GOP Message Unravels
by Deacon Blues
Confidence fairies and bond vigilantes were routed, and every assertion made by the GOP leadership about the criticality of spending cuts was tossed out today when the stock market tumbled more than 500 points over concerns that the US and global economies have tanked. After watching the GOP leadership take the United States Congress hostage through most of 2011 and ignoring job creation, the American public has had enough:
The debate over raising the debt ceiling, which brought the nation to the brink of default, has sent disapproval of Congress to its highest level on record and left most Americans saying that creating jobs should now take priority over cutting spending, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
A record 82 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job — the most since The Times first began asking the question in 1977, and even more than after another political stalemate led to a shutdown of the federal government in 1995. More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country. Nearly three-quarters said that the debate had harmed the image of the United States in the world.
Is Obama well-positioned to benefit from this and set the narrative as I suggested earlier today? Yes.
Sixty-three percent of those polled said that they support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year, as President Obama has sought to do — including majorities of Democrats (80 percent), independents (61 percent) and Republicans (52 percent).
There were signs that President Obama was emerging from the crisis less bruised than the Republicans in Congress.
The president’s overall job approval rating remained relatively stable, with 48 percent approving of the way he handles his job as president and 47 percent disapproving — down from the bump up in the polls he received in the spring after the killing of Osama bin Laden, but in line with how he has been viewed for nearly a year. By contrast, Speaker John A. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, saw his disapproval rating shoot up 16 points since April: 57 percent of those polled now disapprove of the way he is handling his job, while only 30 percent approve.
And yet the GOP's playbook during the August recess when members of Congress are back home is to talk about a balanced budget amendment. After telling us for months that the economy would improve if we slashed spending, the discredited GOP will now blame Obama for slow job growth at a time of record corporate profits, while trying to avoid telling voters why they still have no jobs plan of their own.
Obama unfortunately is not a populist, because a populist could ride this wave to a large victory in 2012. Instead, Obama has done way too much to avoid populism and now finds himself unable to fully pound the GOP into the ground over their dereliction of duty. It will have to come from the Democratic congressional leaderhip to remind voters that they tossed out Democrats less than a year ago, only to get no action at all on jobs. After his role in what is now a dead economy, and his inability and unwillingness to confront the GOP's thuggery, Obama himself is an impotent messenger now.