Tags: Independents

The Debt Ceiling Fight as a ‘Kobayashi Maru’


One of my regular correspondents sends in a thoroughly depressing report. It is anecdotal, so take it with as many grains of salt as you deem necessary, but rest assured, this correspondent wants to see conservative Republican victories in 2012 and beyond…

The hardcore Republicans may not feel this, but take this from a guy surrounded by independents all the time, and in the liberal state of New Jersey: the GOP is losing the independent vote big time here. The GOP is now viewed as unreasonable, can’t govern, and get this – don’t have a plan except cutting Medicare and Social Security! Obama is taking a hit as well, but as you say – he is strangely quiet.. well, it has helped him ! The independents saw his address Monday night, they don’t see him fighting, yelling on TV and they think he is the most reasonable man in the house.. When I say, “he has no plan,” my independent friends say, “well, at least he is not cutting Medicare and Social Security.”

I would note that we may be erroneous in thinking that there is a winning scenario for the GOP here. If the debt ceiling negotiations result in a good outcome for the economy, Obama will take credit – even if Boehner negotiated him down to the most rightward plan that could get through both the House and Senate. The spin from the White House will be that the reasonable Obama compromised, refuting all of that talk that he’s a liberal, and that saved the economy, blah blah blah. If – as it seems a bit more likely – that the debt ceiling negotiations result in a bad outcome for the economy, Obama will blame Republicans, no matter how negotiations turn out. If there is no deal, he’ll argue that the deal would have saved the economy. If there is a deal, and the credit rating still drops, he’ll argue that tax hikes would have saved the AAA credit rating. The only way to take away Obama’s blame-shifting maneuver is to pass precisely his preferred option — a “clean vote” to raise the debt ceiling, with no budget cuts? — and that’s just not something Republicans will do.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the American people will believe the White House spin. The awful GDP numbers out today will provide the GOP for some hefty evidence that the economy was slowing to near-stall long before the debt ceiling negotiations go front and center.

But for everyone convinced that their preferred strategy is certain to lead to a great political victory for Republicans, it is possible that this circumstance is a “Kobayashi Maru” — a no-win scenario that ends with Obama either taking credit or shifting blame, that message being eagerly carried by a friendly media, and that message resonating with low-information voters who don’t like to follow the details of budget debates.

Tags: Barack Obama , Congressional Republicans , Independents

Democrats Are Getting Nuked Among Independents


Campaign Spot reader Charlie notices:

I have seen a trend where Democrats have been imploding among independents.  Here are how the internals of various polls have moved from the previous poll among independents:

Rasmussen Generic Congressional ballot (8/16): Democrats got 21% of the generic ballot among independents down from 28% previously.

Rasmussen Ohio Senate (8/17): Democrat Fisher polls at 21% of independents, down from 30% previously.

Rasmussen Pennsylvania Senate (8/17): Democrat Sestak polls at 25% of independents, down from 34% previously.

Rasmussen Florida Senate (8/11): Democrat Meek polls at 5% among independents, down from 13% previously (3-way race)

Survey USA California Senate (8/12): Democrat Boxer polls at 32% of independents compared to 40% previously.

Rasmussen Illinois Senate (8/11): Democrat Giannoulias polls at 20% of independents compared to 27% previously.

Rasmussen Nevada Senate (8/18): Democrat Harry Reid polls at 35% of independents compared to 42% previously.

While I realize the polling error is higher among the smaller subset of independents, the significant drop among independents for Democrats has been near universal.

What’s killing the Democrats? A lot of things, but I think it’s reflected in today’s offering from the once reasonable Peter Beinart:

Bush, for all his flaws, believed that the GOP should be a universalistic party based on traditional values, a big tent for “faith-based” conservatives of all races and creeds: Muslims, Hispanics, Mormons, African-Americans, whatever. Now it is clear that the post-Bush GOP is a far nastier creature: A party seething with hatred towards vulnerable religious and ethnic groups. Despite the pretense that the GOP’s anti-mosque crusade is based on what Imam Rauf and company believe, it has more to do with who they are. It’s telling that the people Republicans are turning to for their anti-mosque street cred are not “moderate, peace-loving” Muslims, since even Muslim Republicans are disgusted by their party’s actions. The GOP’s new heroes are former Muslims like Nonie Darwish and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. That’s one way to escape the new Republican bigotry.

Beinart insists he knows what really motivates mosque opponents; everything they say in defense of their position is a lie designed to obscure their obvious hatred, in his mind. There’s no reason to doubt the good motives of the mosque builders. There’s no reason for disliking a religious house of worship selected specifically for this location, and self-promoted as the official of house of worship of the events of 9/11. The fact that no one is objecting to two other Islamic cultural centers within 1.5 miles of Ground Zero doesn’t refute the accusation of reflexive anti-Muslim views at all. Either you agree with Beinart, or you are “seething with hatred towards vulnerable religious and ethnic groups.”

The same tack is taken by the editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer today; opposition to the mosque is ipso facto bigotry.

In other words, when Siena finds, “When asked if they ‘support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House,’ New Yorkers said they oppose the facility, which is expected to cost $100 million, by a 63-27 percent margin. At the same time, by a 64-to-28 percent margin, New Yorkers say Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the constitutional right to build it,” Beinart & Co. have no qualms about dismissing 63 percent of New Yorkers, many of whom reside in one of the world’s most diverse cities and in diverse suburbs around it, as irredeemable bigots.

Is it any wonder that most of the electorate beyond loyal Democrats responds, #@&$ off!?

Tags: 2010 , Independents

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