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Posted at 4:24 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Why Americans think Obama is too liberal

By Greg Sargent

A new Gallup poll finds that a solid 50 percent of national adults want Obama to govern in a more "conservative" fashion, while only 30 percent want him to continue along his current ideological course. A majority of independents want Obama to be more conservative, too. This suggests, of course, that many Americans have bought the narrative that Obama governed from too far to the left.

I think this stands as another reminder that the strategy of Senate Republicans during the past two years was politically brilliant. As you may recall, Mitch McConnell got a lot of attention last month because he frankly acknowledged that Republicans made a calculated decision to deny Obama bipartisan support for his proposals in service of a grand political objective:

"We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals," McConnell says. "Because we thought -- correctly, I think -- that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the 'bipartisan' tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there's a broad agreement that that's the way forward."

Today's Gallup poll, I think, reveals anew why this insight of McConnell's was so crucial. What McConnell was really saying here is that if any Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals, it risked suggesting to the American people that Obama's governing approach was moderate or even somewhat centrist -- something that could command some agreement. By contrast, when no Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals it made it far easier for them to paint Obama's agenda as ideologically off the rails to the left, which is exactly what they did.

If no Republicans were willing to sign on to Obama's proposals, that had to indicate that something was seriously amiss and that there was cause for real alarm about the overreaching nature of his agenda, right? And judging by the outcome of the midterms, this strategy worked.

Indeed, it's no accident that in the wake of Obama's successful passage of legislation with bipartisan support -- the tax deal, the New START treaty, the repeal of don't ask don't tell -- the new NBC/WSJ poll finds that the number who think Obama is "moderate" has suddenly jumped to the highest ever of his presidency. As McConnell recognized, denying Obama bipartisan support during his first two years made it far easier to paint him as an out-of-control old-style big government liberal -- and as a result, now the public wants him to keep moving to the right in the new era of divided government. Brilliant.

**************************************************************

UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: Let me try to be a bit clearer. What McConnell shrewdly recognized is that the public would read the absence of bipartisan cooperation with Obama as a sign of liberal extremism, and would perceive any bipartisan support for his agenda as a sign of moderation, regardless of the policy details. This is exactly what happened. Whe Obama was denied bipartisan support, people worried about liberal overreach. But his bipartisan successes have suddenly persuaded the public that he is more moderate. And yet his fundamental approach -- combine center-left and Republican solutions -- has been more or less the same throughout. He offered deals on health reform, just like on taxes. But they were rejected. The main difference is that Republicans signed on to the post-election initiatives, making them look "moderate" in comparison to the previous ones.

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Senate Republicans  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments


All,

If the Founding Fathers wanted government-run Health Care, Article One, Section 8 would have said EXACTLY THAT.

In addition, our Founding Fathers would have SET UP GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE in Philadelphia, Annapolis or New York or wherever they were before they built Washington DC.


Seriously folks, the Founding Fathers DID NOT DO THAT.


How much more OBVIOUS do you want it to be?


.

____________

The competing (and correct) argument to the interstate commerce issue is this case

United States v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr., 514 U.S. 549 (1995)


In this case, the Supreme Court recongized that there were limits to the Federal powers in "interstate commerce."

The Court did not exactly define where the line is, however, the Court stated clearly THERE IS A LINE.

Most liberals believe there is no line at all, that Congress has powers over whatever it wants.

However, most Americans believe that there is a line between Federal powers and State powers, that the sovereignty of the States must be respected.

In the Lopez case, the Supreme Court affirmed there is a line. Later cases will refine where that line is.

I would imagine that the Supreme Court will be looking at these issues closely, along with the individual mandate.

There are many Americans beleive that there is much more unConstitutional to Obama's plan than just the individual mandate - there is a fundamental issue as to on which side of the line health care is.

For 200 years, health care has been on the States' side of the line. So, all of a sudden we are going to say that EVERYONE has been wrong for 200 years, and it really should have been done differently for the last 200 years ???

