Is Obama Winning in DC and Losing the Country?

A pair of articles, one at the Washington Post, the other at Politico, look at the significance of continuing slide in Obama’s poll ratings.

At the WaPo, pollsters Douglas Schoen and Pat Caddell are firmly of the view that Obama is out of touch with the mood in the heartland, and needs a sharp course correction to avoid a “November bloodbath.” Caddell has told me privately that he has never seen anything remotely resembling the current gap between beliefs among policy elites versus attitudes of the public at large. One might point out that politicians should above all else be in the business of shaping public sentiment. My admittedly parochial view is that Obama is almost reflexively lauded for his rhetoric, when in fact he has done a terrible job here. Schoen and Caddell note:

Recent polling shows that despite lofty predictions that a broad-based Democratic constituency would be activated by the bill’s passage, the bill has been an incontrovertible disaster. The most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, released on April 12, shows that 58 percent of the electorate supports a repeal of the health-care reform bill — up from 54 percent two weeks earlier. Fueling this backlash is concern that health-care reform will drive up health costs and expand the role of government, and the belief that passage was achieved by fundamentally anti-democratic means….

In fact, Monday’s Gallup report showed the president’s weekly job approval rating at a low of 47 percent. And as the Democratic Party’s favorability has dropped to 41 percent — the lowest in Gallup’s 18-year history of measuring it — this week’s Rasmussen Reports survey shows the Republican Party with a nine-point lead in the generic congressional vote. Moreover, independents, who are more energized than Democrats, are leaning Republican by a 2-to-1 margin.

The Politico piece contains strong signs of wishful thinking, of an Administration overly attuned to dynamics in Washington over those in the country at large:

“The President undertook health care because it was the right thing for the country even though it was politically risky,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. “We don’t share the media’s obsession with poll numbers, particularly months and months from an election. The politics of passing health care will be very good for Democrats. It’s only in this town that not having them fully realized in a matter of days would be seen as a failure.”

Yves here. Huh? Enthusiasm for change is usually highest at the outset; regrets tend to come later. And the reservations about the health care bill are rising rather than abating:

A new Associated Press-GfK poll found Americans oppose the health care overhaul 50 percent to 39 percent – worse rankings than before Congress passed the bill, when polls were evenly split.

Yves again. But Team Obama seems in danger of believing its own PR:

Obama aides say that perceptions in the capital about Obama’s effectiveness and political standing have been changed not just by health care, but also job growth, foreign-policy successes and lower-than-expected costs for the bailout.

“What we got in the Beltway was a break in the losing narrative,” said one of the city’s best-known Democratic consultants. “Obama has won something, and it was against all odds. He had lost the health-care battle a half-dozen times, and he finally got it over the finish line.” (emphasis ours)

Yves here. “Obama has won something” is a very low bar for success. The Administration has demonstrated that it can handle the legislative process when it has a controversial program but also enjoys majorities in both houses.

The Administration seems to be pinning its hopes on continued economic improvement to lead to higher approval ratings. That could prove to be a risky bet.

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  1. Keenan

    Further suggestion that the power-wielders of Dee Cee are every bit as disconnected and intoxicated on their own fumes as the aristocrats of late 18th century Versailles. An electoral bloodbath would be preferable to the Robespierre version.

    Yves, hope you enjoy your extended stay in London.

    1. Glen

      Agree. DC (Democrats and Republicans) are OUT OF TOUCH.

      America voted for REAL change not a bailout of Wall St and a bailout of the health care insurance industry.

      Obama would have been in better shape for 2010/2012 if he had fought vigorously for Medicare for All and lost to the Republicans in DC. Then the Democrats would have had even more Republicans voted out. Catering to Republicans in DC is a loser. Catering to Republicans and Democrats in the nation is a winner.

      Quite frankly, now everybody expects Obama to tank on Wall St reform too. As well we should.

  2. Mind_The_GAAP

    Are you sure this isn’t just the Obama team trying to spin something positive from pretty bleak general numbers?

    Where are the links of the day?

  3. Tom Stone

    Betting on “continued economic recovery” is a risky bet? come on,it’s nearly as sensible as betting all your money on the lotto!.Obama has failed and I deeply regret it.That the Dems are as tone deaf as the last administration is a bit of a surprise,that takes serious effort and talent.WASS.

  4. charles

    Dear Yves,

    You should enjoy the exhibition in London dedicated to another
    con-artist, Grace Kelly

  5. Namazu

    Hypothesis: the policy elites are heavily (and not entirely consciously) influenced by the stock market, in which they participate to a much greater degree than most of the public. The underlying sentiment that influences op-ed pieces, recommendations of political advisers, CNBC, and so on, are therefore a coincident indicator–whereas protests and signs of dissent in the broader public are a leading indicator. I believe the elites are often too amoral or “sophisticated” to understand that most people care at least as much about the integrity of the political process as short-term fluctuations in economic statistics. Disclosure: long chickens coming home to roost.

