There are two messages being sent to us by the House of Representatives. "Hate Obama. Vote Republican." The other message is, "Save the Rich. GOP Now." But, the question the American people want answered is, "How are you going to guide the country?" Pending focus groups, we’ll have to wait for an answer. Meanwhile, House Republicans showed the country that they do not think that trust is an issue. They did two things last week to prove that. First, they voted for the country to default, which would increase the deficit they oppose. Second, they voted to help send jobs overseas, which they excoriate. They also seek reelection at the time when their approval rating is less than 13% and expect the country to reward such delusional behavior.
That will work if the country is delusional, too.
On September 13 the House passed a resolution of disapproval of the debt ceiling deal that they passed in August. They had also granted themselves the right to pass a resolution saying they disapproved of it. They passed such a resolution. I did not make that up. Never mind that the Senate has already rejected their attempt to put the country into default and that House Republicans do not have enough votes to overcome a presidential veto. They passed it anyway.
HJR 77 says, “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves of the President’s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as exercised pursuant to the certification under section 3101A(a) of title 31, United States Code.”
To put this in context, the Republican House also passed the "Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act" just two days later. According to the GOP, HR 2587 essentially prevents the National Labor Relations Board from doing its job, which is what “government interference" means to them. They do not say that, naturally, but that is what the bill does. The other thing it does is to pander to the corporations that fund the Republican Party.
“This bill dismantles key functions of the National Labor Relations Board and guts more than 70 years of established labor law in our country,” said Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) in opposition. “If this legislation becomes law, it would eliminate nearly all worker protections when companies illegally fire workers and close or move plants in retaliation for union activities.”
Remember the GOP “Pledge to America?” It promised a “government more transparent in its actions” and “honest in its dealings.” They lied or forgot about it.
Today’s consumer confidence rating is the fourth lowest since 1952, according to GOP pollster Bill McInturff. “The collapse of confidence in government has substantially eroded already weak consumer confidence.” The debt ceiling negotiation profoundly reshaped our view of the economy and the federal government that has yet to be realized in full measure. “It has led to a scary erosion in confidence . . . at a time when this steep drop in confidence can be least afforded.”
When the GOP’s McInturff says, “We are entering a new phase of the American political dialogue that has been irrevocably shifted in a way that will prove difficult to predict,” he is not kidding. Why would he? By its actions however, the GOP does not seem to care about such cause and effect. It seems to think that default is an option. It seems to care more about the party itself and raising money than it cares about the best interests of American people and real governance.
Hating Obama is a posture, not a policy. The resuscitation of Republican party that brought enough new members to the 112th Congress to create a majority succeeded by rallying contempt for the new Democratic administration, personified by the president. HJR 77 and HR 2587 are more posturing. Neither bill advances a course of action to address chronic U.S. unemployment or to improve our anemic economy. Neither bill demonstrates smart opposition. Instead they lend credence to the cynical observation that the GOP agenda is to maintain the recession in order to win a national election.
Hating Obama and raising enough money to mount a successful campaign may not be as mutually sustainable as the GOP seems to believe.
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Article first published as Hating Obama and Raising Money on Blogcritics.
Article first published as Hating Obama and Raising Money on Blogcritics.
Gallup has been tracking presidential job approval since Harry Truman took office in 1945. The Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center shows President Obama with an all-time high of 69%, when he took office in January 2009, and a to-date low of 40% recorded at the end of July. He is about two-months shy of being in office 1000 days and his average approval is 50%. Regardless of how one interprets the data, one thing abundantly clear: an awful lot of people disapprove of a President most of the time. Who is in office does not really matter.
JFK also sent the first US troops to a country few people had ever heard of – Vietnam. During his 1036 days in office, JFK’s budgets ran deficits to finance his New Frontier programs. His approval ratings scored a high of 83% and a low of 56%. They had been trending down when he was murdered.
Reagan survived an assassination attempt and took credit for the end of Communism with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although he railed against the debt ceiling, it raised 17 times during his eight-year administration. His supply side “Reaganomics,” which his critics called “voodoo
economics,” created more new debt than the combined deficits of all previous presidents. While Reagan said he was committed to reducing government spending, it rose by $321 billion during his presidency, to more than a trillion dollars. He also raised taxes seven times. Only his age and the 22nd Amendment prevented Reagan from running for a third term.
Instead, with a revenue improved economy, the enormous popularity of Ronald Reagan and relative world peace, Vice President George H. W. Bush won the presidency by defeating Massachusetts Democrat Governor Michael Dukakis by a popular vote margin of 53.4% to 45.7%. Best known for his famous pledge, "Read my lips: no new taxes," a recession began. Rising deficits, a declining economy plus a growth in mandatory spending began to further increase the federal deficit. Bush’s approval ratings ranged from a high of 89% to a low of 29%.
By 1990 the deficit had grown to three times its size in 1980. The federal government shut down for three days and the Democratic majority in Congress eventually forced Bush to raise tax revenues. But events of the Gulf War pushed economic issues out of the news and Bush ended up with an overall approval rating of 60.9% for his term in office, second only to Kennedy.
After three Republican presidential terms and the economy again in recession, two candidates ran against President Bush in the 1992 election: Arkansas Democrat Governor Bill Clinton and Independent businessman Ross Perot. Bush's 89% approval ratings following the Persian Gulf War made him look like a certain winner, but the economy trumped his approval ratings at the ballot box. Clinton prevailed with 43% of the popular vote to Bush’s 37.5% and Perot’s 18.9%. Ross Perot capitalized on the economic woe in his 1992 campaign and ran again in 1996. He siphoned an 8.4% popular vote as incumbent President Clinton defeated Kansas Republican Senator Bob Dole 49.2% to 40.7%.
The Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus between the years 1998 and 2000, the longest economic expansion period in US history. Only the second president to be impeached by the House, the Senate failed to muster the Constitutional two-thirds majority requirement to convict and remove an officeholder. Despite the impeachment and another government shutdown, Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any US president since World War II at 60.6%. His highest approval rating scored 73% and his lowest recorded 37%.
John Kennedy: 56
Lyndon Johnson: 35
Richard Nixon: 26
Gerald Ford: 37
Jimmy Carter: 29
Ronald Reagan: 37
George H.W. Bush: 38
Bill Clinton: 37
Article first published as Presidential Approval: So What? on Blogcritics.