That makes absolutely zero sense.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 20, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Judging by the outcome of the midterms, this strategy worked."

Hold on! I thought the midterm shellacking was a result of the economy? Wait - it was racist old white guys! Wait it was something else - anything other than how the Dems actually governed.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 20, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Its the scorched earth Sherman strategy. So what else is new? They have no interest in governing-they only care about dismantling government, lowering taxes and me-first-to-Hell-with-you.


Exhibit A: Texas http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/opinion/07krugman.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
Nothing like having one of the top three States in population falling behind in too many areas. Viva Texas!

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 20, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

sbj-

Well, since the GOP's only strategy *as indicated by Greg* was obstruction, at least the Democrats tried to govern.

Sure, its a Catch-22. Say "no" and then blame the adults.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 20, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

FYI - Hope you are well rested from November. I am emailing you to invite you on behalf of Congressman Chris Murphy, now a U.S. Senate candidate, to celebrate with him tonight at 5pm at the Waverly Tavern, 286 Maple Ave, Cheshire, CT.

Posted by: mmyotis | January 20, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

sbj -- you mean the voters rejected a governing approach that drew on long-accepted GOP solutions to the health care crisis, adopted a Wall Street reform plan that Wall Streeters admitted was not fundamentally transformative, and adopted many of Bush's policies on national securities, civil liberties, and the war on terror?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 20, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Americans do not believe Obama is too liberal because of ANYTHING the Republicans did.

Americans think Obama is too liberal because OBAMA IS TOO LIBERAL.


Many people voted in the 2008 campaign thinking they were being post-racial - without ANY idea that Obama was bringing the nation to the left. To the contrary, Obama specifically PROMISED TO BE BIPARTISAN, which meant Obama committed himself to CENTRIST POLICIES ARRIVED AT BY COMPROMISE.


I have learned in life, if you have to explain something to the point of defining terms, you are dealing with someone who is being intentionally deceptive and who is a liar.

That is where we are with Obama. Few people in the country want to hear excuses, or lame explanations as to why the COMPROMISED DID NOT HAPPEN.

The bottom line is Obama said he WAS THE GUY WHO WOULD BRING ABOUT COMPROMISE.

It wasn't, make a weak effort, with few meetings with the other side - and then BLAME THEM.


Finally, we have heard the Obama people stop blaming Bush. That whining went on for too long.

______________________


Finally, the American People do NOT care about the partisan garbage of the liberals.

Newsflash: no one cares about the liberal agenda OR the partisan prospects of the liberals.


The American People CARE ABOUT THE ECONOMY and JOBS. Obama has pretty much done unbelievably thing to prove he doesnt care about the Economy.

OR at least Obama has proven that his ego-driven health care plan is worth more to him than the ECONOMY.


The American People are sick of the liberal agenda. It is a dead letter to them. Any more annoying jamming or harassment over the liberal agenda is not going to be taken well.

The liberal agenda DIED in November, Get OVER IT.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 20, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I believe that it proves that Republican leaders do not care any thing about our country or the serious economic problems we face today. They only care about keeping President Obama to one term .. at all costs. Republican behavior is hurting so many who are in need of real leadership and assistance from their elected leaders. As a group, the Republican senators and congress members seem to be a sorry excuse for what our founding fathers had in mind to lead our nation.

Posted by: Beaplum | January 20, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The premise of Greg Sargent's piece is silly.

Clearly, Greg is pushing the idea that the liberal agenda died for some reason OTHER than that the American People did NOT want it.


If the American People want a law, the Republicans read the winds, and the Republicans SUPPORT THAT LAW.


Greg, you are being foolish to imply that the liberal agenda FAILED FOR ANY OTHER REASON OTHER THAN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DID NOT WANT IT.


THE PEOPLE DID NOT WANT IT.

THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT IT NOW.


How much more obvious does it have to be? The liberals have become so caught up in their own flawed thinking, anything OBVIOUS is disgarded by the liberals as simply not possible.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 20, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"A majority of independents want Obama to be more conservative, too. This suggests, of course, that many Americans have bought the narrative that Obama governed from too far to the left."

