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The GOP strategy of obstruction is working beautifully

As you know, I've been arguing here that the GOP strategy of obstruction is paying off for Republicans -- big time. The public is blaming Democrats, not Republicans, for the government dysfunction that has resulted from Republican obstructionist tactics, because Dems are in charge.

Now we have the clearest illustration of this phenomenon yet, courtesy of the internals of the new Washington Post poll.

Here's the rub: The most visible example of GOP obstruction yet has been the blockade of an extension of unemployment benefits. The poll shows the public overwhelmingly supports this extension -- and it also shows the public is deeply frustrated with the workings of Federal government. Yet despite these two facts, Republicans are now leading in the generic Congressional matchup.

Here's the poll's finding on unemployment benefits:

Because of the economic downturn, Congress has extended the period in which people can receive unemployment benefits, and is considering doing so again. Supporters say this will help those who can't find work. Opponents say this adds too much to the federal budget deficit. Do you think Congress should or should not approve another extension of unemployment benefits?

Should 62

Should not 36

That's not even close. What's more, the public is deeply unhappy with the Federal government's performance, with an astonishing 64 percent saying they're dissatisfied or angry about it.

Yet Republicans are not paying any price for this. While the poll shows the GOP is not trusted on the economy, Republicans have edged ahead in the generic ballot matchup, 47-46. Anti-incumbent sentiment is soaring -- only one-fourth say they're inclined to re-elected their Representative -- which will also help Republicans. And a majority, 51 percent, support GOP control of Congress so it can act as a "check" on Obama's policies.

This clearly demonstrates that people have not connected GOP obstructionism with one of its most visible results: The prevention of the extended of unemployment benefits that a sizable majority says it wants.

Bottom line: The GOP tactics are working brilliantly in political terms. Dems are bearing the brunt of the blame for government dysfunction. I'm not sure it could be clearer than this.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 13, 2010; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Comments

I guess the real questions are:

1. How long did it take for the republicans to become more "popular than the dems? (ie win the generic ballot preference--side note, the generic ballot especially for congresscritters seems like a very innaccurate measure of a particular person supporting or not supporting their congresscritter.)"
2. How quickly can public opinion about who is causing the lack of movement by the govt re the economy.
3. Will the after august campaign season provide enough time to pin the obstruction on the elephant game to change people's attitudes about who is responsible for gridlock from the dems to the southern rump party?
4. What messaging will make this gop death by filibuster tactic more real to low information voters (people who are paying attention on either side of the debate acknowledge that the repubs are just stalling and obstructing so nothing gets done.)

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Obstructionist? Let's try keeping the real definition of obstructionist in mind, instead of twisting your thumbs down on the GOP, who in spite of their share of mistakes, still have the best interest of our country in mind. Forward thinking people of all shapes and colours, are acutely aware of the devastating effect the current deficit will have. As someone who's currently unemployed, I too am deeply concerned about more spending. Perhaps if the democrats would stop "obstructing" the idea of using residual funds from the failed stimulus program to pay for the next extension, we would have had a resolve by now. So now we have yet another "journalist", namely you Mr. Sargent, who willing submits to subtle and not so subtle manipulations of the truth, in order to remain in your self-delusional bubble.

Posted by: stpup23 | July 13, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

What's amazing to me is that their strategy is public knowledge. It's not like some big secret that they've been trying to kill the Obama Presidency for their own political gain -- and at the expense of literally everything else. This is common public knowledge even to "low-info voters."

Nobody cares about that, but, "BUZZWORD did BUZZWORD to BUZZWORD and the BUZZWORD Dems are BUZZWORD!" And that sentence, as meaningless and baseless as it is, is more important because it sells ads and anything that sells ads HAS to be good.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans could run a 'generic' candidate then there might be some cause for real alarm but they are stuck with the miserable lot they are running now. Democrats don't do so bad when the match-up is against a real name.

Posted by: jak201 | July 13, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I, too, blame the Democrats that the unemployment benefits extension has not passed; along with delays in other legislation. The reason is simple:

The Democrats should have held daily votes on those issues, especially unemployment benefits. After all, what did the Republicans propose to cut?

If a filibuster was threatened, hold it. Force those who want to stop the grinds of government to stand up for hours explaining why they are doing it.

Instead the Democrats have become complicit in the ineffectiveness of the legislative process, and constantly yield to the minority. If they are going to that anyway, who needs the Democrats in the majority?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 13, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Tell me, please, stpup, how do you feel about Sen Kyl's belief that tax cuts for rich people don't need to be paid for, that they can just be added to the deficit vs your belief that unemployment benefits must be paid for because the deficit is the problem?

