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June 11, 2009

Obama's Spending Starting to Become a Political Problem for Democrats

A big post from Instapundit with some hopeful signs the American public's Time of Madness is passing.

Including this from Rasumussen:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 40% would vote for their district’s Democratic congressional candidate while 40% would choose the Republican.

Support for Democrats is up two points from last week, while support for the GOP is up three points. Support for the GOP is just one point below its highest level found over the past year. Last week’s results for the Democrats tied the lowest level of support for the party during the same period.

Voters not affiliated with either party now favor Republicans by a 38% to 21% margin.

That last number seems huge -- and it is pretty big -- but it's less impressive when you consider many conservative-leaning voters became nominal independents when they got sick of the GOP. It is not a surprise then that many of these independents -- lost to the GOP as far as genuine party identification -- still lean our way.

But still a good sign: The predictions of a Permanent Democratic Majority were predicated upon those ex-GOPers staying ex-GOPers and becoming Democrats, or at least voting that way. (Well, the Permanent Democratic Majority is also predicated upon huge demographic shifts, the country becoming less white European and more Hispanic, but that is still a little bit away.)

This seems related: Rumors of Democratic Mutiny Over Waxman-Markey.

More and more Democrats are ready to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s climate change bill, according to a congressional committee chairman who opposes his leader.

The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that he’s at an impasse with the lead sponsor of a climate change bill strongly backed by Pelosi (D-Calif.), and that his list of Democratic members who would join him in voting against the measure is growing rather than shrinking. …

Peterson has warned that the bill put together by Waxman and Energy and Environment subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will fail if agriculture-related provisions aren’t altered, and he’s said he has as many as 45 votes on his side. That number of Democratic defections would certainly doom the prospects of passing the bill in the House.

And while the Agriculture chairman said he’s working to resolve those differences and not intentionally trying to torpedo the legislation, he noted that skepticism toward the bill is growing, not shrinking.

“I’m just estimating the number of votes that will be against this,” Peterson said. “I suspect that the list has grown as more members have gotten a chance to look at this. I mean, my list has grown.”

Bluffing? Maybe not. The Democratic Congress will be loathe to rebuke Obama and deal him a serious political loss, but when the livelihoods of voting constituents are on the line, all bets are off.

And that's just the agricultural bloc. Energy producing districts and states are going to have their own objections.

If climate-change legislation passes Congress in its current form, Lion Oil Co., an El Dorado refinery, will have to shutter operations within a year and lay off 1,200 workers, a company executive told a congressional panel Tuesday.

Passage of the bill “will make our survival impossible,” Steve Cousins, vice president of refining, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.

I think much of the (declining) pubic support for "green" initiatives and carbon reduction is gestural. A gesture, something people feel good saying, something people think they're supposed to say. They "support" it, sort of, because, well, that's what Good Civic-Minded People Who Love Nature do, don't they?

But I don't believe their "support" is very deep or well-considered. And I don't think they're willing to suffer much economic pain (and by "much" economic pain, I mean "any" economic pain) in pursuit of this unicorn-friendly agenda.

The other thing I think is that the public doesn't mind supporting certain policies so long as the parties championing them treat them as mostly gestural in nature. I have written before that I think the a good chunk of the pro-life sentiment in the public is gestural rather than serious. If 50% now call themselves pro-life, I'd guess 10% of those folks would peel off if the Republican Party seemed intent on, and capable of, making dramatic changes in the law to outlaw abortion.

I think the same thing is true of this climate-change applesauce. The Democrats played a cynical but effective game in years past -- they postured as environmental champions and criticized the GOP relentlessly for killing the trees, but when push came to shove, they voted, for example, almost unanimously against serious carbon control in a test vote taken under President Clinton.

They profited politically by doing nothing but carp and posture. It worked for them. Which is why I'm surprised, and aghast, at the idea that they're not genuinely, seriously pushing real carbon control measures that will demolish the country.

I may be a conservative partisan but I can't imagine I'm very far away from the political center on this point. I have to think that anyone involved in real business (and therefore real reality itself) is a bit shocked to find the Democrats rushing headlong to actually fulfill their campaign promises to "skyrocket" the cost of electricity and "bankrupt" coal producers, previously thought to be safely insincere and innocuously cynical.

People are willing to go along with a joke only as long as it remains a joke.

The Difference Between Conservatives and the Squishy, Dopey Uninformed "Independents:" Most independents are independents due to lack of interest and lack of information. Some independents are a lot more engaged with the issues, and are independent because they don't fit comfortably into either party. Real libertarians, for example. (As opposed to fake-libertarian liberals.)

But independents-due-to-ignorance support pretty much everything. They want lower taxes and higher spending, and deficit reduction too. They want the greatest amount of national economic output and draconian limitations on energy production and usage.

They can be on both sides of every coin because, mostly, they're disengaged from politics and policy and simply haven't spent much time thinking about these issues.

On pretty much every issue, their support of liberal policies is overstated -- because when push comes to shove, when they're actually at long last forced to examine these policies (or suffer the consequences of them later), when they actually have skin in the game, they find out the liberal policies, which sound nice and good and the sort of thing a nice person should support, actually hurt them and their families.

I don't know if Waxman-Markey can be stopped. I know it won't persist. Because when these squishy, dopey independents-by-ignorance start noticing electricity prices have doubled and their employers are closing shop, then they start to think about policy.

A conservative, as they say, is just a liberal who's been mugged by reality. Dopey disengaged independents probably won't become conservatives, but they will run from liberal policies one they've been mugged by reality.

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posted by Ace at 02:06 PM

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