats who increasingly blame the president and his ambitious legislative agenda for their own dismal prospects this November. And further states:
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has repeatedly said the administration would go small-ball with any plans to boost the economy — and that the Democrat-controlled Congress had no appetite for costly, sweeping measures two months before what promises to be a difficult election cycle for the party. >
Emphasis mine, but you get the picture. Democrats aren’t sure they want anything but if they do, whatever it is it has to work and work quickly. Reality, however, is much more stark for the Democrats:
"Substantively, there is nothing they could do between now and Election Day that would have any measurable effect on the economy. Nothing," said the Brookings Institution’s William Galston, who was a domestic-policy adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Indeed. As I continue to watch the economic three-ring circus this administration has created, I’m reminded of the words of one of my favorite funny men, Oliver Hardy: “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten [us] into."
Next up, the Three Stooges do ObamaCare.
Seriously? If, as the President touted in LA the other day, they’ve passed the most progressive agenda in decades, why in the world aren’t they trumpeting it to the hills?
Instead, as a headline notes in the POLITICO, “White House searches for villain”. Apparently they’ve finally figured out that they’ve worn the “blame Bush” card out. However, instead of a strategy to remind the public what Congressional Democrats have done in this session of Congress, they’re looking for a bad guy on the other side to vilify instead.
You could write it off to their usual penchant for the politics of personal destruction and blame-shifting. But it’s hard to blame Republicans for “obstruction” when you had majorities in both houses of Congress that nullified the GOP’s ability to do that.
So what’s up with them ignoring their own record?
Perhaps, as Thomas Sowell points out, it is how they accomplished that record and what that means that they’d rather play down instead of play up:
‘We the people" are the central concern of the Constitution, as well as its opening words, since it is a Constitution for a self-governing nation. But "we the people" are treated as an obstacle to circumvent by the current administration.
One way of circumventing the people is to rush legislation through Congress so fast that no one knows what is buried in it. Did you know that the so-called health care reform bill contained a provision creating a tax on people who buy and sell gold coins?
You might debate whether that tax is a good or a bad idea. But the whole point of burying it in legislation about medical insurance is to make sure "we the people" don’t even know about it, much less have a chance to debate it, before it becomes law.
The health care bill is the most prevalent example of what Sowell is talking about. So intent were they on passing what liberal Democrats considered one of their most cherished ideological dreams they pulled out all the stops, invented procedures on the fly and essentially rammed this legislation through without even them knowing what all was in it.
Debate? There was none. None. They wouldn’t allow it. And certainly none about what was in the bill and would become law of the land. So we continue to find little nuggets of crap in the law as we wade through it. Gold taxes for instance.
But his larger point is the important one here. It is what has spawned the Tea Parties and the anger throughout the nation that is now boiling over. “We the People” – that would be anyone outside of DC – are simply tired of being ignored and having things imposed upon us by out of touch politicians. And we’re certainly tired of seeing legislation passed as this Congress has done.
Another way we have our freedoms and liberties imposed upon is also been used by this and other Congresses:
Yet another ploy is to pass laws worded in vague generalities, leaving it up to the federal bureaucracies to issue specific regulations based on those laws. "We the people" can’t vote on bureaucrats. And, since it takes time for all the bureaucratic rules to be formulated and then put into practice, we won’t know what either the rules or their effects are prior to this fall’s elections when we vote for (or against) those who passed these clever laws.
Consider the EPA’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gasses by fiat. If Congress can’t pass a law to regulate them because of popular opposition, well they’ll just reinterpret existing law to their benefit and try to do it anyway.
If you wonder why people think government is out of control, those are two good examples.
Is it any wonder people see politics today as agenda driven for the benefit of the parties instead of the people? Is it any wonder that people are feeling more and more like serfs and less like equal citizens?
Not since the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French, for an English-speaking nation, centuries ago, has there been such contempt for the people’s right to know what laws were being imposed on them.
Until this government is drastically pared back to some basic functions, this is going to continue and get worse. It is in many areas in which it has no business and it is consuming more and more of our GDP doing things it has no business doing. If we’re not already bankrupt, runaway government is doing its level best to do so.
There’s a reason the Democrats are searching for a bad guy instead of running on their record. They can sense something’s wrong, but they really can’t – for whatever reason – put their finger on it. Well, my guess is they can cloak the next villain in Nazi SS regalia and call him the worst thing since Adolph Hitler and it won’t matter a whit in November.
This has got to stop and “the people” have figured it out. In November, methinks, they’re going to help the politicians figure it out as well.