Sure, the GOP has your best interests in mind.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 13, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, the democrats suck at messaging.

Republicans can manufacture controversies, distortions, and outright lies and get the public to believe them.

Democrats couldn't convince Issac Newton of Gravity.

But Democrats don't have the media infrastructure that the right wing has in radio, Fox "News", publications, books, and apparently online "universities." And they've worked the mainstream media for decades with the whole "Liberal bias" thing that even they are cowed into adopting right-wing talking points.

It's time to admit that facts do have a liberal bias.

Posted by: dplionis | July 13, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

stpup23, your dittohead use of the phrase "failed stimulus" makes your last sentence utterly ironic.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

OT, re: finreg, this is rich:

"Nelson's problem with the bill -- not once uttered at any time during debate, was apparently a potential appointment: Elizabeth Warren at CFPA."

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/7/13/883990/-Financial-reform:-Ben-Nelson-a-yes,-cloture-possibly-filed-today

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

stpup, here's more of the GOP looking out for you by attacking Michelle Obama:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/7/13/883915/-Right-wing-machine-attacks-Michelle-for-focusing-on-childhood-obesity

Ooh, scary Black Woman Michelle Obama telling African-Americans to increase their intensity!!!!!11111!!!11!!!11!!!1

...about CHILDHOOD OBESITY.

Oh noeezzz! End of the white race as we know it!

The racist Republican Party is a joke.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I question this premise, at least beyond the 2010 elections (which I don't think will see a flip of the House under current trajectory) where all the party of "No!" will have achieved is to prove to their constituents that "NO!" they can't pass legislation they want. Not only that, but they can't even STOP Obama and the Dems from dramatically changing the laws of the land.

With Nelson on board for FinReg, we should start tallying up big changes passed in the last 2 years: 1 (probably 2) new SCOTUS justices, complete overhaul of student loans, health insurance reform, biggest stimulus bill ever passed (along with biggest investment in green energy), unemployment ebbing downward (though not fast enough) after a potential great depression, EPA is positioning itself to fundamentally change the way carbon is priced and monitored soon, new START agreement for the first time in over a decade, etc etc.

And those are just off the top of my head. Yes the GOP is winning the messaging battle (easy to do with a bunch of stenographers trying to pass for journalists), but that was always going to happen. In fact, the AVERAGE for the loss of seats in the midterms for the party in power is 17 seats! That was always going to happen, the GOP could sit on their hands and get that result. Since Obama's election, the Dems have won 10/12 special elections, I guess that is also great news for John McCain and the GOP. It is way to early to call this a "success", because the things which you are measuring success by are skewed towards declaring the GOP the victor. How about we look at their (in)ability to stop, or even set the terms of the legislation that is passed.

Any movement to the right came from the conservadems in Obama's own party, not as a result of GOP signatures. The GOP has been an absolute failure at the federal level.

Posted by: PaulW99 | July 13, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

PaulW, among other things, don't forget the income tax cuts for the middle class in the stimulus.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@stpup23: Forward thinking people of all shapes and colours, are acutely aware of the devastating effect the current deficit will have.

So you don't agree with Kyl (he of deficit fighting crusades) that tax cuts (say 678 billion to extend the bush tax cuts to those making over 250k) can add to the deficit but spending on unemployment (about 30 billion, not enough but it is something) can't be implemented without offsetting spending cuts?

How many of your republican idols support elimination of the estate tax (which currently only affects less than 1% of the population) with no mechanism for offsetting the loss to the treasury and therefore adds to the deficit?

Is it just spending on the poor (aid to states for medicaid and other social services, unemployment insurance, etc) that you don't like?

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I would really like to find out where these polls are taking place because their poll is a joke. If "real" American people were actually in this poll it would reflect a huge number of people who plan on voting for a democrat this November. 3 Million people, including myself, have lost out jobs at no fault of our own. Repubs, and some ignorant employed people, sit here and say go get a low paying job. LOL ur kidding right, I have applied at a local Mcdonalds and Pizza Hut. I recieved one call saying their not hiring, and the other told me I was considered over-qualified due to as soon as a job in my field opened up I would quit.
There are thousands of AMERICAN VETS who fought for this country, and have families, and are losing everything. Their homes, their car, their belongings.. Now the government is worried about the deficit, lol again your kidding right? They spend 10 BILLION a month to fund 2 wars we don't belong in. Oh, thats right Iraq has oil and Afghanistan has untapped precious minerals. We can send BILLIONS to help Haiti, gee don't hear the Rethugs complaining about adding to the deficit. We can send 9 BILLION a month to Israel to help them, but AMERICANS GET THE MIDDLE FINGER BY OUR GOVERNMENT AND BY THE PEOPLE SAYING UNEMPLOYED SHOULDN'T GET A EXTENSION. This government is no better than NAZI GERMANY IN WW2, the Nazis were stealing paintings and such. Our government is in these 2 wars to get oil and minerals like gold and diamonds.
Let the government just keep doing these criminal actions, and one day either this country will completely go to hell or there will be a overthrow of this government. Higher crime rates, higher foreclosures, gee what a glorious country/

Posted by: VincentComello | July 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@AMviennaVA : Two words: senate rules.

