Even as they were being toasted for pulling off a legislative masterstroke in beating back conservative opposition to the Murray-Ryan budget deal, House GOP leaders stepped on a garden rake by violating the ‘clean’ nature of the deal by tossing in a vote on a ‘doc-fix’ for Medicare (the regular and painful ritual of figuring out how much of scheduled Medicare provider cuts are going to be taken back). And now House Democrats are rebelling…
Yes, Pres. Obama’s poll numbers are bad — but Republicans envy those numbers.
NBC News: A year that began with President Barack Obama riding high after his re-election victory is ending with him in the biggest hole of his presidency.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that more Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance than ever before; half say they’re either disappointed or dissatisfied with his presidency and 54 percent believe he’s facing a long-term setback.
In all, only 43% say they’re satisfied with Pres, Obama’s job performance, leaving his numbers underwater. However, the same poll asked, “How would you rate the overall performance and accomplishments of this year’s Congress—one of the best, above average, average, below average, or one of the worst?” only 3% answered the best or above average, 17% said average, and 79% said below average or the worst — with more than half saying that this was one of history’s worst congresses.
Obama’s numbers are driven largely by the troubled rollout of Healthcare.gov. With this issue about 90+% resolved and rapidly improving, the president is about to cut the line on that particular public opinion boat anchor, after which we can probably expect his numbers to improve — most likely dramatically.
And if we head over to Gallup, new polling there shows Democrats as a whole soaring over Republicans by ten points — 42% approval to 32% approval. Again we find that, even with underwater approvals, Barack Obama is the most popular man in Washington.
That position can only improve.
Stories to Watch: 12/9/13.
Senate dems say they’ll bring a raise in the minimum wage up after the first of the year. The party may be hoping that the extremely popular move might bring out more dem voters and that this, along with an improving economy, might give them a leg up in the elections.
Virginia Republicans have learned absolutely nothing from Ken Cuccinelli’s high-profile loss to Terry McAuliffe in that state’s gubernatorial race. In fact, to hear them talk, you’d think they won big, instead of losing statewide executive offices in a sweep. At a state GOP confab this weekend, one Republican said they needed to run more people like disastrous Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson, while another blamed media “false prophets" for making up a "War on Women" narrative — just because Cuccinelli and Jackson have histories of waging war on women’s rights. Republicans really do live off in their own little world, don’t they?
Speaking of made up wars, Fox News’ “War on Christmas” exists pretty much entirely in their own minds — and in their lies.
Israeli leadership will skip out on attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral. While they don’t state it as the reason, the high regard Mandela’s memory enjoys among Palestinians is certain to be seen as at least a contributing factor.
The NSA and CIA spied on people play World of Warcraft. Seriously. You are literally not safe from prying eyes anywhere. This ridiculous level of domestic surveillance used to be the punchline of Yakov Smirnoff jokes. Now Smirnoff jokes don’t work: “In capitalist America, computer screen watches you. In Soviet Russia, computer screen watches you.” See, there has to be some sort of contrast.
Ted Cruz is a character in a coloring book, where kids can learn all about being selfish dickholes like people who worship Ted Cruz.
A Fox News exec got $8 million in hush money on retirement. Not sure what Roger Ailes is hiding here, but it’s got to be flabbergastingly awful.
Finally, it’s a short one today because snow and wind and I don’t want to talk about it. Odds are good you got the same thing, so you know where I’m coming from.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.
Poll: most want Obamacare fixed, not scrapped.
Some bad news for Republicans on more than one level.
Greg Sargent: With Obamacare facing its deadline for website functionality, Republicans appear absolutely, irrevocably, 100 percent certain the law’s total collapse is at hand, or even already complete. However, they may be the only ones who are convinced of this.
A new CNN poll tests public opinion on the law in a way I haven’t seen before — and it shows Republicans are the only group who believe the law’s problems can’t be solved and that it should now be pronounced a failure. Independents and moderates believe it can still work.
To be sure, opposition is running high, at 58 percent, as in many other polls, and virtually no one believes the law is a success, which is as it should be. This means, again, that the rollout continues to put Democrats in serious political peril. But disapproval does not necessarily translate into giving up on the law, which matters, because it goes to whether people will enroll in the numbers necessary to make it work over time.
The poll finds 53 percent of Americans say it’s too soon to tell if the law will succeed or fail, versus 39 percent who pronounce it a failure. That latter sentiment is driven by Republicans: Independents say it’s too soon to tell by 55-41; moderates by 58-35. But Republicans overwhelmingly believe it’s a failure by 70-25.
In polling, Republicans always seem to find themselves outside the mainstream. And the people who will make it work believe it can in huge numbers.
"Crucially, young Americans — who are important to the law’s success – overwhelmingly believe the problems will be solved (71 percent)," Sargent reports. "Part of the campaign by Republicans to persuade Americans that the law’s doom is inevitable is about dissuading people from enrolling, to turn that into a self fulfilling prophesy."
And, as always, the polling shows that those who support the law and those who believe it doesn’t go far enough outweigh those who think Obamacare goes too far — 54% - 41%. Again, the GOP is outside the political mainstream.
But the failure for the GOP is in getting their messaging to take hold with anyone but those who were already sold. They’ve been predicting a “trainwreck” for years, a rushed rollout practically hands one to them on a silver platter, and they still can’t win over majorities in any demo but their own. Not only is this a failure on the party’s part, but it also demonstrates the limitations of the rightwing noise machine. The Fox/talk radio/wingnut blogger alliance seems to be doing a fine job of preaching to the choir, but a pretty lousy job of evangelism. They stand on soap boxes at busy intersections, shrieking the Gospel of Saints Koch at the top of their lungs. But for anyone but themselves it’s just street noise, indistinguishable from honking horns, barking dogs, and crashing garbage cans.
