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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Republicans vs. Reality

A lot is being made of a Wall Street Journal editorial out today that points out the obvious: House Republicans have completely screwed up the payroll tax cut extension. While it's nice to see the WSJ momentarily dip their toes in reality, they can't seem to bring themselves to go for full immersion. The editorial is crawling with half-truths and unfounded assumptions. In other words, it was obviously written by the Wall Street Journal editorial board. Still, when a rightwing propaganda outlet attacks the right wing, it's at least interesting to watch.

But has it set the GOP back on the right course? Not exactly. And by "not exactly," I mean "exactly not."

In a report on the whole fiasco, The Hill shares this tidbit:

House Republicans... think it is Democrats who will be blamed for not working with the GOP on a deal to extend the break for a year. In their talking points Tuesday, they emphasized that a conference committee was the normal process for resolving differences between the two chambers.


Why do they believe they're winning this? Because they're Republicans, of course; they only believe things that make them comfortable, back up their prejudices, or confirm their ideology. "Damn the facts, full speed ahead," could be the GOP motto. And this time, they've got a full head of steam and a heading in the wrong direction. President Obama's approvals are climbing, while the Republican Party's are falling.

"President Barack Obama's approval rating appears to be fueled by dramatic gains among middle-income Americans," explains CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The data suggest that the debate over the payroll tax is helping Obama's efforts to portray himself as the defender of the middle class." In CNN's poll, the president's approval has risen five points to 49%, the highest since a bounce after the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Obama's gains have come at the expense of the Republicans in Congress and the GOP in general. By a 50% to 31% margin, people questioned say they have more confidence in the president than in congressional Republicans to handle the major issues facing the country. Obama held a much narrower 44% to 39% margin in March.

And the GOP's overall favorable rating has dropped to six points, to 43%, since June, while the Democrats' positive rating remained steady at 55%.

"The Democrats do particularly well among middle income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale," adds Holland.

It may well be that Republican disdain for reality has finally come back to bite them. They're like Charlie Sheen, who was convinced he was "winning" while it was obvious to everyone that this was delusion. While House Republicans see themselves as "Braveheart," everyone else sees them as clowns. Reality has a liberal bias and, in this instance, that bias is harsh.

No wonder outlets like the Wall Street Journal's editorial page use reality only sparingly.


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