When the Narrative Won’t Behave

Obama Administration

All day long I’ve been seeing headlines like the one discussed in the last post, about how support is crumbling away from President Obama. Then I see this:

Debt ceiling poll: Voters with Obama

Most Americans would like to see a mix of spending cuts and tax increases be part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a new poll finds, aligning the majority with President Barack Obama’s position.

Of those surveyed for a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday, 56 percent said they want to see a mix of approaches used in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The poll was conducted overnight Monday, as Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced their views on the impasse in negotiations in back-to-back televised primetime speeches….

… Just 19 percent of Americans said they favor a plan like Boehner’s, which would rely solely on spending cuts to existing programs to reduce the deficit. Twelve percent said they would prefer a plan to reduce the deficit only by raising taxes.

This says to me that the American people aren’t following the script. It also tells me the President’s political strategy may be a lot smarter than the political gasbags think it is.

Much of the “progressive” Left denounced Obama’s speech last night. Anti-Obama groupthink has so taken over the Left that a person is not allowed even to explain Obama’s position even if he disagrees with it.

But if you read the fine print — meaning go past the headline and look at the data, as I did in the last post — what you see is that Obama’s support really is not shifting much. It’s the GOP’s foundation that’s slipping away.

Now, I disagree with most of the cuts in programs that the President has put on the table over the past several weeks. But by it now should be obvious even to a firebagger that these offers were more about politics — let’s call it “bagger baiting” — than negotiations. And the Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests that the President and his political team are reading the public a lot better than most of the punditocracy and blogosphere.

Meanwhile, it seems to me that the congressional GOP is in meltdown. John Boehner’s plan was rejected by his own party. Sometime today marathon whiner Eric Cantor told House Republicans to stop whining. A bunch of them are still holding out for a balanced budget amendment. Pathetic.

Josh Marshall hints that we may yet be saved by a deus ex machina in the form of Wall Street financial interests. We’ll see.


Greg Sargent, “Americans to Congress: Please hike our taxes before you cut entitlements” and “Dems plot the endgame in debt limit fight.”

See also: “CBO: John Boehner’s debt bill comes up short

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  1. Doug Hughes  •  Jul 26, 2011 @11:13 pm

    “A bunch of them are still holding out for a balanced budget amendment. Pathetic”

    The Norquest/Koch crowd (about 100 House Teabaggers) has rejected Bohner’s plan because it only requires a VOTE in the House and Senate on the Balanced Budget Amendment. They’re holding out for PASSAGE of the BBA in the SENATE (2/3 majority) before they will raise the debt ceiling.

    Ol’ JB wont even ask for that. Which means Boehner needs huge support from House democrats for his plan which ain’t happening. So the veto threat by Obama doesn’t matter because there’s a split in the GOP between the bat-shit crazy and partially crazy wings of the GOP. The BBA has become a suicide pact for the Tea Party and some in the GOP liked it as a bluff, but like it less with the razor on their wrist.

  2. Swami  •  Jul 27, 2011 @12:21 am

    My guess is that most people are seeing this whole issue as a self inflicted wound. And if they are seeing it as such it won’t be hard to figure out who’s gonna hold the blame if their antics blows up in their faces. Those Congress critters who signed the teabagger pledge won’t be looking so good if their game playing turns on them.. It just seem to me that when you stake out an inflexible position before any negotiations are even conducted you can’t be sincere in serving the interests of the American people..You’ve signed away your ability to reason and rendered yourself a total blockhead.

    It’s a Newt Gingrich scorched earth mentality with consequences be damned that they are following. I got a feeling about Cantor, aside from being a jerkoff who wants to make his bones, that he’s gonna sandbag his buddy Boehner..Cantor’s only allegiance is to Cantor, so Boehner would be wise to watch his back. Et tu, Eric?

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 27, 2011 @7:37 am

    I shuddered when I had this thought:
    Since this won’t be the last debt-ceiling crisis we as a nation will face, especially if they have the same or more power in DC – what will the hostage takers demands be the next time?
    Assuming, I suppose, that we survive this one relatively intact.

  4. twtfltrd  •  Jul 27, 2011 @9:22 am

    “Those Congress critters who signed the teabagger pledge won’t be looking so good if their game playing turns on them”

    I keep wondering why the president and congressional democrats don’t make more hay about these pledges the teabagger crowd keeps signing. They need to shout something like “the only pledge they should take is the pledge of allegiance”. Maybe the democrats have signed a pledge or two as well? I see no reason not to score some cheap bumper sticker slogan points and take down Grover Nordbag in the process.

