Hey GOP: YES, Polls DO Matter!!

On of the credos of the republican party has historically been that polls don’t matter, and that real politicians don’t pay attention to them.  Perhaps the more accurate statement would be that real UNSUCCESSFUL politicians don’t pay attention to polls.

It also seems that the more extremist right wing these politicians become, the more they ignore what the polls are telling them and in fact everyone about their activities and behaviors when those activities and behaviors start becoming less and less popular among the average American voter.

Take, for instance, the recent US government shutdown and the idiotic flirtation with the debt ceiling limit by the GOP-controlled US House of Representatives, and more specifically, by the Tea Party faction of the GOP.

The republican party claimed it was doing what it was going to do because the people of the USA, based upon polls (which republicans historically don’t believe in!), were against Obamacare and “wanted it repealed”.  Of course, what republicans were not telling the American people was that as of September 29th, 2013, an CNN/ORC poll showed that only 39% of Americans were against Obamacare in any form and 38% favored it, while another 11% were against it because it doesn’t go far enough! So at least 49% either favored it or wanted it to be stronger!  That’s not the same thing as wanting it repealed, but the GOP couldn’t be bothered with such minute polling details.

The government shutdown took effect on October 1st and  multiple national polls showed that Americans blamed the GOP much more than they blamed president Obama or the democrats for the shutdown, even though the GOP tried hard to make it sound like it wasn’t their fault.  Only the low-information citizen was convinced.  The more informed, intelligent and educated American was paying attention and knew where the blame lay.  As of October 20th, 2013, the same CNN/ORC poll showed that the percent of Americans against Obamacare had dropped to 38% while the percent of those that either favored it or wanted it strengthened rose to a whopping 53%!!

As bad as these numbers indicated the GOP was misinterpreting the mood of the country and overplaying their hand while sailing on taking Ted Cruz’s “Strategic Cruise To Nowhere”, they continued to ignore those polls much like a person ignoring a 4-inch growth on the extreme right side of their nose.

The second week of the shutdown/debt limit ceiling confrontation ended and the debt limit ceiling drop dead date of October 17th began to loom a lot closer than anyone thought congress was crazy enough to allow it to.  The polls clearly showed that 75% of Americans did NOT want the nation to drive over the default cliff and DID want the debt ceiling increased prior to the default date.  Moderate republicans smelled their own blood in the water and broke away, but the more fanatical Tea Party lunatic fringe, with Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and a cast of selfish idiots was in control of the republicans in the House of Representatives.

As the deadline approached and it became clear that the House of Representatives could not pass a republicans-only bill on the debt-ceiling-limit increase, the senate took over, passed a clean bill, sent it over to the House and it passed with 198 democratic votes and 87 ? yea votes from republicans.

But 144 republicans voted NO!  They voted to not raise the debt ceiling and thus, not allow the US treasury to raise the money needed to pay for all the goods and services the congress has already appropriated money for and spent.  In other words, they voted to not pay bills for goods and items already bought.  By them.

Interestingly, the entire republican congressional delegation from Texas, where Ted Cruz is from, voted no.  These people, along with those listed about and others like Mike Lee from Utah form the core of the more radical extremists in the tea party movement.  They did not care who suffered as a result of the government shutdown or the flirt with the government debt default and in fact, they are totally without remorse for the damage they have done to anyone and anything, including their own party.  In fact  the refuse to acknowledge any damage, even thought the latest polls show that the nation thinks that the nation is worse off with a House of Representatives controlled by republicans:

from pollingreport.com

from pollingreport.com

Put another way, none other than a Fox News Poll on October 23rd found that 75% disapprove of republicans in congress and only 20% approve.

And finally, In what one might call the “reality check” that the tea party loves to ignore, when asked in a CNN/ORC poll if having a GOP-controlled House of Representatives was good or bad for the USA:

On December 18, 2012 :          Good: 51%  Bad: 43%

On October 20th, 2013:          Good: 38%  Bad 54%!!

Tea Party:  Keep doing what you’re doing.