You know you have an opponent on the run when that opponent is reduced to puerile, schoolyard insults. That would be the left.
The first indication that the Tea Party had their goat was when they decided to use a sexual slang as their mocking moniker – Tea Baggers.
Now they’ve managed a new low. Ben Smith at POLITICO has the story:
Last summer, Democrats argued that the Tea Party movement was the astroturf creation of corporate groups. Now that the grass-roots conservative resurgence has emerged as a clear force on the right, the left is making a different case: That tea parties are simply the enemy.
To that end, the Agenda Project, a new, progressive group with roots in New York’s fundraising scene and a goal of strengthening the progressive movement, has launched the "F.*.c.k. Tea project," which is aimed, the group’s founder Erica Payne wrote in an e-mail this morning, "to dismiss the Tea Party and promote the progressive cause."
""We will be launching new products in the next several months to help people all over the country F*ck Tea," Payne told POLITICO. "Products like a Glenn Beck Bowl Buddy (Beck B Scrubbin) and others are perfect holiday gifts or just a great way to say, ‘I love you and our country’ to your spouse, friend or family."
You know, I enjoy a clever turn of phrase as well as the next guy – an imaginative and witty answer to some question, etc.
This is just the left being the left. And, of course, when it comes to their favorite ox being gored by the right, they’ll somehow manage to talk about “class and respect” with a straight face.
18 months ago they were the toast of the town, bringing “hope and change”. Now they’ve self-destructed and are back to their old rude and crude selves. How “progressive”.
I don’t think it would surprise anyone to find that the "Washington elite" are completely disconnected with the rabble found in fly-over country.
Politico has some examples based on a poll they just completed (Power and the People series). For instance:
Only 27 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, compared with 61 percent who think the nation is on the wrong track. Likewise, when asked whether the national economy is heading down the right or wrong track, just 24 percent chose the right track, compared with 65 percent for the wrong track.
Yet among the 227 Washington elites polled, more think the country is on the right track, 49 percent, than the wrong track, 45 percent. On the economy, 44 percent of elites think the country is on the right track, compared with 46 percent who believe it is not.
Imagine, if you will, standing the ruins of the economy, looking around and deciding, “yeah, you know, I think we’re on the right track!”
You’re right, it’s unimaginable. Yet there are the numbers of us v. the elite.
If you’re wondering what constitutes a "Washington elite", here’s how Politico defined them:
To qualify as a Washington elite for the poll, respondents must live within the D.C. metro area, earn more than $75,000 per year, have at least a college degree and be involved in the political process or work on key political issues or policy decisions.
If that doesn’t quite make the point, how about taxes?
Taxes are another issue where Washington does not appear to have its finger on the pulse of the country. Fifty-three percent of the general public ranked taxes as a “very important” issue, while 37 percent of elites said the same.
Because, you know, taxes are the life-blood of government, and these are the people who run government. So what do you suppose they think is more important – your tax burden or the availability of the funds they need to do what they think government should be doing?
This, however, should come as no surprise:
Among the elites, Obama has a 66 percent favorability rating, while 34 percent view him unfavorably. Outside of Washington, only 48 percent of respondents view the president favorably, compared with 47 percent who view him unfavorably.
In prospective 2012 matchups, Obama never falls below 60 percent support among the D.C. elites. Yet among the general population, the president doesn’t win more than 48 percent support in any of the pairings.
On the question of the 2012 presidential election, the general public gave a generic Republican candidate a 5-percentage-point edge over Obama, 42 percent to 37 percent, while among Washington elites, the president would cruise to reelection by a 2-to-1 ratio — 56 percent to 28 percent.
Washington is Obama’s town right now, the “elites” mostly work for him and they also know which side of bread is buttered for them. So naturally they believe they’ve done good work, are underfunded and have a real dynamite dude in the driver’s seat.
Or at least that’s what they say in answer to a poll. But in reality, I’d have to guess there’s some real “willing suspension of disbelief” going on in DC.
Ben White at Politico tells us:
Obama has been happy to be seen by voters as cracking down on Wall Street but those efforts have had an unintended result: feeding a sense that the president and his party are indifferent or even actively hostile toward big business, whether those businesses are Silicon Valley tech companies, Midwestern manufacturers or Main Street small businesses.
And it is more than just politics: Obama’s aides believe confidence in the general direction of White House policy has an effect on the willingness of corporations to hire, invest and push the economy toward a more solid recovery.
We’ve all heard about the $1.8 trillion that companies and corporations have saved while they sit on the side-lines refusing to invest or hire. We’ve seen the likes of Mort Zuckerman declare that the policies and attitude of the administration are decidedly "anti-business". And we’ve seen little or no evidence that anything the government has done has, in fact, spurred economic recovery.
