Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Friday, March 17, 2006
 
The first poll on censure has been published, with the unsurprising result that a narrow plurality (48% - 43%) of Americans favors censure. The most surprising result is that Republicans are opposed by only a 2 - 1 margin; the oddest is that independents are opposed (47 - 42) to censure - but support (47 - 40) impeachment.

The Times, which didn't bother to wait for any polling data before labelling censure as "unpopular", is crowing that Feingold has united Republicans. But mostly what's visible is Republican politicians uniting behind a leader who remains unpopular. How this hurts us in an election year is unspecified.

Republicans in Congress are currently looking at a very ugly picture. Their approval ratings are low, but that's far from the worst of it. They face a very unhappy base, and can't easily take the steps their base wants, especially spending cuts, this close to an election. Unlike Democrats, the Repubs have a base that wants them to do things that are actually unpopular.

It used to be that the public disliked Congress as a whole, but liked their own Rep. This may well no longer be true. A recent Pew poll showed the astonishing result that 41% believe their own Congressman has taken bribes. And it isn't going to get better over the next few months, with new indictments almost certain to come down between now and the election.

Given that setting, forcing Republican Senators and Congressman to choose between being loyal to their unpopular President or going against him and ticking off their base even more is a solid strategy that puts the enemy in a lose-lose position.


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