Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Field Position
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Democrats have a few pieces of good news to cheer about, from an electoral standpoint. First, Dems are polling very well for the House, courtesy PPP via the DCCC:

A new poll released today by Public Policy Polling shows that House Republicans are paying the price with voters for their extreme agenda to end Medicare in order to protect subsidies for Big Oil and tax breaks for billionaires, and for playing games with debt limit.

Key Findings:

  • Democrats lead Republicans in the generic ballot by 7 points (47-40).

  • Democrats lead Republicans with critically important independent voters by 3 points (39-36).

  • Independent voters overwhelming disapprove of the Republican Majority in the House (68 disapprove/20 approve).

  • Speaker Boehner’s approval rating dropped 31 points since January (28-52).

Public Policy Polling’s conclusions: "...if there was an election today I think that they'd take back the House... There's little doubt that Democrats are winning the fallout of the debt debate... Last year independent voters were the driving factor behind the GOP retaking the House majority. Now they give it a 20/68 approval rating."

And again via the DCCC, Republican House members are facing major anger from constituents back at home. Meanwhile, a Marist poll shows Obama leading all GOP contenders:

Obama does have an advantage over several potential Republican rivals:

  • He leads Romney 46-41, a 5-point lead.

  • He leads Pawlenty 49-36, a 13-point lead.

  • He leads Bachmann 52-35, a 17-point lead.

  • He leads Perry 52-33, a 19-point lead.

Smart money at this point says that Obama probably gets re-elected, Dems have a good chance of retaking the House, and GOP will likely take over the Senate due to the difficult time Dems will have holding onto their 2006 pickups. It's early of course, and things can change dramatically in short order. But right now Democrats are looking in fairly good shape, from an electoral point of view.

Strong supporters of Administration, of compromise and the Grand Bargain take these numbers as vindication of the success of their approach, and the rejection of both the conservative hostage-takers by the public at large, as well as frustrated progressives.

But that would be foolish. Even if Democrats do hold onto the White House and put the Speaker's gavel back in Pelosi's hands, the damage will already have been done. Austerity is the name of the game in Washington, and social security and Medicare are irrevocably on the negotiating block in a way that would have been unthinkable just five years ago. And the Super Committee is likely to make things even worse.

The point of politics is not to win elections for their own sake, or to prevent the other team from doing damage. The point of politics is to advance one's preferred legislative agenda. What bipartisan compromise advocates on the left seem not to understand is that the Tea Party agenda will not have failed, even if Democrats do win victories in 2012. It will have succeeded in marvelous fashion.

Conservatives understand that they won't win every election. They understand that politics is an ebb and flow. They also understand that when you do win, you have to make hay while the sun shines, and advance your legislative agenda as far as possible while you have power. They understand that you have to do everything in your power to stop the other side from doing likewise when you're in the minority.

Sports metaphors are overused in political reporting from an electoral standpoint, but if anything underused from a public policy standpoint. Due to the two-party system in America, public policy looks very much like a game of American football: whether the question is taxes, regulation, environment or social policy, governance is essentially a zero-sum battle for field position on the gridiron, issue by issue.

Republicans know they won't always have the ball. They'll toss a few long passes, and sometimes their playbook will fail. Sometimes the American people will get fed up and force them to punt. But their objective is to tilt the playing field as much as possible in their favor, injure and batter as many members of the opposing team as possible, score as many points as possible and drive the ball as far down the field as possible until they have to give it up. (The analogy fails only in the sense that in football, a team has to give up the ball after they score. Not so in politics. But that's a minor point.)

Democrats, meanwhile, rejoice whenever it looks like they're about to get the ball back because Republicans went for too much ground, too fast. And when they do get the ball, they "learn from Republican mistakes", and run careful plays along the ground to pick up a yard here and there. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too aggressive. Nothing too dangerous. Maybe we score a field goal here and there, particularly on social issues.

But, of course, eventually the GOP will get the ball back again. It's a two-party system. Nobody stays in power forever. And when they do, they'll again advance their agenda far more aggressively than Democrats and put more points up on the board.

The point of politics isn't just to hold power, any more than a team wins a football game by having a longer time of possession than your opponent. The GOP has run up the score, and backed the Democrats up to their own economic 10-yard-line because of the Democrats' soft defense.

The fact that we may yet get the ball back should hardly be cause for celebration, or an endorsement of the brilliance of our coaching staff. Over the last 30 years, we're way behind on the scoreboard, and the other guys still have all the momentum.