Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Long October: When The Republicans Had To Notice Their Hostage-Taking Suicide Mission Was Failing

...was pretty much the point when the mainstream media noticed that Nickelback was more popular than Congress.  To which I can only beg: can we please stop picking on Nickelback?  I'm not a fan or anything - I liked them back when they were Foreigner -  but even they didn't do anything to deserve getting compared to Congress...

Actually, the Nickelback thing relates to a poll taken back in January, or maybe February, of this year.  Public Policy Polling held a more recent poll (Oct. 4 to 6) and found out these things were more popular than Congress:
  • Dog poop
  • Toenail fungus
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Cockroaches
  • The IRS (the tax collectors, not the college-radio record label, although I'm pretty sure the record label will poll popular as well)
  • The DMV
  • The Mother-in-Law
  • Public Radio fundraising drives
  • Potholes
  • Zombies (Must be a Walking Dead fanboi thing)
Sadly enough, neither Miley Cyrus nor Lindsey Lohan proved more popular than Congress, which is sad because both those young ladies are still more coherent and (dammit Miley stick that tongue back in!) reasonable than Congress really is. P.S. can we also stop picking on Lindsey Lohan.  Even she doesn't deserve getting compared to Congress...

On a more serious note, that poll showed only 8 percent approved of Congress' job, with a staggering 86 percent disapproving.  Harry Truman never polled lower than 22 percent.  Bush the Lesser never polled lower than 26 percent.  At a Presidential level, their parties suffered with that unpopularity.  Congress ought to see the same negative result: When you poll that low, no matter how you've got your congressional district gerrymandered to your favor, you are losing voters at an exponential rate.

When voters hate you... you tend not to get those voters back to your side.  No matter how short-term their memories are.  Remember Machiavelli's warning: while being loved or being feared helps, being hated is the worst thing a Prince or any person of power can become.

And making it worse for Congress is that this is a lousy time to be dropping your favorables.  The 2014 midterms are not going to be about Obama the way the 2010 midterms were: the President is not going to be up for re-election again, he can live with having his popularity numbers tank as low as Congress' numbers are tanking right now...  except for the fact that Obama's numbers AREN'T tanking, he's actually going up (he's back over 50 percent in one poll) while the Republicans are going down.  The 2014 midterms are going to be about Congress - much in the way the 2006 midterms were, much in the way the 1998 midterms were - and right now every American voter is seeing how messed up the GOP-led House has been behaving.

Even Obama's signature law the healthcare reform AKA Obamacare - the thing the Far Right Republicans were attacking in the first place as an excuse for the shutdown - is growing popular even though A) people still are confused about what it does and B) the rollout of the Obamacare website was an unforced error and still glitchy.

And the polling is showing a majority of those polled hold the Republicans accountable for the very unpopular shutdown mess.

If the Republicans were doing this whole shutdown / debt ceiling fight to embarrass or weaken Obama, they've done a piss-poor job of it.  I can see how the Republicans would think that if they screwed government up enough, make an incompetent mess of it, they could drag everyone's popularity - not just theirs, but also Obama's - down with them.  A kind of kamikaze "taking-you-with-me" scheme.  The Republicans could normally believe in that, considering that their modern ideology revolves around the belief that government is bad for you anyway.

However, committing suicide thinking your hated enemy is going to fall with you isn't the wisest course of action to take.  All it does for you - for your political party - is bring out the hate from the people who would have normally backed your move... all it's doing is pissing off the people who are/were Republicans suddenly inconvenienced by the shutdown you've caused... and not at all happy with the lies they've been told that "Obama is weak and gonna cave to our demands."

Obama didn't cave.  The Democratic Senate didn't cave.  The current status of the shutdown is that the House GOP is trying to negotiate a short-term extension on the debt ceiling - the big threat looming less than a week away - even though Obama and the Senate Democrats are insisting rightly on resolving the debt ceiling for a longer period along with passing a "clean" Continuing Resolution to get government open again.

We're at the point where it doesn't matter who the "winners and losers" are over this crisis: it's pretty clear the Far Right Republicans took a high-risk gamble and lost.  The smart move for the GOP is to make the deal Obama wants, take the hit from their wingnut voters, assure their financial backers to not support any primary challengers for their gerrymandered districts, and work hard to make voters forget this Long October.

Then again, that plan of action is based on there being enough sane and competent Republicans left in government able to do any of that.


Here's hoping the Nickelback/Miley Cyrus/Lindsey Lohan "Suck On This Congress" nationwide tour generates a lot of ticket and t-shirt sales...

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