You can't blow your nose in the senate without unanimous consent and republicans have been not agreeing to unanimous consent for almost everything, from allowing votes on appointments, to scheduling hearings, to policy votes, etc. The fact is that if one party the rethuglicans want to, they can grind the legislature to a halt, and that is what they have done. I think that Obama should make recess appts everyday the senate is out of session to highlight the # of appointments that the republicans have been stalling....

Again, the real question is how to get low information voters to care enough about senate rules to see that the repiglicans are abusing them every day.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I also forgot that the Defense budget now has language in it calling for the end of DADT once the Pentagon presents its report in December, the end of the HIV travel ban in the US (our partner in this policy was China btw), changes the FDA/EPA and DOJ to depoliticize these departments in order to get them to do their original job of protecting taxpayers, changes in labor law enforcements to better safety standards in worplaces, credit card bill of rights (something that has greatly affected me personally), and that is only after 2 years.

Obama, Reid, and especially Nancy Pelosi can rightly pat themselves on the back for doing all this in the face of some of the stiffest opposition in the history of the US (short of dueling each other with live pistols).

Posted by: PaulW99 | July 13, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

When Obama was first elected and dem majorities expanded in both Houses, a lot of us were saying, the only recourse the GOP has is to obstruct everything and hope it destroys the democrats. It seemed like a longshot, but the republicans best chance of retaking congress.

I remember thinking, that'll never work unless the democrats play into their hands by allowing themselves to be fractured, and that's exactly what happened. The Nelsons and Liebermans sabotaged the president's and the democrats' agenda, and will likely pay no personal price for it, but the party and the country will.

That's politics.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 13, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@VC: If "real" American people were actually in this poll.

The sad truth is that most "real" americans are mostly low information voters that can't even name their congresscritters, more than 2 supreme ct justices, why HCR will help them, understand the basics of: climate change or the banking system or naked derivatives trading or high frequency computer arbitrage, or understand that Obama enacted the largest middle class tax cut in history.

All they hear on the MSM is how big a failure Obama and his policies are and all they experience around them is their and their neighbor's economic security being sucked away by forces they don't understand.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

VincentComello - Just for the record, your made-up figures on US aid are wa-a-ay off. U.S. aid to Israel is around $2.5 billion per year - not nine billion a month. Nor have we given billions to Haiti - total earthquake relief aid from the US is around $800 million, but that includes private donations and NGO funds.

Posted by: Virginia7 | July 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans have edged ahead in the generic ballot matchup, 47-46."
------------------------------------

I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but the proper term for a 1-point "lead" in a poll with a +/- 3.5% margin of error is "statistical tie" -- which is pretty much what all the generic congressional ballot polls taken in the last three-to-six months, including 3 of the 4 ABC/WP polls taken this year, have been telling us in aggregate.

Posted by: CalD | July 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Great points, all, except of course the deficit chicken who is happy to spend and cut as long as it's ideologically acceptable to his/her ridiculous formula for governing and running an economy.

Greg, PLEASE keep pushing this idea. Every day. It ought to lead Keith and Rachel every night as well (along with the Gulf stuff).

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

While anyone on this board knows, I'm almost never happy with Democrats' messaging ability...but while I certainly agree they haven't pressed the issue enough, the blame also falls on the media. They are simply not reporting on the obstructionist strategy by the GOP - and it's a strategy that everyone in DC knows is going on.

How exactly does a political reporter talk about the failure to pass unemployment extensions, or the difficulty to pass FinReg, or the lack of movement on Climate Change and Immigration...how does a political reporter discuss any of these subjects without mentioning the fundemental reasons why they are happening? Especially when the entire freakin' town knows exactly why - lockstep GOP opposition rooted in partisan politics.

The other night I saw Howard Fineman on Maddow...and he was running down something along the lines of the GOP hypocrisy on the deficit. He had the gall to say "But who's going to call them out on it?"

Uh, Howard...Howard my man...as a member of the free press in this country...I have to ask, uh, isn't that YOUR #*&$ING JOB?!?!

I was annoyed that Rachel didn't even notice it, either. Like it should be normal for a reporter/journalist in this country to know the 100% truth of a situation, but rather than actually report on it...say "but oh my, how is the opposing party possibly going get that message out?", totally oblivious.

