Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Another poll -- this one from The Washington Post and ABC -- shows that Americans disapprove of the events being highlighted in the current Scandalpalooza, but they aren't turning against the president:
Majorities of Americans believe that the Internal Revenue Service deliberately harassed conservative groups by targeting them for special scrutiny and say that the Obama administration is trying to cover up important details about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans last year.

But a new Washington Post-ABC News poll also finds that allegations of impropriety related to the controversies have yet to affect President Obama’s political standing.

The president's approval rating, at 51 percent positive and 44 percent negative, has remained steady in the face of fresh disclosures about the IRS, the Benghazi attack and the Justice Department's secret collection of telephone records of Associated Press journalists as part of a leak investigation....
Ezra Klein thinks this is because people don't blame the president:
The public is simply separating the scandals from Obama. They’re upset about the IRS, Benghazi, and DoJ stories. But most think the president has been truthful.
Except that, as noted above, a majority of Americans (55%-33%) think the Obama administration "is trying to cover up the facts" with regard to Benghazi, and a small plurality (45%-42%) feel the same way about the IRS story.

My guess? They see misdeeds, and many think these misdeeds extend to the White House, but (apart from conservatives) they don't care all that much. Most ordinary Americans don't identify with the tea party. And four people died in Benghazi, but a lot of Americans have died overseas in the past dozen years. And they certainly can't identify with high-level journalists. This is yet another way the public is saying, Hey, when the hell are you going to start caring about us?

Obsessing about scandals is the new obsessing about the debt and deficits -- it's what D.C. insiders do instead of focusing on the economy and jobs and ordinary people's economic uncertainty. Obama, at least, pays some attention to ordinary Americans' economic distress -- and that's why the public gives him a not-great but passing grade:
A bare majority of Americans [51%] say they believe that Obama is focused on issues that are important to them personally; just 33 percent think so of congressional Republicans.
Clear majorities of Americans think these scandals are bad? Well, clear majorities of Americans consistently tell pollsters that the federal debt and deficits are bad -- but when you ask them what their top priorities are for government, the economy and jobs outrank the debt and deficits by a considerable margin.

So this is the new public-be-damned monomania. The public still wants what it's wanted for years -- jobs and a better economy.


Anonymous said...

I think it's more than that. After all these years of constant death and destruction over seas, domestic spying and wire tapping, it's the new "normal".

Greg said...

Maybe the MSM's "both sides do it" approach is actually working for Obama in this case. People have come to expect some kind of corruption in any administration. And maybe they're cutting Obama slack for not yet reaching the perceived corruption levels of other politicians, while still remaining relatively likable. It helps him that he's always had something of a Reagan/Clinton-like Teflon.

Seems the "worse than Watergate" talk is only reaching the wingnut base, revving them up for '14. Still not a wasted use of propaganda effort, all in all, for that alone.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Majorities actually believe the prez is covering up important details about Benghazi?

One hopes they are "covering up" pretty much anything the uncovering of which would imperil national security but, apart from that, WTF???

Victor said...

I'd rather the Republicans spend their time on faux scandals, because when they focus on anything else, they're either focusing on trying to damage the economy even more than it already is, while limiting women's right to having a choice, and repealing Obamacare, or trying to lower the amount people in need can get for food stamps and other assistance.

If banging the scandal drums to keep their rabid base agitated, which will continue to show people how little their representatives actually represent them, then I say, "please, proceed, GOP..."

Victor said...

And don't forget, Congresscriminal Issa said that "An act of terror" is completely different from "A terrorist act."

He didn't explain it.
He just said it.

I'm still waiting for some Conservative to explain the important, critical distinction.

Dark Avenger said...

White House's claim of 'doctored emails smearing the president'

You mean the reporting by Major Garrett of CBS that the reporting by Jonathan Karl of ABC about those e-mails was incorrect?

Or are you just flinging poo, as usual?

Victor said...

No, Dennis.
YOU explain the difference.
And don't parse words.
I'm a big boy, I can take it.

Victor said...

Say what, Dennis?
I can't hear you.
All I hear, is *crickets*

The boy lurks here for days, but when you ask him a direct question, he disappears.

Victor said...

How convenient then, man!

Steve M. said...

Dennis is banned now.