So – what’s the administration’s answer? A public relations campaign where they essentially tell us things have happened we know haven’t, take credit for things they had little to do with and essentially try to spin their way out of the "anti-business" label.
Or, “business as usual”:
So the White House has launched a campaign to help instill that confidence, highlighted by Obama’s remarks on Wednesday stressing his commitment to lifting trade barriers as a way to spur economic growth. That was followed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s interview on CNBC’s “Kudlow Report” last night — following his spot on PBS’ “NewsHour” on Tuesday. Obama talked up the economy in Missouri Thursday as well.
In a Thursday interview, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel argued that rather than recoiling against Obama, business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half-dozen counts: his advocacy of greater international trade and education reform open markets despite union skepticism; his rejection of calls from some quarters to nationalize banks during the financial meltdown; the rescue of the automobile industry; the fact that the overhaul of health care preserved the private delivery system; the fact that billions in the stimulus package benefited business with lucrative new contracts, and that financial regulation reform will take away the uncertainty that existed with a broken, pre-crash regulatory apparatus.
But you see, businesses know all of that and they aren’t “grateful”, they’re alarmed. Not only that, they don’t see private banks and financial institutions as the sole problem in the financial meltdown – but they do see government trying to pretend it was all Wall Street and greedy corporations, while Freddie and Fannie have become half a trillion dollar financial sink holes that politicians don’t want to talk about.
They also understand that the Bush tax cuts are expiring, new health care laws and taxes are pending, new and onerous regulations are in the offing and the lame duck Congress will most likely try to push through some version of cap-and-trade. Add to that failing states like Illinois and California and the probability of higher taxes all the way around.
And then there’s the possibility of a double-dip recession.
Why wouldn’t business be sitting on their money given the “rest of the story” that the administration conveniently leaves out of their pitch?
This is a crew that has supreme confidence in their ability to propagandize anything and get away with it. And why shouldn’t they – look who is sitting in the White House. You’d have to believe if you can sell an empty suit to a majority of the nation, you can probably sell anything.
Politico takes a look at the White House team in light of the recent revelations of a job offer to Joe Sestak to pull out of the PA Senate primary and now the emerging story about jobs that may have been offered to a Democratic candidate in Colorado to keep him out of a primary. Politico wonders how the crew which so deftly managed such a successful presidential campaign has lost their "golden touch".
Perhaps there never was a golden touch. Perhaps the inevitability of the win had little to do with their deft management. Perhaps it had more to do with historical timing and a historic first. That and an attractive candidate whose huge faults and thin resume were something people were obviously willing to overlook for the feel-good euphoria they got from him and his rhetoric.
Perhaps, as the Politico calls them, they always were always “one part Dick Daley, one part Barney Fife.”
It would explain their developing reputation as nothing more than machine Chicago pols. And their inability to spin and manage the multiple crisis enveloping the White House and the Obama presidency. It seems each and every day, events and actions by this group conspire to put the administrion in a bad light.
They undercut the Obama’s reputation on two fronts. Trying to put the fix in to deny Democratic voters the chance to choose for themselves who their Senate nominees should be is hardly consistent with the idea of “Yes we can” grassroots empowerment that is central to Obama’s brand. And bungling that fix is at odds with the Obama team’s image — built around the likes of Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Obama himself — as shrewd political operatives who know the game and always win it.
Democrats are now apparently complaining. They are of the opinion that the White House is unable to handle more than one major challenge at a time. And any student of the presidency knows that multiple challenges on a daily basis are the norm. Additionally, Obama’s recent forays into state races in support of Democratic candidates has been almost universally unsuccessful. Asks one Democrat:
“How one group of people can be so good at campaigning and so bad at politics?”
Answer? Experience. Campaigning, while it has multiple tasks, has only one goal. Obama has been campaigning his whole life. He knows how to do that. Governing has not only multiple tasks, but multiple challenges and goals. Obama has never run anything or governed anything. This is his first real job. That is the reason most rational people demand that those seeking high executive office have some experience somewhere in their life with the duties and responsibilities of an executive.
We’re now suffering the results of irrational thinking when it comes to electing a president. Timing and “historical moments”, coupled with good campaign theater should never replace the careful consideration of the bona fides of any candidate for office – even at the lowest level. But all too often it does, and, such as in this case, we suffer the consequences. The question, of course, is will we do what is necessary, as soon as possible, to correct the mistake? Or will we again be swept away by the hype and spin and glitz of the one thing this group seems to be able to manage?