July 14, 2011

MEGAN MCARDLE: What’s The End Game for Republicans?

Podhoretz reads a Quinnipiac poll showing that by a margin of 48-34, the public is going to blame Republicans and not Obama if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, and joins the ranks of the Washington sellouts . . . . Voters are telling pollsters they’re going to blame the Republicans for the shutdown. And the spending cuts you’re going to do won’t even be that popular with the tea party, who aren’t much more enthusiastic about Medicare/Medicaid cuts than the rest of the country.

To me that sounds like “huge Democratic victory in 2012”. I know, I know–if it’s so “great for Democrats”, why aren’t they urging this course? Well, one school of thought says that they are–and neatly maneuvering the blame onto the GOP, thanks to the tea party’s very vocal intransigence. But if that’s a little too Machiavellian for your taste, the simpler answer is that this can be lose-lose. If we shut down the government, key social programs get hurt, the economy contracts, and the Democrats have to cut spending in a recession in order to make the budget balance after this little contretemps raises our interest rates. But the fact that the Democrats are worse off doesn’t mean that the Republicans are better off. The Democrats can lose while the Republicans lose even bigger.

Read the whole thing. One lesson here is that there is no substitute for air superiority — i.e. control of the master media narrative — and that the Democrats still have it when it really matters. But the GOP should pass a one-year extension so that Obama has to confront spending again just before the election.

Because this isn’t working so well for the Democrats, either: Gallup: U.S. Satisfaction Slides to Two-Year Low: Decline to 16% in July from 20% in June mainly the result of drop among Democrats. “The new poll was conducted July 7-10 as Congress and Obama were engaged in heated negotiations over a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.”

UPDATE: “Republican Candidate” Extends Lead vs. Obama to 47% to 39%. “Registered voters by a significant margin now say they are more likely to vote for the ‘Republican Party’s candidate for president’ than for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, 47% to 39%. Preferences had been fairly evenly divided this year in this test of Obama’s re-election prospects.”

Like I said, this isn’t working so well for Democrats, either.

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