Wednesday, December 08, 2010


If I were a shrewder blogger, I'd look at the poll results on the tax deal and just cherry-pick the numbers that proved I was a genius, but right now all I see is a muddle. Bloomberg:

Americans don’t approve of keeping the breaks for upper-income taxpayers that are part of the deal President Barack Obama brokered with congressional Republicans, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

The survey, conducted before, during and after the tax negotiations, shows that only a third of Americans support keeping the lower rates for the highest earners. Even among backers of the cuts for the wealthy, fewer than half say they should be made permanent....

Contrast that with Gallup:

Two major elements included in the tax agreement reached Monday between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress meet with broad public support. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years, and an identical number support extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

According to Gallup polling conducted Dec. 3-6, the slight majority of Democrats, as well as most independents and Republicans, would vote for a two-year extension of [all] the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003....

My take on this? Most Americans oppose the giveaway to the rich when asked about it point blank. Ask them about it another way and their opposition vanishes. Opposition to this is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Oh, and in general (as Frank Chow notes), Democrats, including liberal Democrats, continue to support the president according to polls, despite the long list of alleged dealbreakers earlier in his term.


Now, I'm going to engage in wild speculation about what else the public is thinking (or at least is likely to start thinking soon). Greg Sargent is telling us this about the prospects for the tax cut deal in Congress:

* ... the Senate math remains daunting: According to vote counters, at least 30 Dems in the Senate firmly oppose the deal right now, meaning passage is anything but assured....

* House Dems draw a hard line: Nancy Pelosi and her caucus appear unwilling to accept the GOP-favored estate tax proposal in the tax cut deal....

* More scorching criticism of Obama from Dems: Obama's sharp rebuke of Dem critics yesterday isn't doing much to quiet the likes of Anthony Weiner:

"There's this general sense that we need the President to be the leader of our country, to be the leader of our party, and to be the leader of the values we believe in, and he seems to go from zero to compromise in 3.5 seconds. I'm not saying that you never compromise or that you never do deals. This is Washington, that's how laws get passed. But he and his team just don't seem to be that good at it."

You know what I think is coming next? A period of gridlock in Congress caused by Democrat-on-Democrat bickering. You know how the public's going to respond? The public's going to say, "We hate gridlock! It's bad enough when you guys are fighting with the Republicans, but now you can't even stop fighting with yourselves long enough to get things done." Democrats will be blamed -- while Republicans, who are keeping a very low profile, stand off to the side and laugh (as they await the moment when they seize the one house of Congress they don't already effectively control, at which point they'll get whatever they want).

Was this a good deal? Was this a damnable compromise? I'm sick of discussing that question -- for the purposes of what I'm saying now, I don't care. The point is that Democrats should pick one approach and join together on it. I look at the poll numbers at the top of this post and I'm convinced that even voters opposed to cuts for the rich would have given Obama credit for being a grown-up, just because they don't hate those cuts as much as they hate D.C. mud-wrestling and gridlock. But now they're going to hate the cock-up the Democrats seem on the verge of generating. And they ain't gonna blame the Republicans, because every kid throwing a punch in this particular sandbox has a name that's followed by a "(D)."

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