Thursday, September 15, 2011

No One Fears An Unpopular President

Apparently there is some anger among Democrats about Obama's plan to create jobs::
“I think the American people are very skeptical of big pieces of legislation,” said Senator Robert Casey, Democrat from Pennsylvania....“I have said for months that I am not supporting a repeal of tax cuts for the oil industry unless there are other industries that contribute,” said Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana....“I have been very unequivocal,” said Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat from Oregon. “No more tax cuts.”....“I have serious questions about the level of spending that President Obama proposed,” said Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia....Senator Kay Hagan declined on Wednesday to say her support for the bill that Mr. Obama spent the day touting in her state was indubitable..... “I’m going to have to look at it.“....Representative Heath Shuler, another North Carolina Democrat, said Congress should tame the deficit before approving new spending for job programs. “The most important thing is to get our fiscal house in order,” said Mr. Shuler.
So most of these Dems (DeFazio, who is a beast, being the exception) are normally bad, so their opposition isn't too surprising. But it struck me that Bob Casey and Kay Hagan were on that list, because while not great champions of progressive policy, they don't belong in the douche bag hall of fame with Landrieu, Shuler and Manchin. So why are they comfortable attacking this policy? Because unlike 2-3 years ago, President Obama is now pretty damn unpopular in their home states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

So how does this effect the jobs bill, and a aggressive strategy of passing it?

Unfortunately it hurts it a lot. As a advocate of running this type of outside campaign for policies such as the stimulus and health care, it drastically changes things. If in 2009 Obama had rallied in Maine to pressure the wonder twins to vote for either a public option or a stronger stimulus, he would have probably been successful. Why? Because he was really popular in Maine then, and when you're popular you have leverage over your political opponents, because they also want to be popular, or at least not attacked my someone who is popular.

From poll numbers to results like Tuesday's election, President Obama is reaching record lows of popularity at the state and national level. Even if he's finally discovered a tactic that plenty of us have wished he had used from the beginning of his administration, it may not even matter, as popularity is a central element to that plan.

If there's a political advantage to campaigning against Obama in many of these states, that's not a good sign for the strategy of him "taking these ideas" to the American people. And that's definitely not a good sign for his jobs plan.

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