Thursday, August 11, 2011

Will and Disgrace

These days, particularly with the political divide in Washington as substantial and insurmountable as it is, there's very little that's more offensive than a politician arrogantly invoking the supposed will of "the American people." Think about how often you've heard that phrase in just the past few weeks, from dozens of different leaders from both sides of the aisle. It's generally the worst kind of cliché: a pompous politician claiming to speak for the entire republic and to be doing its collective bidding. But recently it's become flat-out insulting, given that it's impossible for any representative from either party to bridge the gap between the highly polarized political extremes and only the most lunatic among the electorate actually want to see government gridlocked to the point of threatening the world.

Still, if you needed confirmation of that which you very likely already knew, a new poll proves unequivocally that when guys like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint claim that their intransigence is nothing more than a case of succumbing to the will of the people, they're basically full of shit. The Tea Party and the ever-widening extremist wing of the Republican party may be loud, but they're not very big. According to a CNN/Opinion Research survey, just 33% of the American public currently hold a favorable view of the Republican party, compared to 59% who have an unfavorable view. If you're looking for context, yes, those numbers are as dismal as they sound. The Democrats, meanwhile, are holding relatively steady -- and even -- at 47% favorable and 47% unfavorable.

Both sides have played a role in creating a profound nationwide distrust of and distaste for our current government, but make no mistake -- the Republicans are rightfully getting most of the blame. What's most noteworthy about this, though, is that as of this morning the usual suspects within the GOP are continuing to tout their absurd stance on slashing entitlement and social programs while waiting in line to slavishly get on their knees and blow Grover Norquist as a simple case of doing the people's work. And you can be damn sure this will continue unabated.

The people have spoken loud and clear, saying that they overwhelmingly want to see corporate tax breaks ended, loopholes closed, and the wealthy forced to pay their fair share -- but if you think for a moment that something like verifiable reality will stand in the way of the Republicans' agenda and a lot of propagandistic nonsense about how it's all being done under the direction of the masses, you're crazier than one of those old people sitting in a lawn chair cheering the U.S. credit downgrade.

That's because they don't work for the average American. They don't work for you, and they never have -- not lately anyway.

Salon: Could the Tea Party Actually Be Obama's Salvation in 2012?/8.11.11

1 comment:

kanye said...

That poll doesn't say what you think it says, Chez:

-1008 surveyed
-930 registered voters
-80/20 split; landlines/cell phones

Basically, they polled a bunch of old people, and the positions of the aged are very different than the positions of the majority.

Older people practice stay-in-place politics; prevent defense politics. They're not looking for improvement, but rather, they simply don't want what they have taken away from them.

That's a very different mindset from the majority, most of whom are concerned with the multiple decades that they have left of their lives and the conditions in which they'll live out those decades, and not their final remaining years.

I saw another poll a while back:

-71%of all voters now view the federal government as a special interest group.

-70% of all voters believe that the government and big business typically work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors.

-75% of voters are angry at the policies of the federal government.

-63% of voters say it would be better for the country if most members of Congress are defeated [in] November.

Here's the real kicker:

Today, however, just 21% of voters nationwide believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed.

Using this poll to place the previous polls results in context, what we see isn't that the Dems. enjoy greater approval among the American public than the Repubs., but that both parties are immensely unpopular; the Dems. just a little less so.

As if those figures aren't stark enough, consider that this poll only counted voters, and not the other half of the country who've become so thoroughly disaffected that they no longer bother to vote.

There's this thing that campaigns do, post-election. They parse the vote in order to determine exactly how many people actually voted for their candidate.

Whenever we did that, the numbers always fell in the 8%-12% range. Every time.

That's why so much invective gets hurled at The President; why so many people feel so free to openly criticize, not just him, but really, all elected officials: 90% of the population didn't vote for them.