  6. Amit Chokshi

    Well of the 50% that oppose the healthcare bill, about 20% IIRC were opposed because it was not progressive enough. These articles generally never mention that because the corp MSM wants to portray an idea that fully 50% are opposed to any healthcare overhaul whatsoever.

    So if 20% want a more progressive bill, then the current bill may be a good first step but more importantly, the political implications are muted. I actually would not be surprised to see Dems and any Blue America candidates kill it in November bucking conventional wisdom.

    Secondly, even though I am one of those that thinks the bill is weak (mandate w/o public option!??), there is no legit competition to Obama in 2012, he’ll annihilate anyone that runs against him.

    1. Bookit

      I’m leaning toward this view myself. Most of the people who oppose the bill do so because they’ve been taught to parrot the magic scare words “big gub’mint.” But somewhere between a fifth and a third of the bill’s opponents realize it really was a bailout for the health insurance industry. My guess is that the Dems do lose big in the short run, but that that does not presage the rightward lurch conservative Republicans want. At the end of the day, the Democrats are in much the same place the Republicans were in the 1970s — they aren’t popular, but they increasingly look like the party of adults.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem is the Democrats might look like the party of “Adults,” but they need to be the party of young people, where most of their growth in the last election was. Those people didn’t come out for any of the state wide races since Nov. 2008.

        The bottom line is Obama needs to win more than 59 million votes. Thats the Republican base. Lets not kid ourselves. They may not identify as such, but 59 million people voted for a ticket that would have made Sarah Palin Vice-President of the United States, an office held by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. 59 MILLION PEOPLE. That can’t be stressed enough. When you get to the states that are close, Obama’s margins weren’t as commanding as the national popular vote. A lot of people in really blue states came out to vote for a black guy because how often does that happen?

        The real question is, “does looking like the Party of “Adults” and the Party currently at the helm of a sickening economy bring out young people, hispanics, and low-info Democratic voters to the voting booth, and does it encourage Party activists who actually make those people vote go do that?”

        The answer is no. It happened in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. There is a solidly liberal state, a solidly blue state since ’92, and a red state that had elected a Democrat at the top of the ticket in the last three state-wide elections. Obama is vulnerable.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m hearing that line from various Democrats too, “Oh, the Republicans have no one credible to run, ergo Obama will win even if things look not so hot right now.” That line of thought leads to complacency. Recall that Clinton was one of the “seven dwarves” ‘who were trying to secure the Democratic nomination against Bush I.

      1. Amit Chokshi

        Can you really see anyone with Clinton’s charisma or empathy out of the Republicans to appeal to a population that is becoming increasingly diverse and financially insecure? During a nasty recession Clinton felt your pain, republicans want to increase your pain and people get that.

        Alex P Keaton wannabe Paul Ryan is a joke, Ron Paul past his Fed and war view is far too anti social safety net, Palin is a world class moron, Huckabee is a religious freak, it’s a joke. Pawlenty, Sanford, Romney? They have no game, these fools should all be on a reality tv show with Michael Steele like the Real World for Republicans, would be exponential levels of idiocy.

        Obama is not all that but he’s a big time winner. I thought he was done in Feb but he decided to make it happen with healthcare, he should haev done it last summer but was stupid to let Congress bungle it up last year. Either way he took care of it in the face of lying Republicans and a complicit MSM that supported/reported these lies.

        So by November they’ll have healthcare and republicans will say we want to repeal having 26 y/os being on their parents health ins policy? pre existing conditions? the bill won’t be the end of society like the teabaggers think due to their puny intellects. Now with the GS news just breaking, the Republicans will look even more laughable lobbying against fin reform.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          McCain/Palin ’08 = 59 Million votes. Thats 3 million more than Bush/Cheney. Remember the charisma of John McCain?

          Don’t get complacent if you don’t want a Republican to win.

        2. mytwosenseworth

          I think the Republicans are in better shape than you admit. While Sarah Palin and Ron Paul are political jokes, some of the other candidates are as bad as you make them out to be. And your patently insulting bias further diminishes your point about their purported lack of presidential “jizz” for 2010. Obama is going to have the fight of his life to get re-elected if the present discontent with the Democratic Party holds, or unless Palin is the only other option.

          1. Amit Chokshi

            U admit Palin and Paul are political jokes yet they are two of the larger draws in the party no? Who else will win the nomination? Gingrich? They have to pull a guy from the 90s to compete in today’s environment?

            “Patently insulting bias” cause I describe these people as liars and windbags that want to ruin this country and mislead the American people into voting against their best interest? Like when the republicans talked about death panels? like when Mitch McConnell and Corker talk about “perpetual bailouts” or when Judd Gregg says exchanges REDUCE liquidity?

            Yes, unfortunately most teabaggers don’t realize reality has a liberal bias.