Pathetic. It's a sad enough display to see our "free press" that inept...but it's even worse how ignorant they are of the terrible job they are doing.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"That's politics."

Yes. I'm of the mind that, in accordance with the 24-hour news cycle, the political cycle has been squeezed from 12-24 years of control by one party down to 2-4. The Dems had a shot, the people got impatient, Congress may turn over as a result. We all know what the GOP will do if they get power. It will just drive people back to the Dems.

Imho this turnover is taking place at a dramatically faster pace than it used to. This could be a direct result of the media's and culture's asinine apoplexy over political gamesmanship rather than the intellectual reasoning of policy considerations based on facts and factual reporting.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

SO...ANGRY...HEAD....EXPLODING!

Posted by: Adam_W | July 13, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

srw3 @ July 13, 2010 1:48 PM: I agree about rules. But rules have consequences. I am very disappointed that votes have not been forced, or threats to filibuster have not been taken up. The result is that the majority has surrendered to the minority.

Instead, the majority should force the minority to vote NO and filibuster. Every day for 1 or 2 months, if necessary.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 13, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"who in spite of their share of mistakes, still have the best interest of our country in mind. Forward thinking people of all shapes and colours, are acutely aware of the devastating effect the current deficit will have."

Thanks for demonstrating so well that you don't know your a** from a hole in the wall.

Over the last thirty years the GOP - by far (it's not even close) - has been the party of deficit spending.

Posted by: akaoddjob | July 13, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@AMVVA: There is no more Jimmy Stewart style phone book reading filibuster in the senate. In order for other things to be acted on, the minority leader informs the majority leader that the minority intends to vote against cloture and if Reid doesn't have the votes to overcome it, the senate can move onto other business. If the dual track legislating can't happen, even less would get done in the senate. Maybe we need to bring back having only 1 issue before the full senate, so that the repubs would have to stay and debate, but there only needs to be 1 republican to continue the filibuster, while all of the dems need to be there (along with any sane repubs) so that cloture can be invoked and voted on.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

25 Million strong... America's unemployed will have their say in their re-election. All of them!!

Posted by: tuscanyb450 | July 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Honestly I'm not sure where these polls are coming from. The last one I participated in asked me if I was motivated and excited about the upcoming election as a Republican. I said yes.

The report said that I was highly motivated to vote in a Republican.

I will NOT be voting any Republicans in. I'm excited to vote out anyone that is obstructing government.

I'm hoping these polls that are being quoted are the same.

Posted by: smg71 | July 13, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@tuscanyb450 : Unfortunately the poor, the working poor, and unemployed are the least likely to vote. Most people can't get time off from their crappy min wage + a pittance jobs to wait in line to cast a ballot. Poor unemployed people often have given up hope that govt can actually improve their lives and don't vote. It is the triumph of the gop, government is broken (by them BTW) message that they push continually and so lots of people end up feeling that it doesn't matter if you vote or not...

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

All this poll says to me is that most of the people polled do not like and do not understand what is going on with the economy and are blaming anyone and everyone who they think is in charge of it.

People are confused for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is a VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE, which has left even the best-intentioned experts and leaders unsure of how to proceed.

The blame game will continue, conspiracy theories will abound, and people will remain confused and angry until the economy begins to right itself.

The Obama administration is doing what it can, given the very difficult circumstances, to move ahead on a number of significant issues without completely destroying the chances for a continued Democratic majority in congress. The best we can do is to support those efforts in any way possible.

Posted by: converse | July 13, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I'd also like to see the full crosstabs of this poll, to see who exactly was polled and in what percent different demographic groups were represented in the sample. I don't really understand why that apparently can't be posted.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 13, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

srw3 @ July 13, 2010 2:17 PM: 'Mr. Smith' did not read the phone directory. That was done by the Dixiecrats who filibustered the Civil Rights legislation.

As for the rest of the post, there is nothing that prevents the majority from holding a vote. Except the courage of convictions, that is.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

@dpk01: People are confused for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is a VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE, which has left even the best-intentioned experts and leaders unsure of how to proceed.

It's not that complicated. Republicans are abusing the senate rules to prevent lots of things from happening. It just isn't very powerful messaging to say that the mean minority won't play ball or allow the dems to carry the game on by themselves, even though it is true. Actually most experts agree that changing the senate rules to limit dilatory practices, like denying unanimous consent or forcing cloture votes multiple times during the debate and vote on a bill, is crucial to having a functioning senate, but individual senators (on both sides of the aisle) have a vested interest in keeping the power to individually stall and derail their chosen legislation or nomination and don't want to give that up, even if it makes the senate as a whole work better. See Holy Joe, Big Ben Nelson, Snowe, Collins, etc. for real life examples of this behavior.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

All, Sharron Angle actually said that Harry Reid has "outlived his usefulness":

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/sharron_angle_robert_bennett_o.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

srw3, did you mean to respond to someone else?