"By contrast, when no Republicans signed on to Obama's proposals it made it far easier for them to paint Obama's agenda as ideologically off the rails to the left, which is exactly what they did."

"As McConnell recognized, denying Obama bipartisan support during his first two years made it far easier to paint him as an out-of-control old-style big government liberal -- and as a result, now the public wants him to keep moving to the right in the new era of divided government. Brilliant."

Obama's policies had something to do with this as well, although this is mostly related to domestic issues. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Obama's policies on the War on Terror largely vindicate the approaches being taken at the end of Bush's second term.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 20, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

What about the NBC/WSJ poll?

"The poll also finds that 40 percent of respondents label Obama as a political moderate, compared with 45 percent who see him as a liberal and 11 percent who view him as a conservative."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41161439/ns/politics-more_politics/

This astounded me yesterday!!!!!
51% more than half of our nation believes Obama is either conservative or moderate.

I'm not sure the "he's a liberal" meme has penetrated quite as much as you might think. Of course Greg I concede these are only two polls with limited samples and taken at a point in time when folks are still appreciative of Obama's Tuscon speech.

Two months from now we might be back to..
He's a kenyan,muslim,socialist,communist, racist who hates America and sides with terrorists over his fellow citizens.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 20, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

In 2006 and 2008, the conservative agenda therefore must have failed for the reason that the American people did not want it.

The people did not want it then.

The people did not want it now.

The people did not want it in a box.

The people did not want it with a fox.

The people did not want it here or there.

The people did not want it anyway.

The people did not want it Greg I am.

The people do not like that kind of scam.

BB

[With apologies to Dr. Seuss]

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 20, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Man, you picked the crapiest (sp) figure out of that gallup study to write an article about.

How about the net positives that even Republicans believe Obama's next two years will be better than the first two.

:)

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 20, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"As has been pointed out elsewhere, Obama's policies on the War on Terror largely vindicate the approaches being taken at the end of Bush's second term."

Vindicate???...again remember the guy snapping his fingers to keep the elephants away..when chastised for his stupidity he replied.."You don't see any elephants do you."

The Cheney Bush doctrine hasn't been vindicated any more than the man with snapping fingers was because there were no elephants.

Many folks...apparently over 60% now..believe our FP to be horribly misguided and a total waste of lives and treasure not to mention the collateral damage of being used as a recruitment tool for Al Qaeda. Remember there was NO AQ in Iraq UNTIL we invaded.

People can claim all the vindication they wish...hogwash...start snapping your fingers, it'll not only keep the elephants away, it'll be just as effective as the Cheney/Bush foreign/defense policy..perhaps more so because it won't have the effect of bankrupting our nation!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 20, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"denying Obama bipartisan support during his first two years made it far easier to paint him as an out-of-control old-style big government liberal"


In other words, the big lie works.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 20, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington - My worry is that the figure you cite plays right into the figure Greg cites: that the only reason the country thinks the second half of Obama's term will be better than the first, is because he'll be 'more conservative'.

It's wholly ironic, isn't it? The GOP holds fast ideologically to a tactic of nigh total obstruction, and reap the benefits when the public instead things Obama is the unrepentant ideologue. It's almost obscene that it's such an effective tactic.

Posted by: kryptik1 | January 20, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

RU -- yes, that NBC poll supports the overal point. see the update I added.

And kryptik1, that's exactly right. It's amazingly effective.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 20, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, actually the question in the poll was about the kind of policies Obama should pursue in the next 2 years, so it's a bit of a stretch to then say that Americans think Obama is too liberal. I read it a bit more nuanced than that, Greg.

And in the same poll, Americans believe that the economy is going to get better in the next 2 years, so how does that square with the public believing that Obama's policies should radically change?

It's almost like your boss saying...."I think you're doing a good job and you're only going to do it better in the years to come, but you should do your job completely differently than you have been."

