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By: Wayne Brown
Actions continue on the Hill in Washington as pundits from both sides make the talking heads circuit and offer up their explanation of how the debt ceiling compromise all worked out. For all the give and take that is cited of the bill, each party or sect is out there attempting to convince its constituency that it indeed got the best of the deal based on what was available. Of course the spin is ever present…a common necessity of the beltway types.
I find it rather difficult to decide what happened. My best conclusion is that the President got the most of what he wanted in one way or another starting off with a 900 billion rise in the debt ceiling to meet a 30 billion dollar debt service obligation for 2011. He essentially got approved for stimulus package #2 to the tune of over 800 billion dollars. The Democrats get to keep all their social welfare and pork barrel programs along with a continuing growth of government through future spending, at a reduced rate, of course. The Republicans got duped as usual and the Tea Party conservatives were basically given a “rein-check” by both sides in acknowledging their presence in the debate. That is my assessment which does not seem to match that of the Washington crowd.
The Democrats continue their efforts to act like whip dogs calling the Tea Party Conservative names including “Terrorist” due to the pressures they applied in attempting to get a balance budget amendment out of this debate and bill. Many on the left are acknowledging victory for the Tea Party and conceding that the group brought a new day to the way business is done in Washington. They concede that they lost the battle to the Tea Party and had to concede the cuts promised in future spending. Hog Wash! Anyone on the conservative side of the aisle who buys that reasoning needs to pack up and go home now while there are seats easily available on the plane.
A poll taken by InsiderAdvantage shortly after the debt ceiling bill was signed by the President indicates that things are a bit different than what you hear coming out of the mouths of our elected elite. The poll solicited more than 1500 registered voters indicates that only 44% of those responding approved of the agreement outlined in the bill and 47% disapproved. The remaining portion had no opinion on the outcome or were essentially neutral.
According to the poll results, Democrats were the most pleased with the outcome although their talking heads cite defeat by the Tea Party conservatives. 61% of Democrats approved the bill while 38% were not in agreement. Conversely, only 38% of the Republican voters approved while a whopping 51% disapproved of the actions. On the independent voter side, the numbers were more closely aligned with the Democrats but reversed with 51% of the independent voters disapproving and only 39% approving. The 51% disapproval rate for independent voters signals the deep trouble Obama has for his re-election chances with this voter group. While he wooed the independents with false promises in 2008, the actions of his presidency has caused a major shift in independent thinking heading into the next election cycle.
Another trouble spot for Obama as a result of the debt debacle is the black vote. One in three or 33% of black voters polled disagreed with the debt ceiling solution voted into law. This number added with the independent rejection moves Obama well outside the realm of “unbeatable” for 2012. He will definitely need that billion dollar campaign chest to put things back in his favor, if that is possible at all.
Another aspect of the poll was the response to a question regarding the overall performance of the Legislative and Executive branches of government in the debt ceiling debate. 73% of the respondents disapproved of the job performance and rated it as poor. Only 14% approved. On the whole, it would appear that Americans on both sides of the aisle are sick and tired of the way things are being handled in Washington and are awaiting change.
There is one other area of significance in this poll which spells real trouble for Obama in 2012. The respondents to this poll in the 30-44 age group overwhelming disapproved of the overall job performance coming in with 77% of the total disapproving…the highest single figure in the poll. In terms of the overall respondents in the poll, only 38% approved of Obama’s job performance in finding a compromise solution.
While Obama may have won the battle of wills in terms of getting the debt ceiling raised and getting his spending package, he increased his chances of losing the presidency in 2012 with his actions, a conclusion easily drawn from the high disapproval rates among various voter types. The outcome indicates that American as a majority, across the span of both parties want spending significantly reduced and held in check. They also want to see measures put in place to stem the growth of the national debt and start to see that figure go into decline.
The Republicans remained dazed and confused hoping that their chances for re-election have not been damaged. The Tea Party does deserve some honorable mention for at least holding the Republicans feet to the fire in terms of giving in on spending cuts. In the end, their numbers were too few but still that small number seemed to represent best the attitudes prevalent in American thinking today.
As to the effectiveness of the legislation past, the old guard on both sides of the aisle must be sitting behind closed doors and laughing at how they have pulled off yet another duping of the American public. That assumption could spell the demise of all of them politically if the country can last long enough to get them out of office.
The Republicans want to convince us that they made progress by getting commitments from Obama and company to reduce the rate of spending over the next ten years in order to reduce the potential national debt by ten trillion dollars. That might sound good to some but management of spending is not a talent that exists in Washington. These agreements are tossed away at the first sign of opportunity. They are nothing more than political eyewash. A ten trillion dollar savings is of little value if the size of the national debt is already beyond the scope of comprehension. It does nothing positive that anyone will be able to measure at the end of the ten years and most of the folks involved in agreeing to it will likely be dead and gone by then so who gives a damn? Again, we mortgaged the future of our children for runaway spending and actually did nothing concrete to stop it. By the end of Obama’s first term, he will have added seven trillion dollars to the debt load of the county…seven trillion dollars in just four years. Should he, by some odd chance, gain a second term, he will most certainly declare it a mandate of the people and the spending will be even higher for the second session. Honestly, America will not survive such a path financially. The edge of our existence as a great nation is visible on the horizon.
The results of this InsiderAdvantage poll clearly indicates that our elected officials from the President on down are totally out of step with the desires of the American people. It also indicates that those elected officials are more than willing to thumb their nose at us while they concoct deals in the back rooms of Washington which will keep them all in pork for the foreseeable future. Given the present results, it is apparent that Americans no longer have a voice in their own government. Of the people, by the people, for the people is a concept lost in history.
If, after reading this piece, you find that you are somewhere between outraged and mad-dog mad, I hope that you will do everything in your power to stay that way until the elections of 2012. I hope that you will do everything to influence those around you to voice that anger at the polls as well. We are at a time in our history when once again we have to take our country back and put it on the track that it was intended to follow. Those we pay to do that job in Washington today have failed all of us miserably and broken our trust. They need to leave and leave as soon as possible.
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