Posted by: dkp01 | July 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@srw3

I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself there. Wrong name with quote, and wrong subject. I was talking about he poll, which was the topic of the post, not rules for cloture.

Posted by: converse | July 13, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

in response to srw3:
==========
Is it just spending on the poor (aid to states for medicaid and other social services, unemployment insurance, etc) that you don't like?
================

the whining of the liberals and Democrats is as music to the ears!!

First, the Republicans are simply using the Democrats' playbook. Boo fricking hoo on the whiners now. During the periods when Democrats were in the minority they used every trick they could. and they were cheered on by folks whose memory is simply too short, such as srw3.

Now that the Democrats' scortched earth policy is the norm in DC, they are upset that the Republicans are using their tactics and playing to win.

Once again, boo frickin hoo.

Next, the blatantly foolish emotional appeal of the quote above is par for the liberal course. One must either embrace massive and ineffective government transfer programs or be labled as hard hearted.

It would be much easier to make the case for these programs if they, you know, um, like, actually worked.

Instead our society spends a fortune on one failed concept after another and the poor are still with us. Of course they have houses, cars, cell phones, PC's and an obesity problem, but darn it, according to the liberals, they are still poor!

What a crock. Trillions of dollars later, thanks to idiotic government programs, our treasury is empty and our prisons are full. 70% of America's black babies are born to single moms and more than half the people currently incarcerated are from single families.

What part of failure don't you liberals get? It takes sheer stupidity to insist that rational people continue to financiall support the failure that is the great society program.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 13, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

As I read the previous comments, I see the real problem. Very little of what is being said is about the actual issues. The majority of the discussions is about how either the Republicans or the Democrats are making or have made a mess of things. All I need to do is take you back to when George Bush's approval rating was at it's lowest. At that time, his approval rating was still twice that of congress and congress's approval rating hasn't improved. For decades now, the party in the minority has been obstructing the party in the majority. The major issues on our politician's mind are what do I need to do to get re-elected and what do I need to do to help get more of my party elected. Most of the politicians aren't interested in how the issues they are voting on truly affect their constituents or the country. We need to get past worrying about whether people are Democrats or Republicans. We even need to stop putting ultra right wing or ultra left wing people in office. What we need to do is put more moderate people from both sides in office and let them work out compromises that are in the best interest of everyone in the country. That is the principle that this country was founded on.

Posted by: semodad | July 13, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I simply cannot believe this is America. To punish the unemployed while they make more money is so sickening. I cannot wait for November; I have never volunteered politically in my life, but will devote time to getting these people out of office. Searching for a job hasn't been easy for so many Americans because there are no jobs. You're overqualified or unemployed need not apply seems to be the theme right now. So sad. People calling you lazy, saying it's your fault. Like an alcoholic parent yelling at the innocent kid who happened to be at the wrong place (American workforce) at the wrong time (see: years 2001 to present).

Thanks so much to all of you.. senators and Americans who got to keep their jobs... We appreciate you throwing us under the bus and punishing us for keeping our jobs longer than those who got the 99 weeks to find work. Thanks to the big oil boys who get our soliders killed everyday, sit in their ivory towers and see what else they can strip for profit. God bless America? More like Goddamn America. How many of YOUR family members have served in the military? What would you have done without OUR tax money when we were working? Your taxes would go up...unless you're in the one percent of America that gets to sh*t on Americans everyday...if you're not? What is your problem? When will people see the Republicans ARE FOR BIG BUSINESS ONLY....Stop thinking they love Jesus and so you should love them & they tell the truth. The USE things...people, religion...anything to get them their money. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: slc123 | July 13, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I simply cannot believe this is America. To punish the unemployed while they make more money is so sickening. I cannot wait for November; I have never volunteered politically in my life, but will devote time to getting these people out of office. Searching for a job hasn't been easy for so many Americans because there are no jobs. You're overqualified or unemployed need not apply seems to be the theme right now. So sad. People calling you lazy, saying it's your fault. Like an alcoholic parent yelling at the innocent kid who happened to be at the wrong place (American workforce) at the wrong time (see: years 2001 to present).