Doesn't really make much sense.

Apart from the Republicans' political strategy, how much do you think this opinion of Obama is based on the constant, never-ending meme of him being a Socialist? I think it's contributed greatly, and it may be why Americans are so confused, as evidenced in this poll.

Posted by: elscott | January 20, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "sbj -- you mean the voters rejected a governing approach that drew on long-accepted GOP solutions to the health care crisis, adopted a Wall Street reform plan that Wall Streeters admitted was not fundamentally transformative, and adopted many of Bush's policies on national securities, civil liberties, and the war on terror?"

Thanks for replying! The public did, indeed, reject Obamacare though some portions of it *did* build on previous GOP ideas. I don't believe the public rejected the Dems because of the Wall St reform (but it obviously didn't get them anything). And I think very few people voted based on Obama's policies regards the war on terror.

I think the public soundly rejected the liberal agenda as epitomized by Pelosi and the very liberal policies pursued in the House. I think the public thought the Dems wasted too much time working on other things while we were losing our jobs and homes. I think the public misunderstands TARP - which is a phenomenal success - but even with that I think the public is smarter than you give them credit for. I think the public rejected one party rule. I think the public recognized that the Dems were governing "unfairly." I would agree that Obama is not entirely liberal - particularly regarding foreign policy - but he *is* the leader of the Democratic party. There can be no argument that the Dems in the House pursued an extreme liberal agenda and Obama appears to be taking some of the blame for that - perhaps some of it unfair.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 20, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

@rukidding7 "People can claim all the vindication they wish...hogwash...start snapping your fingers, it'll not only keep the elephants away, it'll be just as effective as the Cheney/Bush foreign/defense policy..perhaps more so because it won't have the effect of bankrupting our nation!"

Obama is pretty much following Bush's policies on the War on Terror, as even Greg admits:

@Greg Sargent "and adopted many of Bush's policies on national securities, civil liberties, and the war on terror?"

Posted by: jnc4p | January 20, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

sbj, that's nonsense. the public option -- the most prominent example of the House's "liberalism" -- had the support of solid majorities. how is that "extreme"? in any case, it never became law. neither did cap and trade.

as for the public rejecting "one party rule," I'd say that only confirms my point: McConnell correctly calculated that the public would see one party rule as a sign of ideological extremism, even though the solutions that "one party" were offering were plainly bipartisan in nature. the lack of GOP support for his proposals obscured that fundamental fact.

Posted by: sargegreg | January 20, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3 "The public did, indeed, reject Obamacare though some portions of it *did* build on previous GOP ideas."

I think the public concluded that Obamacare couldn't do all three of these at the same time:

1. Cover (almost) everyone
2. Reduce Costs
3. Everyone who likes their current insurance gets to keep it.

For the majority of the public, reducing costs was more important than expanding coverage. Obamacare expands coverage first, and focuses controlling costs down the road. This is the opposite of the voters priorities.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 20, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "But his bipartisan successes have suddenly persuaded the public that he is more moderate."

Even though the poll you are writing about says the public wants him to be more conservative!

Posted by: sbj3 | January 20, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "In any case, it never became law. neither did cap and trade."

Doesn't matter. The public turned against Clinton even though his health care reform never passed.

The Dem majorities in congress, particularly the House, played to their liberal/progressive base with a lot of liberal rhetoric and a lot of bills that never went anywhere. They probably did this in part to counter the negative reaction that Obama was getting from his left flank for some of his more centrist policies (which I have never denied).

The Dems are planning right now to paint the GOP as extreme for what is happening in the House even though much of the Tea Party agenda will never become law.

I think Obama is liberal - and he has said, explicitly, that he would be much more progressive if he could. Perhaps the Gallup results are a reflection of his admitted liberal/progressive wishes?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 20, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"He offered deals on health reform, just like on taxes. But they were rejected. "

Please cite an example of a deal that he offered to the Republicans on health reform.

