Skip to comments.Obama effort to woo independents derailed by debt-ceiling deal
Posted on 08/24/2011 4:50:26 AM PDT by markomalley
The unpopular debt-ceiling deal has significantly hampered President Obamas effort to win over independent voters.
Since Democrats were thumped in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama repeatedly has sought to burnish his reputation with independents, often at the sake of his Democratic base.
Yet a Gallup poll this week found Obama trailing not only leading GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry among independent voters, but long-shot candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) as well. The poll found that Obama leads Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), but only by a six-point margin, 48 percent to 42 percent.
The results suggest that opposition to a second-term for Obama is strengthening and that even candidates thought to be too far outside the mainstream, such as Paul and Bachmann, would have a punchers chance against him in the general election.
Separately, Democrats disappointed with the debt-ceiling deal and other decisions by the White House have repeatedly blasted the administration over the August recess.
Black lawmakers have accused the administration of not paying enough attention to their communities during a jobs tour led by the Congressional Black Caucus, while liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said the president should announce his jobs plan now rather than after Labor Day.
Ross Baker, a professor at Rutgers University who studies the presidency, said Obama didnt strengthen his position with any identifiable constituency during the debt-ceiling debate.
He lost his hero status with liberals if he hadn't previously with the extension of Bush tax cuts, said Baker, referring to a December deal that extended all of the tax rates approved by former President George W. Bush. That bipartisan agreement was also seen as an effort to win over Independents.
His willingness not to press for revenues did not help him with persuadable GOP leaners and he is just anathema to conservatives and would have been irrespective of the outcome, Baker said.
The reason Obama has sought out independents is clear.
Obama won the independent vote in 2008 by eight percentage points, but independents swung to Republicans in 2010. Since that election, Obama has made a series of decisions intended to win back independent voters.
Obama broke his campaign promise to not extend the Bush tax rates for families with income above $250,000, reasoning it was better for the economy to take a deal that extended all of the Bush-era tax rates. Some Democrats would have preferred letting all the tax rates rise, and blaming the GOP.
Furthermore, the president showed a willingness to agree to entitlement reforms during the debt-ceiling talks, another effort thought to appeal to independents that angered the left.
A bus tour last week that traveled through mostly white, rural areas in three Midwestern states was also an effort to speak to independents. During the tour, Obama ripped Congress.
Jason Johnson, a political professor at Hiram College in Ohio, said the White House was correct in thinking that independents would value the deal. The problem, Johnson said, is that the public soured on the debt accord since it was quickly followed by the S&P's decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.
He ends up having a deal which the left is unhappy with and you still get a downgrade, which is really the thing independents care about, Johnson said.
The chances of Obamas reelection are "going to be strongly influenced by the GOP nominee, says Baker. If it is someone who can be spun and framed as a fanatic, he can survive.
Following the death of Osama bin Laden in early May, many political experts predicted that Obama would win a second term. At the time, Intrade, the online prediction market, set the chances of Obama winning in 2012 at 70 percent. Nearly four months later, Intrade now pegs Obama's chances at 50 percent.
Democrats in congress could of raised ANY taxes they wanted in 2009 to 2010 without any Republican votes. In fact the final budget reconciliation version of Obama-care raised taxes with only 56 Senators votes all Democrat. So the failure to raise taxes isnt just Obama but Pelosi and Reid. If they couldnt raise taxes with simple majorities in BOTH houses with their superior numbers then they have no-one to blame but themselves. I wish Republicans would point this out more when challenged on taxes versus cuts
The larger issue isn't really these silly temporary tax breaks and/or increases. The larger issue is that the government needs to come up with a permanent tax reform package. Temporary stuff has no effect because it's only temporary. I'm a guy that likes taxes low but, the President needs to make his stand on the issue and act like a man.
The next larger issue is entitlement reform. It's been needed since the 1970’s and every time it's been tried it's been demagogued successfully by the Dems. This time, the math is just so stark and scary demagoguery isn't working anymore. Today, not reforming entitlements will ‘throw granny into the snow’ and until Obama and the Dems recognize this fact, they'll lose many elections. Folks lean left and folks lean right but, all folks in the end want the math to work. As long as the Dems are seen as incapable with a calculator (or too wimpy or too incapable to do what they really want which is to raise taxes from 18.5% of GDP to about 35% of GDP) the independents will break to the right.
Finally, The Dems screwed up putting Obama in office. He's clearly not ready. The Dems love symbolism over substance on so many things but, choosing an unprepared man to run the country simply because he's black was one of their biggest boo boos. Hilary would have been better....and I hate Hillary (politically speaking).