Thanks so much to all of you.. senators and Americans who got to keep their jobs... We appreciate you throwing us under the bus and punishing us for keeping our jobs longer than those who got the 99 weeks to find work. Thanks to the big oil boys who get our soliders killed everyday, sit in their ivory towers and see what else they can strip for profit. God bless America? More like Goddamn America. How many of YOUR family members have served in the military? What would you have done without OUR tax money when we were working? Your taxes would go up...unless you're in the one percent of America that gets to sh*t on Americans everyday...if you're not? What is your problem? When will people see the Republicans ARE FOR BIG BUSINESS ONLY....Stop thinking they love Jesus and so you should love them & they tell the truth. They USE things...people, religion...anything to get them their money. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: slc123 | July 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"What part of failure don't you liberals get?"

Were you comatose from 2000 to 2008?

Just a dozen-plus months into President Obama's Presidency and you're already back on the Bush/Cheney/Club For Growth/Abramoff/Neocon bandwagon?

Quite obviously, it is YOU who doesn't know from failure.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@converse: Sorry I skipped a step in my ranting...

"All this poll says to me is that most of the people polled do not like and do not understand what is going on with the economy and are blaming anyone and everyone who they think is in charge of it."

I was responding to this...

"People are confused for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is a VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE, which has left even the best-intentioned experts and leaders unsure of how to proceed."

As I stated above, experts are not unsure how to proceed. The consensus among economists is that we need more spending by individuals and/or the govt to stimulate demand and by giving money to states so that they spend it (and avoid massive layoffs of staff when they are most needed ie during a recession) and get the economy moving.

A majority of the senate (all dems) are ready to act on this, but senate rules prevent it from happening. senators don't want changing senate rules, which is what makes assigning blame to those who obstruct legislation. "They" think its the dems because the dems are nominally in charge. It's not complicated to give the party in charge the tools to actually pass legislation like extending unemployment, but individual senators like the ability to throw tantrums and stop the senate in its tracks when something happens that they don't like. So it is not the complexity of the issues, its the arcane rules of the senate that misdirects anger at the dems in both houses when it is the minority in the senate that holds up things like unemployment extensions, stimulative spending, etc.

So there are 2 parts.

1. Experts are not confused about what to do to get the economy out of recession. Its called deficit spending and with the exception of the invisible bond vigilantes, economists agree that govt spending one way to stimulate demand in the economy.

2. Voters don't know who to blame for the economy not coming out of recession because senate rules obfuscate who is keeping legislation to help the economy from passing.

@dpko1: sorry that was meant for converse.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 13, 2010 3:09 PM |It would be much easier to make the case for these programs if they, you know, um, like, actually worked.

Ok first of all I AM going to mention EIGHT years of Bush & his cronies depleting our tax dollars like a slush fund...THE RIGHT did that. They don't like not being in charge & they have 250++ fillibusters (MORE THAN IN OUR ENTIRE HISTORY).
And this is people, who had a job..then *poof* job goes bye-bye, the big oil boys get richer and we're supposed to say thats ok? Bail out the banks, sure send billions to the war for Halliburton to make money (CHENEY) The man even lifted CLEAN AIR & WATER sanctions on the gas & oil boys in 2006, BP kills an ocean & 25 states (YES TWENTY FIVE) have gas wells POLLUTING WATER...FOR P.R.O.F.I.T.. (see documentary Gasland)...it's all there in black & white. But noooooo...don't blame the Mitch McConnells (worth 33 million dollars, btw) or any of the other ELITE Repubs that have ALL VOTED NO TO HELPING THE UNEMPLOYED WHO LOST THEIR JOB BECAUSE THE JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST UNDER BUSH. The GOP is nothing by a bunch of money hungry, I'm all for Jesus when money comes my way crooks.
This is about PEOPLES LIVES not just politics...but you don't, no you CAN'T understand that. What about social security? If it didn't have so many cooks in the kitchen it might work better...lemme guess...DEGREGULATE!!! YAAAAAY!!! That's how the 1930's depression happened...just "trust me" came from the banks, who then took your homes and farms. You are such an a**hole you know that? Move to another country; you're no better than the ivory tower greedy bastards who are also known as Republicans. Lemme guess again...you LOVE Palin. Ha! WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!

Posted by: slc123 | July 13, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad that the american people will need to continue waiting on their benefits and yet you said the republicans are briliant. I don't think so. This blog is mainly for the republicans, please remove me immediately. I will never want to be part of the republican team ever again in my life. They are the most greedy, selfish, childlike and so narrowed minded people I have witnessed in my life. Once again please remove me from this blog.

Posted by: danafrmn | July 13, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@stpup23:
This spelling:("colours") from your post is very telling... care to elucidate?

Posted by: habari2 | July 13, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@ss28: During the periods when Democrats were in the minority they used every trick they could.

