Steady As She Goes

I apologize in advance for the link to Politico, but there’s a message  there that I think resonates beyond the vapid talking points regurgitated by Vandehei & Harris. The president has gotten a lot done. Period. This despite the ferocity, stupidity, money, and ruthlessness of his opposition. In the face of a obnoxious know-nothing populism filled with snarling, ignorant bullies and demagogues, he has ultimately made good on many of the promises he made during his campaign (what, 15 years ago?). Health reform was passed. The war in Iraq is winding down responsibly. We just passed a financial bill. Jobs, though still a worrisome trickle, are on the rise. Let’s not forget the infrastructure work or saving the banks and auto industry, extending LGBT benefits for federal employees, etc., etc. Hell, let Rachel Maddow read the list to you! Even the staunchest arch-conservative would have to admit that he’s doing something, though we can all agree they wouldn’t view them as accomplishments.

Similarly, a recent poll had lots of chicken littles fretting about the state of the Democratic Party including the president. But the most interesting take-away from the poll is that as bad as Obama’s numbers look, the Republicans are much worse. Why the headline doesn’t read “Obama Trusted More Than Any Major Republican On Every Issue” can be chalked up to the media conglomeration outrage of your choice. The point is, people still like him (with an approval at 52%), they don’t trust the Teabag Nation to lead us out of the wilderness, and, as we found out today, everybody knows damn well who to blame for  this whole mess.

I haven’t been posting lately because of a mix of things, but part of it is the shear bleakness (some might call it a malaise) gripping the country. Honestly, I didn’t know where to start. Scanning the news pages, looking for fodder, was just depressing and the increasing, entrenched venom of the opposition was exhausting. I think this is a big part of the success of the right wing: they are relentless. They blast their message at top volume for 24 hours a day, with tepid pushback from the other side. Even if you aren’t paying attention, surely you’ve heard that the president is a socialist? In that context, the poll above is like a bell to end the round and catch our breath. The underlying support for the president is there, it’s just reeling from two solid years of cynical derision by the corporations that report the news and own most of the politics.

I’ve made a decision not to get too obsessive about handicapping November. I don’t think Republicans’ epic braggadocio about 100 seats is realistic, nor is Pelosi’s rugged confidence. Yet whatever happens from here on out, I know that the wackiness of the former Bush-Lovers (don’t pretend too hard, Tea Party) isn’t selling. People are pissed but they’re keeping a sense of perspective, tenuous though it may be. Even if enough knuckle-draggers can be conned into voting (R) in November, there isn’t a single idea out there to replace all this repealing they keep talking about. I’ll bet few people over at the NRCC are sweating in secret, though, because there’s nothing to implement should they regain power except a steady drumbeat of no. Which, again, isn’t really an idea. That poll paints a pretty ugly picture for Republicans, but I wonder if any of them has the vision to look past the headlines?

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