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Friday, October 11, 2013

What About the Rest of Us?

Tea Party Pumpkin Carving

A sad and subdued Joe Scarborough said he looked over the GOP’s dismal numbers and had to admit that there are two parties within the Republican Party.  It was either that or he had to admit that the entire Republican brand was at rock bottom.  He used to dismiss the 30 or 40 wacko birds thinking that the elite still ran the party.  Joe would always invoke the names of Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and Scott Walker as examples of good conservative governors. That’s all well and good, but the numbers inside the Wall Street/NBC told a different story.

It’s like hypertension or diabetes; you can only ignore it for so long.  The very thing the tea party went after went up in popularity.  Obamacare gained seven points, 38% now favor the program and 41% despise it; those numbers are just about even and that’s with the website problems.  The president is now at 47% approval and only 31% blame him for the shutdown.  The number that was a surprise me was the 52% that think that government should do more and the 50% that do not want Obamacare repealed.

Only Republicans and political junkies really care about the GOP infighting; the rest of the nation wants the government reopened and our debt limit increased.

Poll numbers are a snapshot in time and they will change but when you shut down the government, people search for the reasons why.  They found out that Obamacare will only affect about 15%, so that’s not worth a shutdown.  Then the GOP House tried to pass piecemeal legislation, showing that vital parts of the government needed to be reopened.  The final nail on the coffin was the debt deniers ,claiming that we would technically not be defaulting and if we did, it would not be a catastrophe.  Those people found out that the average American still listens to the treasury secretary and leading economists.  And in many cases, the national media stepped up to the plate and corrected the misleading statements. 

The House Republicans supposedly offered a clean six week debt limit extension (November 22) but won’t reopen the government without more spending cuts.  The government has already been closed two weeks and in that period it has been unable to collect some revenues.  There are still 400,000 people in government out of work and many are in critical jobs.  Consumer confidence is at an all- time low, so another budget fight during the holidays will not be good for business.  I hope Harry Reid and the president hold out for a one year clean debt limit bill, and insist on the government reopening.  The GOP pinned all their hopes on a freshman senator and his cockamamie idea and now they want something to save face.

The Democrats have yet to ask for anything, other than a clean CR and a debt limit increase with a promise to sit down at a conference to discuss various options to get our fiscal house in order.

The president and the Democrats have not won a thing because raising the debt limit benefits our economy and reopening the government does the same.  Politically, things are favorable for a  Dem takeover of the House of Representatives and maintaining the Senate but that was because of the incompetence of the GOP.

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