Well this is just false. Rethuglicans have forced twice the # of cloture votes and withheld unanimous consent far more than dems did during the bush reign of economic terror. The proof is in the numbers.

From 2000-2006 an average of about 60 cloture motions filed per session. When dems took over the house and senate in 2006 about 140 cloture motions filed in the 2007-2008 session. This session, about 100 coture filing have happened or are anticipated based on the legislative calendar. not to mention the holds and unanimous consent withholding for routine senate matters, which is simply a waste of time.

"It would be much easier to make the case for these programs if they, you know, um, like, actually worked."

Well, unemployment insurance puts $1.60 for every $1.00 of spending so it does work to put money back into the economy which is what is needed.


Instead our society spends a fortune on one failed concept after another and the poor are still with us.

The failed concept of cutting taxes mostly for the already wealthy has failed spectacularly, yet repubs continue to propose it as their only way to grow the economy. Meanwhile SNAP, the EITC, etc. have been shown to raise standards of living for the poor and therefore are effective in fighting poverty. The fact that it still exists doesn't negate the positive effects of the spending.

"Trillions of dollars later, thanks to idiotic government programs, our treasury is empty and our prisons are full. "

Well, over the last 10 years, most of those trillions of dollars went to the 2 failed wars, 2 rounds of tax cuts for the wealthy, and medicare d, all of which exploded the deficit and is the main reason the treasury is empty. Remember, Bush came in with a surplus (or a much smaller deficit if you don't count SS taxes).

Don't whine about an empty treasury when repiglicans continue to act like deficit peacocks while insisting that tax cuts (678 billion to extend bush tax cuts for the over 250k/yr crowd or 700 billion for repealing the estate tax) don't need to be paid for but unemployment extensions (30 billion to those without jobs) do.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

As the Grand Obstructionist Republican party gains confidence that their Senate breaking policy is working with the public they have let their tongues wage. They have provided damning soundbites for Democrats to use in the months leading up to elections. Democrats have largely let Republicans spew their rhetoric unchecked. But that is changing, they are using their words against them. These are unprecedented times where even the party out of power is disliked more than the one in power. Democrats will make a strong push starting in September to change perception on who is really on the side of the people. Republicans have nothing to point to other than record numbers of filibusters. Sure they will win in the red states where people will only vote red but in the toss-ups it would surprise me if they won as many seats as some are projecting. The backlash for obstructionist behavior and outright contempt Republicans have shown is coming I have no doubt of it.

Posted by: MADinNJtoo | July 13, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

There was a brief enthusiasm for filibuster reform during the HC debate but it seems to have faded since. If I understand correctly, its possible to completely abolish the filibuster at the start of the next Congress with only a majority vote, when they agree on new rules for the coming session. I wonder if Dems will have the courage to do so after the election even though they will almost certainly have diminished numbers. My guess is no, but I hope they do.

Posted by: jbossch | July 13, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

Life is so easy when one has all the answers and knows exactly who to blame. Wish it were so.

Posted by: converse | July 13, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@ converse: you comment is too cryptic for me to parse...I don't have all the answers, but the simple ones, like reforming the senate so it works and using countercyclical spending to fight a recession, I feel pretty comfortable about.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@jb: I wonder if Dems will have the courage to do so after the election even though they will almost certainly have diminished numbers.

Well, I don't see any changes to the senate, no matter how necessary they are, because it means that senators would have to give up their right to stall the legislative process, almost indefinitely, every time one of them gets the vapors over a bill or a nominee. Each senator having a veto makes for very powerful individuals and an extremely weak institution. Still, I can't see holy joe or big ben voting to end their ability to act like spoiled children.

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

No unemployment? Thank the republicans! For the rest of you -When the economy stalls again - you can thank the republicans too. The republican’s weren’t worried about the deficit when that big insurance company and their friends the Wall Street execs were giving themselves bonuses with taxpayer money!!! Next election – let Congress feel the sting of the unemployment lines!!! No more raping and pillaging the middle class!!! – How many years have you paid taxes? 30? 40? Your government bails out bankers and Wall Street execs using your tax dollars – but unemployment is allowed to expire? What happened to "by the people" or "for the people"? Or are the big campaign contributors the only "people" who count to congress? They are playing games AGAIN FOR THE THIRD TIME while you are wondering how to feed your kids? Figure it out! Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election MAKE YOURSELF MATTER BY VOTING!!! 10% unemployment carries 10% of the vote! Use it!! Fire them all next election or recall every Congress member NOW for Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election - Lets get people elected who actually represent all the People- this current congress represents only special interest groups!

Posted by: agh1 | July 13, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The democrats could have mitagated the damage and possibly prevented it altogether had they taken aggresive tactics against the con obstruction and against the conservadems. Obama's former fellow senators understood his aversion to confrontation and used it to their great advantage.