          2. Doug Terpstra

            Frankly, I thingk your characterization is and insult to liars and windbags everywhere :-)

      2. purple

        A Romney/Whitman ticket would probably be strong enough. And I expect Whitman to win the CA governorship this fall. Romney does well in states like Nevada and CO where Mc Cain was weak. Don’t like the guy, but just looking at the horse race.

        It all depends on the unemployment rate, in the end.

  7. attempter

    The abyss between Washington and America is irretrievable given its kleptocratic commitments. It’s truly an alien place, a veritable foreign occupation. Or as I put it in a previous comment, the elite structure is attempting to secede from the country with all it’s looted (while maintaining the capacity for further extractions and violent repression).

    It’s funny how they disparage polling numbers now. Were they saying that when the numbers were up around 60%?

    And this is a contemptible lie:

    “The President undertook health care because it was the right thing for the country even though it was politically risky,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said.

    No, fighting as hard as he had to in order to win single payer would’ve been the right thing for the country even if politically risky.

    What they actually did was betray the country, pass a horrible, destructive bill, while the way they did it will end up being a political disaster for them.

    So in their malevolence and their incompetence they’ll end up with by far the worst of both worlds.

    1. rootless_e

      A contemptible lie? How full of it can you get? Obama was against single payer during the election campaign. The contemptible lie is the one that he somehow violated a pledge by failing to change his mind once in office.

      1. attempter

        1. Obama specifically claimed during the campaign he was for a real “public option”. That’s a precision lie.

        2. In general he claimed to want real health insurance reform. That was indeed one of the most despicable lies in American history.

        Anybody who follows this and is not a complete fool knows that only single payer can lower costs and extend coverage.

        Anybody who follows this and is not a complete villain knows that the health insurance “industry” is a pure parasite which contributes nothing but cost and complexity. Anyone who’s not a corporate thug knows its very existence shouldn’t be tolerated.

        So by definition the measure of seeking reform would be to demand and fight for single payer.

        So which are you, a Democratic party hack or a liberal teabagger? Those are the only options given the lies you’ve been spouting since you got here.

        Either way, you’re clearly one of the despicable liars who pretended to object to Bush policies but really only objected to the fact that it was Republicans doing it. Never the parties themselves.

        You’re contemptible.

        1. attempter

          That’s Republican policies themselves.

          The likes of the well-named “rootless” always liked them and couldn’t wait for the Dems to own them.

          1. JTFaraday

            Well, that was the Rahm Emanuel plan for the D-Party, Rootless-c sure does love him some Rahm. Insurance industry contributions for Rahm, at high cost to the citizenry is just smart politics.

            I guess that does make the rest of us Rahm’s “effing morons.”

          2. JTFaraday

            After all, Amit-c is quick to jump in the D-Party meat grinder. Maybe “effing moron” is right.

  8. attempter

    The phrase and concept “jobless recovery” is a perfect crystallization of the abyss. That a term which might seem excessive in satire is actually an accepted, everyday concept.

  9. Edward Lowe

    Let’s face it. Other than having a guy who can speak well and confidently in front of the press, we have the same policy crew that has been in power in DC since Clinton (the earlier ones are all dead or dying I believe). OK, so Obama is not as belligerent as Bush II/Cheney. His gurkas are just as deadly in our colonial wars as were Bush’s (of course, because they’re the same). Health Care reform is ALREADY beginning to bite as insurance companies ratchet down reimbursement rates to the point that family practitioners are having financial problems while they ratchet up premiums. Ain’t that federally guaranteed profit great! The banks are playing fake-the-profit and pad the bonus with wild abandon, all while housing prices are set to resume their declines (as they are in my neighborhood) … meaning even higher losses in financials. This fall is going to be UGLY. Not that the republicans have anything to offer, since, once again … it’s the same crew as the democrats.

    1. liberal

      I have to respectfully disagree.

      I agree with most of the complaints about the Democrats (in my case, coming from someone who’s liberal left). Obama has been far too center-right for me.

      OTOH, the Republicans? Are you kidding me? The Dems aren’t great on Iraq (e.g. what Clinton did, and the willingness of many Dem Congressmen to vote for the AUMF), but if Gore had been seated, we’d never have had invaded Iraq.

      And if McCain had won in 2008, we’d have to worry about being in a shooting war with Russia over Georgia.

      The Democrats are, at least in their leadership, a bunch of center/center-right kleptocrats. But that’s better than the alternative, a bunch of complete, utter nutjobs with connections to a movement that believes in Armageddon.

  10. curlydan

    The next few months, though, should be much more positive for Obama. The Dem consultants are trying to build momentum from “winning”, and Obama will get a few more “wins” in the upcoming months, e.g. financial reform, improving economy (mainly through a lot of Census jobs), boost in home sales, etc.

    These minor and temporary victories can build some momentum and provide some encouragement for small businesses. The fundamentals are weak, yes, but the fundamentals of this country have been weak since at least 2003 and that didn’t stop us until late 2007.