Obama's primary focus was on getting the ACA through the Democratic Congress, not bipartisan cooperation. I don't blame him for doing this as a political matter, he chose to pursue his priorities with the Congress that existed and that meant that keeping the Democrats together was more important to the political calculations than working with Republicans. However, it also meant that the result was likely to be unacceptable to roughly 50% of the country as "too liberal".

It's also worth noting that Obama ran explicitly on rejecting a universal mandate for health insurance and then reversed himself on this once taking office. It was one of the primary differences between him and Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 20, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@sbj-

"There can be no argument that the Dems in the House pursued an extreme liberal agenda and Obama appears to be taking some of the blame for that - perhaps some of it unfair."

Healthcare Reform that resembles the Mittster's in Mass. that *you admit* to is "extreme liberalism"? I guess you are talking about Lilly Ledbetter?

"Extreme Liberalism" would mean a Medicare buy-in or PO.

And, btw, you must know that about 1/3 of those who are don't HCR want it to be *more* liberal.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 20, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

sbj3 - You're purposely being obtuse, aren't you?

Greg's laid his argument out clearly about why that is. In a bitterly ironic tactic of political sleight-of-hand to which even Mitch McConnell admits to, the GOP used lockstep, near monolithic obstructionism in Congress in order to deny any sort of sheen of bipartisanship to bills that would've been considered wholly Republican in ideology not even 15 years ago. All this in order to paint Obama as some unrepentant ideologue by saying 'See, he can't get Republicans to agree with him, he must be a hyperpartisan loon!'

It's a demonstration of just how utterly messed up and broken our political discourse is when one party ends up in overly partisan obstructionism, and then instead manages to convince the nation that the other side are the partisan ones.

Posted by: kryptik1 | January 20, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, McConnell may be too clever by half, then, if O's "moderate" numbers stay up in 2012. So much for that "deny him one term at any cost" b.s.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 20, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

ChuckinDenton - It's hilarious, isn't it? Somehow, this ends up like saying that just about every politician about 15-20 years ago were somehow raging lefties and liberals, considering the way things have shifted. to which I ask: If the politics of then were so outrageously and unacceptably liberal, why haven't we had uninterrupted Republican rule since then, if the public were really clamoring for more forceful conservatism and right-wing answers?

Posted by: kryptik1 | January 20, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p I agree with you that Obama has followed Bush's horrible fp/defense policies.

Perhaps he is calculating..and not wanting to fight that battle until next year...I do not really know...I do know that he is following an incredibly stupid, ineffective policy for whatever reason and that the number of people against this policy...at least vis a vis Afghanistan has now consistently topped the 60%.

Perhaps jn4cp my post was not clear enough.
I wasn't disagreeing with your observation that Obama is doing exactly what Bush did and more than likely exactly what McCain would have done...I'm simply making the point that IMO they are all wrong and have no REAL proof of the efficacy of this moronic FP anymore than the finger snapping man could prove his finger snapping is what kept the elephants away.

You are absolutely correct though that Obama is doing the same thing any good neocon would have done. But it's not vindication. It did get Darth Vader off his back though...remember when Cheney said Obama was actually putting the nation in peril and not keeping us safe...a couple of days ago he retracted that observation...or at least claimed it is no longer relevant because as you correctly point out jc4np Obama has followed Cheney's FP. Cheney's endorsement proves your point.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 20, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Kryptik-

Agreed. Look at 2008. Thats a Man.Date. but you get 24/7 scary "ObamaisaSocialistKenyanBasketballPlayerWhoPalsAroundWithTerrists" crapola and combine that with the Do Nothing GOP and this is what you get.

Meanwhile, the Country is *still* getting ever more liberal on social issues at least. DADT is telling as is the schism over Gay-rights groups at CPAC.

Hey, if Obama is too liberal and Texas is your model, say goodby to education, mental health services, fire protection, regulation, etc.

At least the rich get richer and Gov. Goodhair will be governor of the Republic of Enron.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 20, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

@kryp: "You're purposely being obtuse, aren't you?"

