Do voters really care about GOP "obstruction"?
The question comes to mind in light of the news that GOP Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas pulled an extraordinarly cynical maneuver to block a House Dem jobs bill that would have boosted investments in science, research and training programs.
In essence, he added a provision to the bill that forced Dems to choose between scrapping the bill and appearing to vote for porn:
Republicans included a provision that would bar the federal government from paying the salaries of employees who've been disciplined for viewing pornography at work.
To proceed with the bill and bring it to a final vote, Democrats would have had to vote against the motion to recommit, and against the porn ban.
That's damn clever -- as nakedly obstructionist a move as you could dream up. And it's not the first time, either. As Think Progress notes, Republicans have repeatedly used sex-related amendments to cause the gears of government to seize up.
It couldn't be more obvious what the intent of these moves is. Yet is there any evidence voters care? Dems have spent the past year highlighting this kind of stuff. And polls show that voters agree that Republicans are not interested in good faith cooperation with Obama and Dems.
Yet there's no evidence that there's any correlation between this and the political fortunes of the parties. Polls show that Dems hold a small edge at best over the GOP in the generic ballot matchup -- even though Republicans have far lower favorability ratings.
Just as voters don't care about bipartisanship for its own sake, it seems likely that they just tune out the constant railing about GOP obstruction as so much Beltway white noise. Perhaps it only encourages a sense that Washington is dysfunctional, souring voters even more on government -- and on both parties, including the one that's running the place.
Maybe the only way to win is to persuade voters your policies are better.
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