    My prediction: The Dems will take some losses in November (maybe lose 1 of 2 houses of Congress), but Obama’s approval will start to rebound and will be comfortably above 50% in November with an improving economy. I don’t like it, but extend and pretend is actually kind of working. Delusion often wins in the short-term.

  11. EmilianoZ

    Obama is doing all he can to become a modern version of Louis XVI. He seems totally disconnected not only from the populace but from reality itself.

    I’ve just heard he wants to send men to Mars. WTF? The infrastructure in the US is crumbling and he has some grand vision of going for a frolic on Mars? Let them eat cake!

    Every morning Geithner and Summers probably tell him the economy is back. And he exults: Excellent!

    Only the pitchforks can bring such fools down to earth.

  12. JMG

    What would you have him do? There aren’t a third of the votes in the Congress needed for the policies I know you favor, Yves. After the 2010 wipeout, there will be half that. Did he drop the ball with the stimulus? Yes. But what’s really going on is that Americans realize they live in a plutocracy, are mad about it, and have no idea what to do about it, because is would require a radical shift in their mindset, abandoning much of the fanatic belief in individualism that makes us us.
    When the Republicans regain a share of power, people will remember they hate them, too.

    1. Tertium Squid

      “When the Republicans regain a share of power, people will remember they hate them, too.”

      “When the Republicans regain a share of power, people will remember they hate them, too.”

      “When the Republicans regain a share of power, people will remember they hate them, too.”

      YES. Repeat for emphasis. Shout from the rooftops. The repubs really suck, but their being marginalized has let us forget their suckitude. They haven’t stopped sucking. It would probably be great for them to take one of the houses of Congress back – not that it will actually make things BETTER, but only to promote Washington gridlock and keep them from getting worse.

      Our best hope is for an electoral revolt and some great 3rd party success. That might slap some sense into them.

  13. Anarchist

    I think the public is disenchanted with the government overall, and republicans are trying to capitalize on the low popularity of the administration which is essentially one party rule. I don’t expect much from either party as my screen name hints. Republicans don’t have much in the way of reform either. Tort reform, and portability, but not abolishing Medicare, or even cutting it back? Medicare basically is a subsidy that increases prices, and it’s trillions of dollars in the hole. Employee insurance needs to be abolished. You don’t get any other insurance through your employer. There is no competition in medical care, that’s the problem. Insurance is for emergencies, and things that are not affordable out of pocket, it’s not a delivery system for health care. There is no responsible consumers in that sector as there is a third party paying all the cost, or most of the cost of medical care. Adding more insurance, and more regulations is nonsensical. Even the public option won’t address the underlying costs of medical care, just look at Medicare, see for yourself. The politicians don’t have a clue how to fix health care. I would propose a radical free market reform to health care.

    1. Anarchist

      If you want to look at what Obamacare looks like, just look over to Massachussettes health care system, which is very similar, and see the costs of it. Even compare the costs to a state like Texas, you see the wonderful work of genius politicians insisting they can fix something. Health care reform will be more expensive, and essentially destroy itself with time, and of course we can rely on genius politicians claiming they can fix something. Obamacare is also going to be a jobs killer, and going to lower the standard of living of folks, particularly those who are forced to buy insurance, and pay the ever increasing premiums this health care bill will surely perpetuate.

      1. Anarchist

        I would also like to point out that much of Obamacare comes from Conservative Republican ideas. No coincidence Mitt Romney borrowed the ideas for health care he implemented in Massachusetts. Medical fascism from both parties, and neither have any credibility on the issue. I think voters are naive if they believe Republicans will repeal the health care bill, or completely opposed it. Politics obscures more than it reveals. Government needs to end the subsidies, change the tax code for employee insurance, and reduce regulations. Regulations to the average person seems like to good thing, until you see the effects of it, you realize such regulations make the problem worse. Instead of just nation wide insurance competition, why not global?

    2. Jerry

      When will we have another political party….you know one that is representative of the people….I’m from the “heartland” and I don’t approve of either party….why is this question never asked…..

    3. liberal

      “I would propose a radical free market reform to health care.”

      That’s crazy. While insurance does indeed create market distortions, medicine itself is an industrial sector that has enormous perversities leading to market failure. Most of these are enormous information asymmetries—consumers rely on doctors for diagnosis, but also for treatment. Furthermore, while a rational market would lead to optimizing health outcomes given a budget constraint, there’s no incentive on the behalf of providers to not treat.

  14. Jib

    Rasmussen! It has been an outlier poll with a strong republican bias for some time. Now maybe they are the only ones who get it and all the other polls are ran by East Coast liberal elites.

    Or maybe this is selective bias.

    Lets see how the polls look after the republicans spend the summer fighting against financial reform. Lets see what the polls look like in Sept when people are actually paying attention and will be chosing between 2 real candidates instead of a incumbent and ‘some one different’.

