Wednesday, November 12, 2014


If you want to understand why the Republicans won a wave election this year, consider what respondents said in this Pew survey:
A majority of Americans would like to see Barack Obama and Republican leaders work together over the coming year. But Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to favor a confrontational approach toward the political opposition, even if that results in less getting done.

Overall, 57% of the public says Republican leaders in Washington should try as best they can to work with Barack Obama to accomplish things, even if it means disappointing some groups of Republican supporters, while 40% say they should "stand up" to Obama on issues that are important to Republican supporters, even if it means less gets done in Washington. And by about a two-to-one margin (62% to 30%) more say Obama should work with Republicans than say he should stand up to the GOP....

Within the Republican Party, only about a third of Republicans and Republican leaners (32%) want to see the GOP leadership work with Obama if it disappoints some groups of Republican supporters. About twice as many (66%) say GOP leaders should stand up to Obama even if less gets done....

If this is how voters are thinking, it's no wonder that this was a Republican wave election. Republican voters overwhelmingly favor Republican candidates pushing Republican policies. Democratic and swing voters overwhelmingly prefer something midway between the Democratic agenda and the Republican agenda, jut because compromise seems the only way out of our current impasse. So of course a significant percentage of non-Republican voters are going to vote Republican -- they think that's the way you get compromise when you have a Democratic president, and they're desperate for compromise because they think there's no other way to get anything done.

It's a complete misunderstanding of Republican officeholders' willingness to compromise, but since the mainstream press refuses to report accurately on Republican intransigence, and Democratic politicians won't describe GOP intransigence as Washington's real problem, you can't blame the public for being misinformed. And so here we are.


Victor said...

Even me, a political animal, is getting sick of our politics.

When we vote in a guy who promises hope and change, and in his first two years gives people hope by changing our health care system for the better - not perfect; far from it, but better - what do the voters do?
Give him the most radical House of Representatives since before the Civil War.

I'm spending more and more of my day reading novels, and less and less time blogging.

After last Tuesday, I'm very, very depressed.
And fearful for my country, and the world.

At a time where the climate is on the brink of irreparable change - for the worse - people voted in a Congress that doesn't believe in climate change.
OR SCIENCE, for that matter.


Never Ben Better said...

Same here, Victor. Was just reading about Obama's climate change deal with China, and my first thought was "That's nice, but the goddamned Republicans will block anything he tries to do, so what's the point?"

I try not to despair, but it's getting a lot harder to stay out of that well of hopelessness.

At least in fantasy novels the good guys (mostly) win.

Victor said...

And you know that the Republicans in Congress will now point all blame at President Obama, and start to maneuver one of their own sociopaths to become the next President, by saying the voters can end gridlock by electing a Republican President.

And if they hold all of the power in 2017, we are all well and truly fucked!

W & Cheney's mis-administration will seem like the good old days.

Philo Vaihinger said...

This whole polling approach is suspicious.

AsK me which of these two scenarios I prefer.

The GOP controls the house and the senate and wants to wholly privatize (abolish) Social Security and Obama (one hopes) does not.

Outcome A: So they compromise on a plan that lets people newly entering the workforce individually divert their own taxes that would have gone to the SS trust fund to their own personal IRAs, provided they agree they will never receive Social Security benefits, nor will their survivors, nor will any disabled dependents.

Outcome B: Obama refuses the compromise because it abolishes Social Security for part of the work force and significantly undermines future progressive reforms such as enhancing the funding of Social Security by removing the cap on income taxed to support the fund.

What do I prefer?


Philo Vaihinger said...

Oh, and his deal with China is just Kyoto II, and has about as much chance of passing the senate as the original, for the same reasons give then.

Not that the problem of climate change is bogus but that, if adopted, the deal would not solve or even much mitigate the problem but would require serious economic sacrifices of Americans while requiring none from China, the world's biggest polluter, and would not even require limits on Chinese future pollution.

Note that I said "require."

That's basically why the senate at the time had no truck with Kyoto I, and why the senate now likely will not with Kyoto II.

So, if there is a real problem then Soylent Green is coming.

And if not, well, we'll see.

John Taylor said...

Why should Republicans compromise? They have been rewarded for being the party of nothing except against all Obama's policies. They didn't even have to put forward a policy platform.

Four Bs said...

I really think the president needs to start playing some reverse psychology games with the Republicans. For example, by saying he was in favor of net neutrality the other day, he just handed Ted Cruz an opportunity to call the move "Obamacare for the Internet." The president needs to come out strongly against anything he is actually for and in a very public way. It's the only way Democratic accomplishments will be preserved. Protect Social Security for another generation by having Obama say he wants to dismantle it. Have Obama promise to end Medicare throughout the land -- it will be strengthened. "Send more people to Guantanamo!" -- it will be closed by the end of 2015. "We must build Keystone XL now," says President Obama. Project doomed. It will work on any issue you can image.