  5. twtfltrd  •  Jul 27, 2011 @9:24 am

    “what will the hostage takers demands be the next time”

    More tax cuts and a Bently in every driveway (assuming you make more than 1 million per year of course).

  6. buckyblue  •  Jul 27, 2011 @11:14 am

    The split in the GOP is uncovered for all to see. The Teahadist three-cornered hat movement has been exposed. I think Obama played this well. Reid’s plan will be passed in the Senate some time soon and then tossed to the House to decide if they really are going to let the country default. It will pass with bi-partisan support, and no teabagger votes. Boehner is dead at this point, but he’s dead anyway. As Speaker, if you write a bill that can’t pass your chamber, you’re dead. But even Cantor couldn’t as Speaker lead this group. You have half of the party truly insane. Where’s the threat from the GOP leadership to say that if you don’t fall into line, you’re getting primaried by a Moderate republican who will do what we ask them to do? If neither one of these work, the President will have to just up the debt limit by himself. And the polls show that the ‘Merican people’ won’t mind.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 27, 2011 @11:26 am

    If there’s a Democratic House, Senate, and President anytime soon, they need to make the debt ceiling increase something that rolls over, and can’t be used as a political football again.

  8. paradoctor  •  Jul 27, 2011 @1:56 pm

    Or abolish the debt ceiling entirely. (Which your proposal in effect does).

    It’ll be Wall Street that’ll do it, from behind the scenes, after they fund anti-teaparty campaigns in 2012.

  9. paradoctor  •  Jul 27, 2011 @2:13 pm

    Obama will send Geithner to Wall Street to say, “Sure you own us, but now we own you, for consider the alternative.” And from then on Obama will be what we used to call a Republican.

    The Republicans will be the party of theocracy, ideology, ignorance and reaction. Nominally conservative; in fact destructive and self-destructive. Nominally populist; in fact economic royalist. It’s a tragedy; so much revolutionary zeal, so misdirected.

    Third party, perhaps? Join Greens with Libertarians as a messy new home for the politically disaffected? Ah, but centrist Democratic (read; Eisenhower Republican) is the lesser of two evils? That works, but only up to a point.

  10. DB  •  Jul 27, 2011 @2:34 pm

    Ah, but centrist Democratic (read; Eisenhower Republican) is the lesser of two evils?

    God, wouldn’t you love to see Dwight Eisenhower in office again? Those were the good old days (unless you were a minority, I understand): An adored war hero with basic common sense and decency who sponsored massive infrastructure projects like the inter-state highway system, had top marginal tax rates above 80%, warned against the “military-industrial complex, had pro-union labor policies and saw Joe McCarthy drinking himself to death in disgrace.
    Hell, he was a liberal Democrat’s dream come true.

  11. Swami  •  Jul 27, 2011 @8:04 pm

    I’m hearing that Boehner wants to take a second look at the Grand Bargain..Upon reflection he thinks he might have been a little too hasty in rejecting Obama’s offer to trick him.

    I think back to Boehner gloating about the 2010 election and how he picked up so many seats in the house..He projected himself like he the king of the Hill, and now it turns out his political machine is in disarray with absolutely no cohesion. Instead of having a well oiled and finely tuned political machine he’s sitting on top of a pack of undisciplined ruffians all working their own game.

  12. Theo  •  Jul 28, 2011 @10:18 am

    And the Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests that the President and his political team are reading the public a lot better than most of the punditocracy and blogosphere.

    Is the President reading the public or did he create a situation that forces the public to support him and comes out to his advantage? (I.e., which came first, the chicken or the egg?) Obama put massive spending cuts and token revenue increases on the table. However this turns out, it looks like it will involve massive spending cuts. Is this what the public would have wanted in the first place? It may have been astute political maneuvering by the President in order to one-up his opponents (think of Clinton’s triangulating), but economically it’s going to suck for the public.

  13. maha  •  Jul 28, 2011 @11:39 am

    Obama put massive spending cuts and token revenue increases on the table.

    Only as maneuvering points, though, to counter the GOP. He’s not the one who insisted that some kind of deficit reduction package be attached to the debt ceiling raise.

  14. Swami  •  Jul 28, 2011 @12:27 pm

    I hope the Bachman farm subsidy isn’t in peril…I’m sure Marcus and Michelle need every penny the can cultivate from the farm…I know!,I know…It’s easy for me to criticize America’s hard working farmers..I sure it’s not easy spending a grueling day curing homosexuals and then having to till the north forty in the twilight hours..Spending your weekends bunching radishes is no fun either.

    Maybe some of Obama’s proposed spending cut might be beneficial to our nation’s financial landscape.

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