    And lets see what happens in 2012 after the republicans take the house and promptly start the impeachment hearings over Obama’s birth certificate.

    Health care will not matter at all in the fall. It is a cable news issue. The people who watch the news and debate politics care deeply about all this but they are a small number of the voters.

    If the economy continues to improve then the dems will do better than any one thinks. If the economy tanks, the repubs will do even better than the polls show now. The rest is just noise and heat, entropy filling up air time and column inches between advertisements.

  15. Tim

    Inspired by a post here a couple days ago – it’s the people stupid.

    People = us. Us actually doing something.

    Examples that can’t be discounted:
    The millions who subscribe to and get updates about everything including what to do. Make no mistake – the people reaching out to their representatives is what gave them the balls to pass health care. Certainly not a perfect bill.

    WE – the people who know how critical real no bullshit financial reform is needed need to create a campaign/website to pull people together to scream about what we need in it.

    Downside of not doing that? You know what it is.

    My point – screw polls. We the people who give a shit must make things happen.

  16. ZA

    The big piles of money surrounding DC are very effective insulation against the sound of screaming.

  17. AK

    My take on this …

    It was a strategic error of Americans to elect a black president.

    America is historically based on individualism, which in turn is based on protestant European reformation.

    Black people mentality is rather oriented forward to collectivism than individualism. I don’t want to discuss why now but let’s assume this as a simple ‘fact.’

    So, Obama (based on his values) is pushing America towards collectivism. It contradicts to American values and won’t bring anything good to the country but this policy only creates schizophrenic-like dissonance to the nation.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Keep this up and you will not be permitted to post here.

      I’m not prepared to indulge theorizing based on racial stereotyping. And it isn’t even accurate. Obama is half Kenyan, and his white grandmother seems to have been the most influential figure in his upbringing.

      1. tyaresun

        What do you think of the race he opted for on his census return.

        I agree with your answer to AK but clearly using race as a trump card seems important to Obama.

      2. RagingDebate

        Good call warning that commentator Yves. I didn’t vote for Obama but I was hoped for the best out of him. I thought the whole racism politics would be finally muted by having an African American President. No dice there and that idiot commentator with the racist comment adds fuel to the fire.

        Obama problem is that he is a pure academic. I am sure you have worked with such types.

        They have no real world experience to balance their ideological impressions of how the world works or even basic human nature. Such types when they begin to apply their ideology and it gets rejected turn very bitter and angry.

        To me, he was the perfect Manchurian candidate for the banksters to fund into office. $300+M in overseas donations, mostly from Europe. Gee, I wonder why.

    2. DR

      This is what happens when you have a one party rule.

      With the Republicans, it was a wasteful trillion dollar war.
      With the Democrats, it is a wasteful trillion dollar health care bill.

      If congress gets a few more Republicans this next election then we get a deadlock administration which would be a good thing.

    3. liberal

      “Black people mentality is rather oriented forward to collectivism than individualism.”


      As opposed to the mostly white banksters busy privatizing profits and socializing losses, the idiots tea partiers (almost entirely white) who piss and moan about big government while at the same time warning “don’t touch my Medicare or Social Security!”

      Better trolls, please.

  18. radicalized

    I think OBushma knows what he is doing. He has been very consistent when you realize that his hidden agenda is to turn the state over to private financial organizations, Mega Banks, Corporations and Monopoly insurance companies. This was the Clinton and Bush’s agendas as well. The Health Care bill was intended to be a sham, a cover for the consolidation of corporate takeover of the health insurance industry.

    The upcoming elections will be interesting. The Republicans will gain power via the discontent of the people who have been saturated with anti government propaganda. Everyone questions why OBushma didn’t use his super majority to push through his programs. Can politicians be so stupid as to not realize that the super majority is rare and an overwhelming mandate to “Git er done”?

    If the Republicans gain the presidency and the ability to enact legislation, they will destroy the economy in 6 months. Raising interest rates and cutting expenditures will kill the recovery. Both parties will blame the other. Meanwhile corporate America will be safe as the bailouts will have done their magic and the rest of us will be left among the rubble.

    It’s all about the secret governments agenda. The president and the parties are just salesman, not statesmen.

  19. scott

    To paraphrase what is ascribed to Harold MacMillian the biggest challenge Obama is going to face is ‘Events, my dear boy, Events”. I can’t believe HCR will keep as an issue in this ADHD nation. What those events will be and how Obama handle’s them I’ve no idea but I feel pretty confident that the issues in today’s headlines won’t be those in the November 2012 campaign.

  20. KJMClark

    What a bunch of blather. The party with the presidency and both houses of congress ***always*** loses seats in the next mid-term election. ***Always***! The party in power ***always*** loses seats when unemployment is high. The Democrats only hope for retaining both houses is for the economy to get better, fast. They know full well that’s not likely to happen. They might as well accomplish something useful while they have power, which they did!

