Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 20, 2011

IGNORING 'THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'.... Following up on an earlier item, several recent national polls have shown overwhelming opposition to the Republican agenda, most notably GOP plans to eliminate Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher system.

My question for Republicans, then, is whether they still prioritize public opinion the way they did during the health care fight. After all, during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, GOP officials said opposition to the measure in the polls was all that mattered.

To bolster this point, a Democratic source today emailed an interesting list of quotes from the health care fight.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas):

"The American people don't want this bill, but our Democrat friends seem determined to jam it down their throat regardless, and I think there are going to be some very serious consequences."

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.):

"The American people thoroughly reject it. So, if [President Obama] is listening to the American people, they've said no to his bill."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):

"The American people are very smart. That's why two thirds of them want either stop or start over."

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.):

"What we are trying to do is find out why the president wants to continue to ignore the American people."

Either polls matter or they don't. Either Republicans believe policymakers should honor public wishes or they don't.

But they can't, or at least shouldn't, have it both ways. Americans clearly reject the Republican agenda, especially on Medicare, but GOP leaders are pressing ahead anyway. Shouldn't this be about the time that Eric Cantor wonders why his own party "wants to continue to ignore the American people"?

It was literally just last year when Republicans decided that opinion polls are the single most important factor policymakers should consider, especially when dealing with controversial changes to the status quo. For politicians to simply ignore overwhelming survey data was offensive and arrogant, undermining core American ideals like "consent of the governed." By some accounts, Republicans seriously believed that Democrats and President Obama "perpetrated a breathtaking assault on the body politic by passing a law that did not have widespread public support."

I don't expect Republicans to simply scrap their unpopular budget agenda, but if their rhetoric from 13 months ago was sincere, shouldn't they feel compelled to do just that?

Steve Benen 1:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

The combination of excessive militarization and corporatization of our national discourse has almost completely undermined the entire concept of democracy in the United States.

The Republicans are entirely with this metastasis of military topdown thinking and of the corporate niggardliness toward human life in all its dimensions.

As if they EVER really cared about 'the American people.' HAH!

Posted by: jjm on April 20, 2011 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

the Dems lost big in the last election; the unemployment rate was too damn high.

Posted by: Jamie on April 20, 2011 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Eric Cantor should leave economic issues to others, and stick to being CEO of the Uterus Control Party.

Posted by: Ted76 on April 20, 2011 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican party is paid for by the fascist/communist loving KOCH BROS. Politicians/COMMUNISM who support KOCH BROS FASCISM/Communism to change our DEMOCRACY should be charged with TREASON.

Posted by: ML Johnston on April 20, 2011 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Two-thirds? Two-thirds? Where have I heard that ratio before?

Wait a minute. Isn't that the number of Americans polled who strongly favor lifting the cap on wages subject to Social Security withholding as the best way to make SS solvent until the end of the century without cutting benefits or increasing the retirement age?

Makes you wonder why Congress and the media almost never mention it among the options to dealing with SS funding.

Posted by: dweb on April 20, 2011 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Washington Monthly Blog Template (shorter edition)

[Anecdote about how Republicans used to say they cared about X]

[Evidence Republicans now say they care nothing about X.]

[Faux-naive sentence claiming that surely, now that this hypocrisy has been pointed out, everyone will hold Republicans accountable for their duplicity.]

Just load up the database with terms like the opinion of the American people, promoting economic growth rather than a balanced budget, supporting the President in promoting US policy oversees and you can blog for years with minimal actual writing.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on April 20, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

"but if their rhetoric from 13 months ago was sincere"

ha, ha, ha. Nice one, Steve.

Posted by: Ian A on April 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, copyediting the database to get rid of my typo in overseas might be helpful.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on April 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican formula is very simple:

"Elections have consequences" - if Republicans won. If Democrats won, not so much.

"The will of the voters is important" - if it coincides with Republicans. If it coincides with Democrats, not so much.

See? simple.