The way I remember it, Obamacare needed 60 votes to pass cloture in the senate, The vote after that (the final vote) is really a formality, allowing a few cowards to vote NO after they already votes YES on cloture, which is the real vote. But yes, they could have passed anything they wanted, including amnesty, when they had 60 Dems. But obamacare and the porkulus were higher priorities. I still think they could have squeezed in amnesty if they had 60 Dem+RINO votes, but either they didn't have the votes, or obamacare drained their energy.
If they had passed amnesty, it would have been irreversible and fatal to conservatism, but, like the GOP, they were thinking in the short term. Also, maybe they were counting on Obama's executive orders for amnesty, so he could get all the glory and blame.
No, you miss the point which is why I posted that link. I am surprised.
They passed a Senate Health care bill (requiring 60) and they passed a different house bill. Then the the house passed the Senate bill 'as-is' with the promise that the Senate would immediately pass budget reconciliation bill requiring only 50 plus Biden with MORE spending and MORE taxes to pay for it.
The bill I gave the link to passed with only 56 Senate votes and increased taxes over the previous Senate Health reform bill.
So yes, they needed to have some bill passed with 60 first, and then just tack on more tax increases with a simple majority as they did with Obama care. They could have just added them to Obama-care final bill. But they couldnt EVEN get that simple majority to pass those other tax increases, that was their problem.
Very few pay attention to these details and get hung up on the spin depending on less credible arguments (like we all got rich under Bush) on taxes.
The Bush tax cuts were pased using budget reconciliation because Bush couldnt get 60 in the Senate, that is why there was an expiration date. But that time limit does not apply to tax increases, just uncompensated tax cuts.
FReeper sickoflibs added.......the bill I linked (above) passed with only 56 Senate votes and increased taxes over the previous Senate "Health Reform" bill. Their strategy was to confuse the electorate.....to first have something passed with 60 votes, and then tack on more tax increases with a simple majority as they did with O'Care. They could have just added them to O'Care's final bill. But Dems couldn't EVEN get that simple majority to pass those other tax increases, that was their problem.
Nice deconstructions---deserve a repeat.
I suppose another thing to note is that even after Scott Brown's election (snatching the Dems' 60 vote majority away), when we lose seats to NRA-favored Dems like Manchin and Reid (right, the NRA didn't "officially" endorse Reid but NRA=oriented FReepers here defended Reid) that is still very bad, because when they pass something (even something innocent and non-controversial) with 60 votes, the "reconciliation version" (needing only 51 votes in the senate) that comes out later can be a very different bill.
It's a diabolical trick, no doubt confusing for many.
But that time limit does not apply to tax increases, just uncompensated tax cuts.
Another important tip. I tend to think of tax hikes as "uncompensated" but what do I know.
No, you miss the point which is why I posted that link.
They did have the power to do anything they wanted, and so can't blame the GOP for not helping. I did not disagree with that.
Just to clarify. The time expiration requirement in budget reconciliation rules applies to tax/spending changes that increase the deficit, not those that are deficit neutral or decrease the deficit. So that gave Democrats a number of tax increase options.
The law depends on CBO static analysis which always overestimates the revenues from tax increases or loss in revenue from tax cuts. So tax increases always look great to the CBO, win-win.
Alternatively there is the Republican Santa Claus claim that if you or I get a tax cut, any tax cut(even FICA tax cuts) , that results in NO loss in revenue. This contradicts the other Republican doctrine. the ‘Starve the Beast’ doctrine. You cant claim you are starving the beast if you also claim a strict diet makes the Beast gain weight.
I saw a black guy driving a Lexus the other day.
His bumper sticker said “dOne in 2012”....with the Obama rainbow O in the “done” LOL!
Democrats started copying Republicans argument by claiming that spending pays for itself by increasing tax revenues. Many here didn't believe me so started posting examples.
‘my tax cut pays for itself’ argument even with increasing spending (on stuff I want) is like claiming that instead of joining weight watchers fat people should just add more food to their diet to increase their metabolism. Oh,and I can't exercise either because I am too fat.
Your analogies are fine with me.
If the GOP could identify some part of a tax that goes directly into pork, and they cut that exact part of the tax, that would work, but taxing and spending are designed to be elusive. Do government employees do some amount of useless or even harmful work? I think so, but we do want some govt. doctors and scientists who could track biological weapons and dangerous diseases.
To work, "Starve the beast" can't allow the beast to borrow 40% of what it eats, and then threaten disaster when the bill comes due.
Since Democrats were thumped in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama repeatedly has sought to burnish his reputation with independents, often at the sake of his Democratic base.I'm going to stock up on Maalox for the aftermath of Zero's 2012 defeat -- the person on the street interviews will all be the same meme, 'Zero sucked, but at least the country elected a black president for the first time'.