    The healthcare mess in this country had to be dealt with sooner or later. It was either headed toward just about everyone fending for themselves (the Republican approach), or something that attempted to cover everyone and lower costs through limited rationing (the Democrat approach). In the “cover everyone” bucket, there is the nation system option and the nation insurance option. They took the more centrist approach.

    Really, we’re just repeating the national stupidity that bedeviled the Clinton administration. It’s no wonder the rest of the world can’t figure us out. We make almost no sense sometimes.

    1. liberal

      The party with the presidency and both houses of congress ***always*** loses seats in the next mid-term election. ***Always***! The party in power ***always*** loses seats when unemployment is high.

      Good point; those effects need to be “regressed out.”

      Kinda like teaching evaluations at universities. Having taught in that setting, it’s ludicrous that they don’t regress out the effect of handing out lots of high grades on evaluations.

  21. Mutie


    I’m rather surprised at this piece. This is a departure from your usual excellent writing.

    The first obvious counterargument to the “unpopularity” of HCR is that about 1/2 of the disapproval comes from people who support HCR. These people believe that this bill doesn’t go far enough. This intepretation of the poll data implies something very different for the Fall elections.

    The 2nd obvious counterargument is that poll data is notoriously fickle. For example, in direct contradiction to your claims, according to, the popularity of HCR has risen since its passage, not fallen. Go check it out.

    Finally, this is not so much a counterargument, but a comment. It is known that Rasmussen has a polling bias. They are routinely an outlier compared to other polling groups. This would be fine, except they show a consistent pattern in their outlier data, i.e. they seem to have a bias in favor of a particular party. IMO, citing Rasmussen is always a discredit to any opinion piece.

  22. craazyman

    Tune out, children of passions, and transcend the cage of your dualities. There is a world beyond this world. Please ignore what Nietszche said about me. He was a lunatic.

    I will run for President soon, and bring enlightenment with my 50 virgins.

    -Rahamandra Superananatan
    Head Guru
    Temple of the Holy Chakra

  23. The Rage

    Be my guest, let the economy completely collapse. Expose how much of it was just a credit mirage. Maybe then they will fully see how gutted it has become since the glory days of the mid-20th century.

    Deflation is always good for anti-capitalistic movements. It is what people don’t get. The bailouts weren’t done for “them”. They were done for “us”.

    Maybe we will understand that at some point.

  24. Eric L. Prentis

    President Obama’s healthcare giveaway to the private insurance companies makes insurance corporations more politically entrenched and financially powerful, and Obama’s “solution” will not work, look at all the problems occurring in Massachusetts over a similar healthcare program. The reality of Obama—as opposed to his politically devious Chicago-like rhetoric—i.e., his new war in Afghanistan, his authorizing the use of deadly force on Americans without due process, his terrible healthcare reform, his keeping economic liars, crooks and cheats in government and overseeing the looting of the treasury, his crony capitalism of keeping zombie banks alive and their terrible bank managements in place, his total disregard of increasing US jobs, and his ignoring of Main Street in favor of Wall Street—should match Obama with Bush’s approval rating—30%.

  25. lark

    Obama has been restrained in his approach to the looting of our economy, and that has had a positive stabilizing effect, but it has made him appear as a puppet of the financial elites, and undermined him politically. That would have been manageable were it not combined with high unemployment.

    The fundamental problem is that dealing with the high unemployment requires a more confrontational approach – for example tariffs on Chinese imports – that would be bad for confidence. We are outsourcing our way into serious political discontent, but addressing that will expose the rift in interests between MNCs, our corporate masters, and voters: dicey for continued recovery.

    The fundamental looming problem is that if the Dems don’t deal with this unemployment related discontent, a return to Republican dominance becomes likely. That would be a return to horrendous incompetence, stupidity, avarice, and corruption. It would signal the beginning of a long term decline.

    If the Republicans were decisively defeated in November, that might make them grow up and look at serious problems seriously. But if they win….

  26. Neil D

    It’s all OK. Even if the GOP takes filibuster proof control of Congress in November, it will have been worth it. We have a recovering economy and health care reform. If they GOP takes over, we’ll still be fine. It really doesn’t matter.

    1. Walter Map

      “We have a recovering economy and health care reform.”

      No, Neil, you do not.

      “If they GOP takes over, we’ll still be fine.”

      No, Neil, it’s not going to be okay. Things haven’t even gotten ugly yet, much less weird ugly.

      The economy is not recovering. It is getting worse.

      Obama has done little more than delay the collapse of the US economy, and he has bought that delay at a very high price.

      You don’t have health care reform either. What you have is yet another giveaway to Wall St. with “controls” which are already being evaded.

      Obama promised “change” and has deliberately avoided delivering, and he and the Democratic party are rightly seen to be in Wall St’s. pocket as much as the Republicans.