For the rest of us:    Com’n, November 2014!!!!!!!!!      🙂

Congress: Common Sense vs. the Brick Wall

October 9, 2013: the American government shutdown is 9 days old with no apparent end in sight.  More and more very important programs are coming to standstill such as veterans benefits, head-start programs, research and development programs,  and so forth.  Programs that benefit the poor are impacted.  And of this is because approximately 30 to 40 Tea Party republicans in the US house of representatives chose this very moment in the budgetary cycle when the USA would run out of funds to run the US government at the end of the fiscal year on September 30th, 2013, to make their last stand regarding Obamacare, more formally known as the Affordable care Act of 2010.

As bad as that might sound to anyone just tuning in, it’s really minor compared to the real threat looming on October 17th,  just 8 short days away.  That’s when the USA hits its debt limit, or the point where it cannot legally borrow any more money, either by floating bonds or by any other means, in order to have enough cash on hand to pay all of its debts on time.

Keep in mind that “debt” means incoming bills due on goods and services already appropriated by congress and purchased.  It is akin to you going out and buying a steak dinner on your credit card, and then the credit card bill arrives later for payment to arrive at the bank on a certain date.  If you don’t pay that bill on time (for the steak dinner you already bought and ate, keep in mind), you will have defaulted on your credit card debt. After a brief time period, your credit rating will be downgraded and the interest rate will be raised as a result.  Further defaults will further downgrade your credit rating and increase your payback interest.

John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, really didn’t want to be in the position he’s in, any more than many mainstream republicans that understand how stupid it was to play Russian roulette with a government shutdown over Obamacare.  But the lunatic Tea Party faction of the republican party is backed by very wealthy (and thus very powerful) people and groups such as the Koch brothers, whose nearly limitless financial contributions under the controversial Supreme Court ruling Citizens United   has allowed the Tea Party to blackmail mainstream republicans to support the Tea Party agenda (even if they disagree with it and/or the Tea Party tactics) to avoid facing an extremely-well-financed Tea party primary challenge for their congressional district seat.  It is political extortion at its worst, and is just another reason why the Tea Party is also known by increasing numbers of Americans (and others) as  the American Taliban:

And as much as Boehner didn’t want to herd these cats during the shutdown, he REALLY EVEN MORE doesn’t want to do so during the run-up to the debt ceiling limit drop-dead date.  But he, too, is under threat of losing his seat and his chairmanship to these political terrorists.  And interestingly, most of them aren’t even talking about Obamacare anymore.  They’re now demanding that the meat-cleaver sequester spending reductions that no one wanted, which have been in effect since March 2013, be further reduced by amounts equal to any increase in the debt ceiling before they will agree to raise the debt ceiling limit.  Oh, and don’t even think of raising taxes on the richest 1% (like the Koch brothers and other Tea Party financiers) or reducing government subsidies to the obscenely profitable petroleum industry.

Put another way, the American Taliban is demanding that in exchange for allowing the USA to pay its bills and maintain its credit rating and not possibly enter a new recession and not possibly damage the world economy in the process, it must reduce spending BELOW the already insanely low levels of the  sequester which already have eliminated such programs as meals on wheels for seniors, infrastructure projects, etc.   And if they get their way, maybe they’ll raise the debt ceiling for 90 days, and then we came play this game all over again.

President Obama, having gone through this exercise only two years ago, has rightfully decided that the US government should not be run by threat and extortion and has dug in.  The democrats in the senate and the house are united in this effort.  But the republicans are clearly divided.

The senate republicans aren’t playing at all.  And in the house, where all of this started, more and more mainstream republicans are realizing that if you can believe the polls, they’re probably doomed anyway in 2014 so better to do the right thing.  As of this writing, 21 republicans are ready to join 200 house democrats  and vote on a clean continuing resolution and an extension of the debt ceiling limit.  That’s 221 and they only need 217 votes for a majority.

Now if John Boehner can only resolve that he’s probably not gonna survive to be speaker either way…..AND CALL THE FRACKIN’ VOTE!!!

What fun.