Not only does this have bad things to say about the future of the anti-Obamacare movement, but for the Republican Party itself. All the demographics they dominate are dying off or becoming insignificant and all the ones they want to win over aren’t even paying attention to what they’re saying.
Republicans would be a lot better off working with public opinion than against it. They need to drop their insistence that everyone listen to them and instead listen to what other people are saying. In other words, they need to shut their big yaps, stop trying to tell everyone what to think, and hear what the American people say they want.
The Affordable Care Act may have had a rocky start, but if they aren’t careful, the GOP could be facing an even rockier end.
What Happens When GOP Economic Fairy Tales are Applied to the Real World.
A piece in the New York Times this weekend compared the economic fates of Wisconsin and Minnesota, two states that were in roughly similar economic condition in 2012. Minnesota elected a Democratic government, while Wisconsin chose Republicans. And it was with this choice that the two neighboring states’ fortunes began to diverge.
Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom half.
Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business. Republicans deserve some of the credit, particularly for their commitment to education reform. They also argue that Minnesota’s new growth stems from the low taxes and reduced spending under Mr. Dayton’s Republican predecessor, Tim Pawlenty. But Minnesota’s job growth was subpar during Mr. Pawlenty’s eight-year tenure and recovered only under Mr. Dayton.
Trust me, it sucks when your state is used as an example of economic failure. While Walker complains that previous higher taxes and spending are dragging the state down (a tough argument to make — the mechanics are so bad he doesn’t even bother to explain them), Minnesota has raised taxes and spending to great success. And that spending has been distinctly Keynesian. NYT reports that the “lion’s share of Minnesota’s new tax revenue was sunk into human capital.” Wisconsin, of course, has been anti-Keynesian, reaching into workers’ pockets to take pay and benefits away.
And that’s where conservative economic policies fail. One way of looking at Republican economic theories is to say that any government involvement in the economy is bad. Why? Well, I actually haven’t heard a good explanation of that. It just is. It seems to be less of a logical argument and more of a moral one — i.e., progressive taxation is unfair, as is providing some sort of even minimal safety net. Where they used to argue that taxation was metaphorical theft, they now argue that it’s literal theft. Taxation and social programs have been lifted out of the “good or bad for society” argument, because conservative can’t win that argument. History proves again and again that progressive taxation and social spending are to the common good. They “promote general the welfare,” to use a phrase from the preamble — i.e., the mission statement — of the Constitution.
If it’s “unfair” to tax the wealthy and corporations at a higher rate, in order to at least try to guarantee a bearable level of existence for those in need, then cry me a freakin' river, moneybags. If the right were really as objective as they claim to be, they'd argue that fair and unfair are irrelevant. What matters is “works” or “doesn't work.”
Of course, if they really were that objective, conservative economics would’ve died the first time Reagan raised taxes.
But Reaganomics lumbers, zombie-like, on — both dead and brainless. And it’s because the argument isn’t so much a recipe for a healthy economy — or even for basic fairness — but a rationalization for allowing a small number of very fortunate people to transfer wealth from the bottom to the top. In Wisconsin, that means cutting benefits for workers and the poor to pay for new goodies for the wealthy. What’s that gotten us? An economy in a downward spiral, as workers no longer have any money to spend and demand drops. And of course, cutting spending while you’ve made certain consumer demand will plummet is like drilling holes in an already sinking boat; you’ve already poked a hole in the hull by taking money away from workers and now you’re further reducing demand by cutting government spending.
In short, what Walker has done is a recipe for destroying an economy and — lo and behold — it’s working. We need to be more like those crazy lefties across the Mississippi, who care less about what whiny one-percenters think is “unfair” and more about what works for everybody
[photo by Nick Ares]
Polling demonstrates why Obamacare isn’t going anywhere.
Ed Kilgore: In more “no game change” news, Ron Brownstein reports today that a new and very detailed United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows little change in basic attitudes towards Obamacare since the last survey of its kind in July:Amid all the tumult over the law’s troubled implementation, the survey found that public opinion about it largely follows familiar political tracks and has changed remarkably little since the summer on the critical question of what Congress should do next. On that measure, support for repeal has not significantly increased among any major group except Republicans and working-class whites since the Congressional Connection Poll last tested opinion on the question in July.
At present, asked if Congress should repeal Obamacare, leave it alone for now, or provide more funds to help its implementation, repeal is opposed by a 59-38 margin, with, as Brownstein noted, repeal sentiment being mainly confined to Republican and Republican-leaning parts of the electorate. That means two things: Republicans will continue to be encouraged by their “base” to screw up the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats will have little real political incentive to cave.
Backing up this poll is a Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that support for Obamacare overall has dropped by a statistically insignificant 3 points since the last time they polled the issue. The Affordable Care Act still isn’t popular, but the appetite for sweeping changes just isn’t there.
Republicans have vowed to try to repeal the law, but the poll showed they could face some obstacles because some elements of the law, such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, remain popular.
Asked their views on the troubled Obamacare launch, 65 percent favored at least some changes in the health law. But some respondents favored only smaller changes such as delays in the deadline for requiring everyone without health insurance to sign up for coverage.
So a tweak here or there, but otherwise they’re cool. What these steady numbers show is that opinions of the issue are pretty much fixed along partisan lines. As with the National Journal poll, there’s no opening here for Republicans to gain ground and no reason for Democrats to give any up.
Repeal gets deader by the day.