      The US is headed for certain decline and the Democrats are going to pay at the polls for not having prevented it, regardless of what the dreaded Republicans do. Think Mexico. It is only a matter of time.

      You’re a sucker for the official propaganda. What, you think your government is going to tell you the truth? Why? Wishful thinking?

  27. Doug Terpstra

    “Fueling this backlash is concern that health-care reform will drive up health costs and expand the role of government, and the belief that passage was achieved by fundamentally anti-democratic means….”

    You know that’s right. IMO, Obama has achieved the worst possible outcome: free-rein laissez-faire profiteering by government mandate. Time will tell (it’s delayed eight years for a reason), but this is a regressive devolution I never could have imagined.

    The most baffling aspect of Obama’s head-spinning regression is his apparent political deafness to his base’s anger. For a campaigner who clearly ‘got it’ with the “fierce urgency of now” in combating gross imbalances, fraud, war crimes, environmental danger, and justice in Palestine, one would at least expect him to better conceal his contempt for those he suckered. Instead, he just cavalierly shoots basket after basket for the other team without even bothering to feign them as fumbles.

    The mass-repudiation in Massachusetts, replacing Teddy of all Senators with a repub, looks increasingly likely en masse this November.

    1. Walter Map

      I think you can expect to continue to see a lot of disillusionment in the Democratic party in general and in Obama in particular, and will therefore see people who would vote Democratic staying away from the polls in droves.

      I don’t think the threat of a Republican takeover is credible voter motivation. Even with solid majorities the Democrats have been ineffectual and voters don’t like weaklings. Voters came out for the Democrats in 2008, and what good did it do them?

      Wall Street Is Now America

      Corporatists have a lock on the federal government and I don’t see any way to change that no matter which party is in power. Do you? Corporatists have clearly shown they could care less about the country, so you can expect they will simply continue their policy to rob it blind until there’s nothing left to steal.

  28. Jim in SC

    When I think about this huge fight over health care reform, the thing that creates a sense of cognitive dissonance is the idea that our current health care system is some great good that we’re extending to all the people who don’t have access to it now. In fact, health care in the US is very sketchy, in my experience, even if you have lots of insurance and money. Not only that, it is markedly worse than it was twenty five or thirty years ago. The difference is that in the past, your doctor knew you; knew your family; knew your weaknesses, your strengths, and your failings. In short, your doctor, as part of your community, had a different relationship to you than the relationship he might have today, which entails spending ten minutes with you discussing tests that you can learn about in great detail on WebMD or the Mayo Clinic site. And for this we’re threatening the country’s financial well being? It doesn’t compute.

  29. Paul Tioxon

    As tried and true a cliche, the only poll that counts is the one in the voting booth in November. You can fool a lot of people a lot of the time, but the Democrats have learned to punch back. For some reason, the focus on Tea Partiers and Polls may be missing out on the great number of people who are systemically uncoupled with the media that I grew up with. The daily paper and the evening news, barely register, and all of the controversy of health care and many other issues go over their heads, and many others not only under 30 but not particularly interested in the news, just don’t care. General anxiety and alienation are the rule of the day. As much as I hear the broken hearted who walk the boulevard of broken dreams pine away for Obama as a master of deception, bought and paid for, not living up to various campaign promises etc I can only try to convey to you that revolutionary change was not what he promised. The kind of thorough going policy reforms that should be done, I believe if you look at the Republican PR assault on the President pack the emotional wattage of a Klan rally. I have been involved with the Democratic Party politics locally in various capacities, even witnessing some of my left leaning colleagues histrionics, and I can’t believe the anger of snotty middle class people whose sole grievance is that their IDEAS about themselves are being impinged upon to point where they want to intimidate with a show of arms and change the government months after the election. The Viet Nam War, which directly affected me as well as killed untold numbers of civilians in SE Asia and caused violent outbursts of protests, rioting and political agitation and resistance does not begin to compare with the rational ordering of the health care system in America, as a proportionally charged issue. Ideas of America are under siege, not the sovereignty of the Republic! Even among as educated a group as I find here, almost to a man and woman, the complete lack of any understand outside of your narrow specialization of finance is amazing. The kind of change you call for, all at once, will take years to write and fight for through Congress and the WH. Maybe I can clarify the change that I can believe in: He’s not George Bush, He’s not a Republican, and he has by those mere facts changed the entire policy direction of Washington and the USA. Maybe you have started to notice some of the other business getting done now that everyone has entered therapy after their strokes over health care reform. Like, the International Security Summit. There will come a time when the USA is just another country, as it was before super-powerdom, like Spain or France and we will have to live with the rest of the people in the world, the ones we invaded, the ones we stabbed in the back economically, the ones we sent the CIA to topple, like the current bogeyman Chavez. Have you noticed the 7-11 Co made a political decision to cease selling Citgo gas because they think Venezuela is a dictatorship they don’t want to send greenbacks to anymore? If you watch the Finance Reform debate, it is already turning into the oligarchy lying machine vs the President. Imagine, it is all window dressing, there will be none stop bail outs, no banks will be prosecuted for crimes masquerading as innovation. It seems, that the Republicans are as good at putting regime change programs into play domestically as our intelligence community has around the world. It seems to me, that in DC, he is winning, because he gets to sign laws that his party passed in the legislature. He gets to appoint 2 Supreme Court Justices. And, it is still along way off til the presidential elections. Time enough for more laws to be signed and time enough to see how the laws that were passed can be improved upon incrementally, as opposed to some great big bang theory of social change that many here believe is how things happen. Your models of the social order and how change is possible are simply juvenile. Especially, in the face of nearly 40 years of a intransigent reactionary right wing political stranglehold on our country. From my point of view, the change is massive.