What's obtuse mean?

No, I'm not. I think the public understands how politics works. McConnell isn't some genius who has devised some never-before-thought-of master scheme to hoodwink the masses.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 20, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@jn4cp

"Please cite an example of a deal that he offered to the Republicans on health reform."

Alas I have to run and so shamefully can't give you a link...but it was widely reported that before the HCR debate even heated up Obama called some key R's to the W.H. and reportedly tossed tort reform on the table as a bargaining chip and asked what they would give in return....How about Jim Demint's famous Obama's Waterloo email...that's bargaining in good faith eh?

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 20, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is:
McConnell took a bet on the very low average political intelligence of the American voter...and won.

And that will help us resolve all our problems in this country.

If this is all it takes to fool a majority of independent voters, we are truly and irremediably doomed as a nation.

Posted by: grosmec | January 20, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

In all fairness to Mitch, Obama was really only interested in picking off an Olympia Snowe vote to give something the veneer of bipartisanship. He had zero interest in bringing his legislation far enough to the right to attract Republican votes.

If Obama had 61 votes in the Senate and could have pushed through single provider / single payer healthcare, he would have. He moved to the center because he had to, not because he wanted to.

People realize this, and that is why he gets the "liberal" tag even though his final legislation might be considered "centrist"

Posted by: sold2u | January 20, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/happy_hour_roundup_169.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 20, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I think your McConnell analysis may be too nuanced.

As one good idea after another was obstructed by the GOP thru 2009 and into 2010, an Independent friend of mine posted the following on FB: "The Dems aren't getting anything done, maybe we should give the other guys a chance next time." That seemed totally illogical to me -- the Republicans are blocking everything you want, so you're going to vote for them? -- but I think that mechanism compelled a great many votes in 2008.

Outcomes dictate future behavior. McConnell's GOP, like any organism, repeated behaviors that previously had a desirable outcome. And the next time the GOP is in the minority, you can bet they'll do it again. Why hurt your brain thinking thru a subtle strategy, much less help the country by voting for good policy, when you can win the next election simply by saying NO to everything no matter what.

Posted by: LTLamberton | January 20, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama had the same opportunity to paint this as Republican obstructionism that was coming from too far to the right, but he completely flubbed on that. He hung a KICK ME sign on his own back.

Posted by: BlueSquareState | January 20, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

So let me make certain I have you correct in your article.... The GOP played a game and won but the American people went 2 years without help regarding jobs, quality of life and law so that the GOP could again regain control... after driving us into this mess in the first place... and you call that brilliant..... not if educated people are paying attention.
let's see how this plays out in 2012....

Posted by: Bulldoglover1001 | January 21, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Greg, it's clear from this NY Times article (below) from March 2010 that this strategy was in place even before Obama was sworn in. McConnell states in the article that he instructed EVERY Republican to vote against EVERYTHING - because, as he is quoted in the article about this - "if the proponents of the bill (any bill) were able to say it was bipartisan (even with ONE Republican vote), it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K."... the article states that McConnell thought "even minimal Republican support could sway the public" into thinking any given bill and the President had legitimacy. This was, as you state, despite whether Republicans would have usually supported such a bill, or even had supported it in the past. It was clearly all done for politics, and regardless of the deleterious effect on the country and its citizens - perhaps a "brilliant" strategy, but the epitome of cynicism and, in my opinion, totally unpatriotic.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/us/politics/17mcconnell.html

Posted by: adsdan | January 21, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

You are entirely correct, Greg, but you don't go far enough. McConnell's strategy didn't directly fool the average US poll responder.

Every lazy split-the-difference non-fact-checking reporter and every formulaic self-styled "centrist" commentator in the US media predictably got played. For his strategy to gain traction, McConnell needed that mindlessly complicit media, not just the deliberately complicit usual suspects.

If Obama is a pinko, Eisenhower was a hard core communist.

Posted by: AlanDownunder | January 26, 2011 12:45 AM | Report abuse

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