Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 17, 2010

MAYBE CONGRESS SHOULD LISTEN TO THEM.... Congress is poised to take up some pretty weighty issues during the lame-duck session, and at this point, a new CNN poll shows Americans siding with Democrats on all of them.

Only a third of all Americans think Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for families regardless of how much money they make, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday also indicates a vast majority of the public is in favor of allowing openly gay people to serve in the U.S. military. Both issues are high on the agenda for federal lawmakers who have returned to the nation's capitol this week for the lame duck session of Congress.

Republicans feel like they have the upper hand on taxes, but only a third of the country supports the GOP approach. Likewise, Republicans appear positioned to kill a key nuclear arms treaty, but 73% support Senate ratification of New START.

But it's the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" results that really stand out. The top-line results are pretty one-sided -- 72% want DADT to end, while 23% want it left in place. The country is pretty divided right now, and 72% of Americans don't agree on much, but Americans have been hearing about this issue for quite a while, and they seem to have made up their minds.

But also look at the internals -- support for DADT repeal is so broad, it spans both genders, every race, every age group, every region, every party, every ideology, and every level of education. Even among Republicans, the Democratic position enjoys overwhelming support (64% to 31%). This is about as close as we get to "consensus."

And yet, despite this, GOP officials on the Hill are still planning to kill repeal this year, and keep the unpopular policy intact for years to come. Adding insult to injury, those on the left are largely fighting amongst themselves, instead of going after Republican lawmakers who stand in the way of success.

Putting that aside, though, in the post-election environment, Republicans have been going around quite a bit lately, insisting that policymakers need to "listen to the American people." I guess that sentiment doesn't apply when Republicans don't like what they hear.

Steve Benen 1:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (12)

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Public opinion does not matter. Only votes matter. And Republicans got the votes. They ran on a platform of extending the tax cuts for the rich. They got the votes running on that platform. They're pushing that platform.

Opinion polls only matter when they translate to votes. In poll after poll Americans show strong support for the Democrats stated agenda. And then they VOTE Republican. Republicans know this and understand this. That's why they get away with ignoring polls. Because they fundementally understand that votes matter more and put all their effort into getting people to believe in them for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: thorin-1 on November 17, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems allows the Rs to get away with all this, with no consequences. The Ds never call them out, they never campaign on anything Faux News might find offensive, never point out hypocrisy, etc. The Ds simply refuse to learn.

Posted by: blame the right folks on November 17, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Some opinions are more important than others. The opinions of Fox News, and some guys named Koch are more important than a CNN poll.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I will take thorin-1's comments a step further. Only MONEY matters. This has actually been pretty well established. Look up Martin Gilens work on congressional responsiveness - when the middle class and the top 10% disagree on policy, our elected representatives almost *always* side with the upper 10 percent.

Why is this the case? Part of it has to do with campaign funding. It doesn't matter if the majority of the population support DADT repeal, new START, upper class tax cuts, a public option...if 51% of the voters who go to the polls on election day can be convinced to vote Republican because an onslaught of advertising--or Fox news--has convinced them that "Obama is a Moslem" or "Democrats want to kill grandma", then it doesn't matter that in a perfect world they would have voted to ratify START or eliminate DADT. I also think that part of it has to do with pure old-fashioned corruption. Vote for wealthy interests, and you and your family will get cushy lobbying jobs after leaving Congress. Vote for the interests of the rest of the population and you might get a warm accolade from some bloggers on your way out the door.

I'm sure it is possible to change the situation, but it will be a long, hard slog over decades, and we have barely begun to even acknowledge the problem.

Posted by: rae on November 17, 2010 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I was about to write what all of you are thinking anyway: What absolutely perfect, timely, reliably sourced solid information on the actual will of the people for Democrats - from Obama on down - to shout repeatedly from the rooftops in order to help get our objectives into legislation in these two areas in the lame duck session.

And we all know it will be ignored and left unexploited by our brilliant Democratic politicians.

But then BTRFONov 17 more or less beat me to it.

Posted by: emjayay on November 17, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine that- the left fighting against themselves! Shocker- see LBJ,McGovern, Carter,Gore and Obama.

Posted by: KK on November 17, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'll make it 6 for 6. All this nonsense about "facts" and "data" simply doesn't matter when it comes to the current combination of Republicans who lie and bully shamelessly, an insular media who abet them, and Democrats who are as much a part of the Money Party as the Republicans and have no intention of opposing them.

It's funny -- well, not really, but it's LIKE funny -- that progressives shake their heads at how Republican politicians use the hard-right rubes like tools and then drop them the moment the job is done, and yet expect Democratic politicians not to do the same thing.

They really aren't at all different from each other, you know. They just sit on different sides of the center aisle.

Posted by: bleh on November 17, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

So two-thirds of Americans oppose extending tax cuts to the wealthy? Too those people didn't vote and elect some representatives who think that way. Unfortunately the people who were motivated to vote this past election were also the people who think it's worth driving this country into the ground financially so that some plastic surgeon doesn't have to endure the disgrace of driving a Mercedes S500 instead of the V12 600 model.

Posted by: jonas on November 17, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter what the public supports as the Dems will cave. They have the issues, they have a good track record and they have sane candidates. However, they have been beaten and abused so long by Republicans and journalists, the Dems just can't even see straight.

Posted by: Darsan54 on November 17, 2010 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

The repeal of DADT pretty clearly has an overwhelming consensus supporting it. So why are the Republican leaders still opposing it?

Simple. They are opposing it to show that they have the power to prevent it. No one gets anything unless the Republicans approve that they get it.

It's not an issue thing. It's a power thing. Democrats who refuse to similarly display their ability to use raw political power will always lose in the long run.

This is not subject to rational discourse, no matter what your ignorant civics teachers told you. This is all about raw power, how to get it and how to wield it.

Posted by: Rick B on November 17, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't get what politics really means (getting and wielding raw power) then you are a babe in the woods and (to mix metaphors) just waiting to be fleeced.

Posted by: Rick B on November 17, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

"If you don't get what REPUBLICAN politics really means (getting and wielding raw power)...".
Fixed it for you, Rick B

Posted by: Doug on November 17, 2010 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK



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