    1. JTFaraday

      I’m sorry but this veritable stream of consciousness attempt at justification sounds like someone caught by mind control cult.

      Bust out. Dissent for a change.

  30. edwardo

    Radicalized and Attempter, among others, are correct: Obama is a facilitator of the corporate agenda, and a warmongering one to boot. But then warmongering is generally corporate friendly behavior. Just as Ike’s Eisenhower’s ghost.

    And yet, despite the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence, there are an amazing number of folks, some of them not unintelligent, who are convinced that Obama is a died in the wool Marxist.

    In the meantime, a plague on both the Democrats and Republicans.

  31. Bob Goodwin

    I am one of the teabaggers liberals disklike. I have as much disgust for the republicans as the democrats. I do not have strong feelings on guns, god, gays and abortion, would prefer less war (but think danger abounds).

    I do feel that we have trillion dollar deficits on the indefinite horizon, which can only be solved with a 20% VAT tax. There aren’t enough rich people to feed the monster.

    The health care bill was another nail in the coffin, but the bailouts were the waterloo. The republicans did it, but the democrats own it now.

    There will be a fight for the republican identity, but I am certain the party will move more libertarian, and become a more populist party. VAT taxes are more regressive than what we have now, which the republicans will oppose while the democrats coddle wall street. The republicans will become a party of the little people, with the only refuge for politicians to talk about blacks and hispanics, rather than the disadvantaged generally.

    It is a perfect storm, being fed by what Yves rightly points to as their self inflicted wounds: They aren’t even trying to justify their actions.

  32. Colony14

    Let’s see, President for 2012…
    Ennie’ Meenine’ Miennie’ Mo, Which United Nations Agenda 21 Puppet will have to go?
    In the 70’s there was a booklet about the Iron Mountain ideal for World Governance.
    In 1992, Bush Senior went to the Rio, Brazil EARTH SUMMIT and committed the United States to ‘The Earth Charter Treaty.
    Then, Clinton in 1996, signed a massive 22 Executive Orders Implementing Agenda 21 for the US called, ‘The Wildlands Project’ or ‘Re-wilding’.
    In the Pacific Northwest alone, at least 90% of land has become the Pet of the “Elites” and is progressively being Land-Locked.
    The US Government & the UN use the NGO’s to buy up massive amounts of lands and place them into, “protected area”, “buffer zone”, “bioregion”, “wetlands”, “World Heritage”, “wildlife reserves”, and I could go on and on.
    The point being, there’s been an AGENDA since the “Elites” propose to move us from a War (corporation + economic) mode into a Peace (corporation + world economy + world governance) mode.
    To achieve this, they must bend and shape us into their Green Agenda.
    Look at all the peoples that are totally in love with Sustainable Development and Biodiversity already.
    And if anyone doubts Agenda 21’s reality, I would suggest you go to youtube and watch at least one of Henry Lamb’s Agenda 21 video’s as he HOLDS UP the very books that are going to be the world’s ‘Georgia Guidestones’ for our horrific Green future.
    Keys to Unlock the Future: Stafford Borough on Local Agenda 21
    Global Biodiversity Assessment, and last but not least, Sustainable Development and Biodiversity.
    Biosphere Reserves worldwide=382. In America there are 47.
    Read the CORE Wilderness areas on page 993.
    These are books available to anyone to purchase or find in re-sale stores.
    When you find out about what will become of the “no humans” areas, you’ll begin to smell the coffee.
    We do not know WHO the ‘Committee of 300’ the ‘Club of Rome’, ‘Trilateral Commission’, ‘Bilderbergs’, Rockefeller (Mr.Monsanto), Rothschilds, and all the HRH’s in the “Elite” group to choose their Puppets with their insane DEEP ECOLOGY mandates.
    Even if O’Doom-Doom does NOT get re-elected by the “Elites”, they will probably put him into a high position in the United Nations to do even more damaging Agenda 21 Implementation, as right-now, he Lock Step following his Agenda 21 orders.
    How to stop the horrific outcome of Agenda 21?
    AWARENESS of it, and what it does to humans.

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