In their attempt to woo independents, the Obama political team seems willing to sacrifice almost anything simply to win the political theater of having Obama look like the “adult in the room.” I find this incredibly frustrating on multiple levels. Not the least of which, because it is just plain stupid, as Ruy Teixeira explains in The New Republic:
So how’s the debt deal going to go over with these different flavors of independents? Well, Democratic IINOs and pure independents both are concerned about the job situation over the deficit by a margin of two to one, according to Pew data. In fact, the only part of the “independent” pool that actually thinks the deficit is more important than the job situation are Republican IINOs, who right now give Obama a 15 percent approval rating, the same as regular Republicans. Good luck winning that group over.
But maybe pure independents only say they’re concerned with the economy when their real passion is bipartisan compromises on the debt, and so they’ll ignore the bad jobs situation and turn out in droves for Obama. That’s not likely to happen either. As John Sides has pointed out, voting preferences among pure independents are more influenced, not less, by the state of the economy.
I’m a progressive for many reasons but primarily because I believe progressive economic policies work. I believe they make regular people’s lives better and make society better.
I also think it is pretty clear that despite the rhetoric and the cable news chatter what most regular people care about is if things work for them and if those things make their lives better. That is why you can have supposedly anti-socialist older voters turn out in a midterm to punish Democrats for cutting the very popular Medicare.
I believe if Democrats were willing to lose the short term political theater to do what ever it takes to get immediate help that struggling people can feel, it would turnout that the same good policy would quickly become good politics.
Bizarrely the current elected Democrats have shown basically no interest in making sure the electorate feels their policies. For example, in the stimulus bil, they made the tax cuts hidden so people won’t even notice the cuts. Similarly, with the new health care law, in an effort to get a pretty CBO score to wave around as part of the political theater, they purposely delayed the start date so almost no one would feel any help from it until after 2014.
What we have is a President who thinks its smart politics to cost the country 1.8 million jobs, so independents can see him as the sensible compromising adult. I don’t even know how you deal with this level of disconnection from reality, polling, and simple common sense.