Posted by: g on April 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Americans clearly reject the Republican agenda"

but they don't reject Republicans

Posted by: SaintZak on April 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK


Waiting for sincerity from a Republican politician is like waiting for a rock to sing an aria from "Carmen."

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

And just who do Republicans mean by "Americans"? Why their friends and supporters, of course.

Saying "The American people support us" is as meaningful as saying "My friends like me."

Polls have nothing to do with it.

Posted by: martin on April 20, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't expect Republicans to simply scrap their unpopular budget agenda, but if their rhetoric from 13 months ago was sincere, shouldn't they feel compelled to do just that?"

IF.

Posted by: Thomas Beck on April 20, 2011 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas):
"The American people don't want this bill, but our Democrat friends seem determined to jam it down their throat regardless, and I think there are going to be some very serious consequences."

Hey, you forgot the "[sic]" after "Democrat."

Posted by: navamske on April 20, 2011 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm so old tht I remember Republicans complaining that Clinton made decisions based on popularity polls.

So the moral is simple - they are just against what a Dem does and will say whatever suits the cause.

Nothing new here!!

Posted by: Mark-NC on April 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

The republicans are simply confident that, given a little time, the support of big media and the complicity/weakness of democrats, they will once again be able to persuade Americans to believe, act and vote against their own interests. Why not?

Posted by: jimmyraybob on April 20, 2011 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I love those republican latent homosexuals with their fear of something being rammed down the american people's throats.

Now it looks like it's because THEY want to do the ramming.

Posted by: jjm on April 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a big a fan as any of holding people to their words, but the GOP and its conservative base doesn't view this sort of procedural lying as relevant. To a conservative, complaints about procedure are just ways to fill airtime; they themselves don't take them seriously.

Posted by: Michael on April 20, 2011 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Give the MSM a few months. They will have those numbers down to 50/50 just like they did with healthcare reform (pre-healthcare reform) and global warming. Oops, climate change. They will do this with the tried but true...some say...he said/he said...equivocation...no context (history of who said what and when), and no follow up on outright lies. They also never point out that 10-15% of those opposed to the ACA feel that way because they want it stronger.

Posted by: Keith Frohreich on April 20, 2011 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The real issue with this, as always, is the context in which R's make these comments. When poll results like this come in, not only R's but the media basically ignore them; when the polls support R policies, they are seen as dispositive. R's can say these things because these polls are treated as if they are outliers.

Posted by: Ron Mexico on April 20, 2011 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"The American people" is not intended to be a factual statement.

Sillies.

Posted by: Southern Beale on April 20, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Both Republican and Democratic politicians always claim that the American public supports their views apparently in the belief or maybe a pretense that the public is always correct.
Few politicians of either party have the guts to say the American people are just plain wrong or even might possibly be wrong.

Posted by: rfb99 on April 20, 2011 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

"if their rhetoric from 13 months ago was sincere..."

Ian A beat me to it. Repubs never have been, and never will be, sincere. Ever.

Posted by: theotherwa on April 20, 2011 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

The dumb Republican voters fall for it every single time. The GOP cares what you think when it fits their agenda, and ignores what you think when it doesn't.

But we've long passed a tipping point in the US. Things are going to get nothing but worse for generations to come. We're just the first generation who's really figuring that out. There's no cavalry coming and we're going to have to get used to poverty unless you're already making about $750k/yr.

Posted by: PopeRatzo on April 20, 2011 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's perfectly appropriate to do as Steve and point out when republicans claim to speak for the american people while they actually dont.

Doesnt change the fact that it's effective and smart to claim for the american people, and rightly so.

Of course voters want to know whats in their best interest, and if you think you know whats in their interest you should say it. It's called "making a pitch".

Thats not the problem with republicans, the problem is they're always pitching bullshit. This time, luckily, the public isnt buying.

Posted by: Danny on April 20, 2011 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hello! bggedea interesting bggedea site!

Posted by: Pharmf797 on May 4, 2011 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Very nice site!

Posted by: Pharme451 on May 4, 2011 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly