Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who is confused?

Powerline looks at the polls and is left puzzled.

Our Deeply Confused Electorate

Do you agree more politically with President Obama, or with the average member of the Tea Party? A good question, ripped from the daily headlines. The response? Dead even, 42% agree more with Obama, 42% with the Tea Party. But other findings are hard to reconcile: only 30% of voters have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 50% are unfavorable. How can only 30% of voters view the Tea Party favorably, if 42% say they agree more with the grass roots movement than with the president?
I do not find that particular result so surprising. I believe that Ben Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than Joe Flacco, yet I am deeply dissatisfied with the play of the Steelers’s QB over the last four or five years.

Can a thinking individual (i. e. someone not confused) oppose Obama while disapproving of the Tea Party? Powerline seems to suggest that the answer is no.

I disagree.

A rational conservative in a center-right nation will look at the Tea Party’s demand for ideological purity as self-defeating. Hence, while opposed to Obama’s programs that rational voter may still refuse to endorse the Tea Party.

The post does hit one key point that is often ignored:

So among some 30% to 40% of the electorate, the dominant factor appears to be hatred of Republicans. No matter how incompetent Obama is, no matter how hateful Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi may be, no matter how badly the economy goes into the tank, these voters consistently view Democrats as the lesser of evils. Why? Because they are subjected to a constant barrage of hate, directed toward Republicans.
Even here, however, I think they overstate the confusion and ignore the elephant in the room.

Democratic voters have been on the receiving end of so much hate propaganda against the Republican Party, that all Democrats need to do is be the not-Republicans and their voters will turn outno matter that Obamacare is a disaster, no matter that the economy is going down the drain, no matter that we are $17 trillion in debt, no matter that Obama’s foreign policy is a shambles, no matter that Obama himself has been revealed as an incompetent and a liar. Hatred for Republicans trumps everything else.
It sounds so damning until a fair-minded person asks ‘what about Bush?’

On each count of the indictment, it is possible to argue that BHO has done better than GWB.

All of this is old ground:

January 2013

Let’s not forget the biggest, stickiest Republican/conservative message of all:

We {heart} W.

The 2012 campaign was not just Obama vs. catoon-Romney. It was also Obama vs. the ghost of George Bush.

Leaving ideology aside (as swing and low-information voters do), the Bush legacy is an anchor around the neck of the right. The short version goes something like this:

Tanked the economy (worse than LBJ)

Started two wars he could not win (worse than Carter)

Is that fair? Not entirely, but it is accurate.
October 2011

It is now painfully clear that the Republican candidates have no appetite to deal with the serious problems that still weigh on the economy. They are counting on Obama's unpopularity to carry them to victory in 2012. The programs they offer are little more than warmed over talking points.
February 2009

There is no doubt that a sizable minority of the population is opposed to bigger government. This minority is large enough to boost the ratings of talk radio. It drives readership for rightwing blogs and raises money for some candidates. But is it it enough to win election?

40% is an enormous share in radio ratings. It is also the bad end of a landslide election.

The usual mantra of "No socialism, Free Enterprise!" just seems inadequate in the face of the current economic realities.

Key fact number one. As Obama moves toward "socialism", he does so at the behest of the "capitalists". It is not as if he is sending paramilitary gangs to take over successful, profitable businesses. Obama, like Bush before him, is compelled to act because the capitalists screwed the pooch, crapped the bed, and then muttered "maybe my bad" when their recklessness sent the financial system off a cliff.

The broad public knows this, and that makes it hard to win them over with cheap slogans about socialist bogeymen.
October 2008

The Bush-Cheney administration has worked assiduously to restore the power and prerogatives of the executive branch. They have been curiously loath to wield those powers at critical times. We saw it first in their lackadaisical efforts to win the Iraq War. We saw it again in the present economic mess.

Hmmm, jealous of its prerogatives yet indolent in governing. That sounds more like a decadent monarchy than a vigorous Jacksonian chief executive. I think the Right got Bush wrong. Today, he seems more like G.W. Bush II of Connecticut than he does the forceful W from west Texas.
So, sure, someone is confused. The key question is this: Is it the voters or is it conservative pundits and GOP “professionals”

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