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February 09, 2009

The Real Reason Specter Betrayed-- Gallup Puts Public Approval of Obama's Handling of Spendulus 36 Points Higher Than Congressional Republicans'

Awful numbers I wish I could spin but I can't.

Even assuming some liberal sampling here -- this is a huge edge, and will spook the squishes.

The American public gives President Barack Obama a strong 67% approval rating for the way in which he is handling the government's efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, while the Democrats and, in particular, the Republicans in Congress receive much lower approval ratings of 48% and 31%, respectively.

These findings, based on Gallup Poll interviews conducted Feb. 6-7, underscore the degree to which Obama appears to be maintaining the upper hand over his opponents from a public opinion perspective as he and congressional leaders wrangle over the precise form and substance of a new economic stimulus plan. (Recent Gallup polling also shows that a slight majority of Americans in general favor the idea of passing a stimulus plan of around $800 billion, a sentiment that has stayed constant over the last several weeks.)

If I were to spin it, I'd say the public is just expressing its typical crankiness at seeing political disputes of any kind, and Obama is "winning" simply because he's refusing to show leadership and really engage the issue. Preferring to let Congress fight it out.

Even so, his spineless strategy is still working for him, and Congressional Democrats, who are fighting too, still enjoy a better approval rating than Congressional Republicans.

This is not to suggest that Republicans shouldn't continue to fight this monstrosity -- just an alert that we will, as is often the case, get no political benefit from doing the right thing. Quite the opposite.

Via Hot Air's headlines.

TARP II Will Probably Be Bigger Than the Stimulus: I'd say cross out "probably" and replace it with "easily."

As Lindsey Graham noted, how the hell are you going to get the public to buy into this when you just pissed away a billion and a third on dog parks?

The Meatballs Postulate: "It just doesn't matter if we win or lose."

But it’s all much ado about nothing. In policy terms, to be sure, Republican critiques of the stimulus are important: We’re engaged in an extraordinary experiment in whether Keynesian economics works, and whether it works more effectively through spending or tax cuts. But politically, the critiques are irrelevant. The Obama stimulus will pass. For a while, the economy will almost certainly remain bad. If by 2011 and 2012, it starts to markedly recover—as the American economy did in 1983 and 1984—Obama will get the credit, no matter how many Republicans voted with him. Blue states and districts will grow bluer, and many of the Republicans who represent them will lose, or else retire before they can. (See Gregg, Judd). Republicans in safe conservative states and districts will keep their jobs, and watch Obama’s triumph in brooding insignificance.

If, on the other hand, the stimulus fails, and the economy is no better when Obama begins campaigning for re-election than it is today, all Republicans will benefit, whether they backed the stimulus or not. (Although by that time the country will be so desperate and irate that we could see serious independent candidacies, latter-day Francis Townsends and Huey Longs promising all manner of populist rescue schemes.)

So relax, Republicans. It’s out of your hands. The other team is at the foul line with no time left on the clock. If they hit the shots, you lose. If they miss, you win. Whether you offer words of encouragement or jeers of disapproval, it doesn’t really matter. You’re spectators in someone else’s game.

Indeed. If the economy recovers -- as it usually does -- within a couple of years, Obama "wins," even if he did nothing but undermine and forestall that recovery.

This is what gave me the heebie-jeebies about him winning the election. I saw this nightmare scenario as likely.

It's kind of weird, when you think about it, that the large questions of foreign and economic policy are never actually voted on and decided by the voters. The election almost always turns on the pure happenstance of how the econom is faring six months out from an election. And based on that happenstance, we either get a conservative economic policy and muscular foreign policy, or a regime of socialism and surrender.

Also from Hot Air's headlines.

More: Sanford on the "disastrous" spendulus and other cheery thoughts.


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posted by Ace at 12:59 PM

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