Posted by: Ami_Blue1 | July 13, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The whining continues. And my enjoyment of the liberal discomfort carries on as well.

Now, of course, a new dimension has been added: name calling.

Sooo we have the two basic pillars of the liberal argument: whining and name calling.

wow, now there's a flag around which intelligent adults should rally!

Just too funny

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 13, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

@Ami_Blue1 : Obama was being the anti-bush when he should have been the left equivalent of bush, pushing through progressive policies when he had the momentum in 2009. Treating the republicans like adults when they acted like spoiled 4 year olds just made him look weak and emboldened the 4 year olds to stamp their feed and hold their breath more often (ie force cloture at infinitum.)

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Skip, did you "skip" over the entire thread? There's a lot of reasonable debate and analysis here.

Well, there was until you spouted off.

Obviously you're just looking for attention, but really, you don't have to go out of your way anymore to prove that you don't understand rational people nor reasoned debate. We get it.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 13, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@ss28: I hope I didn't hurt your tender sensibilities by using the words rethuglican and repiglican. They were not directed at you, but at the repub congresscritters and media prostitutes at Faux news and talk radio and I humbly apologize if you thought I was referring to you.

That said, you avoided any substantive debate which tells me that you don't actually want one. The tax cuts don't need to be paid for but unemployment insurance does argument seems like something that you might address but no. Just trolling I guess...

Posted by: srw3 | July 13, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

So, the Public is blaming "Party of No" monkey wrench tactics on the Democrats? Evidence of the dumbing down of America. Shows the effects of the disinformation campaign of Fox News, Limbaugh and all the rest of the American Taliban who want this Country to fail.

Posted by: dozas | July 14, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Why do progressives complain so much about GOP obstructionism when they did the Democrats did the same exact thing under Bush. Obstructionism has been a staple of US politics for years. For those who haven't figured it out yet, the way to avoid obstructionism is to craft bipartisan legislation. The Democrats only have themselves to blame for thinking they could shut out GOP participation in the legislative process and ram their partisan legislation thru Congress. They are getting exactly what they deserve.

The "change" people wanted in 2008 was a functional government where the two parties worked together to develop solutions to the country's problems. Obama promised that during the campaign apparently he didn't get Pelosi and Reid to buy into it.

Posted by: TomR4 | July 14, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Were I in the House or Senate for the last year and a half, I too would have done my utmost to obstruct the government-growing legislation proposed.

The defenders of the Alamo could have been regarded as "obstructionist". Or as heroic.

My compliments to the GOP for their resolve.

Posted by: MKS1 | July 14, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

perhaps what this poll shows is how completely disconnected from political literacy most americans actually are.

if 5 percent of the american public actually pays attention to some public policy debate, and these polls include close to 100 percent of the potential american electorate, one can say that a cycnical strategy developed by one party to make sure the party in power fails to deliver the goods is a wise one, from the perspective of the cynical party leaders.

the problem is that these polls rarely talk about likely voters, and what the republicans have managed to do this past week is make it clear to the nation that they are blocking the passage of unemployment extensions. many people on the left and right will now go to the polls over this issue, and not to vote for republicans. it could tip the scales in some congressional and senate races.


i think there is something about overplaying one's hand. i think the debate over unemployment is one where the republicans have gone too far.

aside from the pure politics of it all, there is the problem of long term rising levels of structural unemployment. here, the republicans are in even deeper denial.

this country's political elites bought into corporate globalization hook, line and sinker, along with most of the mass media, and the public has been screwed as a result.

wall street bailout is one thing, wall street's role in corporate globalization (what was once called de-industrialization in the years of Reagan) is another.

over the long haul, the rise of china could not have happened were it not for wall street's love of profits in communist china facilitated by their "opening" to the capitalist west.

american workers never knew what hit them until it was too late...

Posted by: simonpure | July 16, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

So the rule now is pay unemployment at all cost?
The Republicans said use the money not spent on TARP to pay this extension instead of increasing the debt AND THE DEMS SAID NO WAY!
Who is obstructing Who?

Posted by: jaclk | July 17, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

So the rule now is pay unemployment at all cost?
The Republicans said use the money not spent on TARP to pay this extension instead of increasing the debt AND THE DEMS SAID NO WAY!
Who is obstructing Who?

Posted by: jaclk | July 17, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

So the rule now is pay unemployment at all cost?
The Republicans said use the money not spent on TARP to pay this extension instead of increasing the debt AND THE DEMS SAID NO WAY!
Who is obstructing Who?

Posted by: jaclk | July 17, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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