|Mr. Grumpy, Vladimir Putin, finds out he's last in the popularity contest run by the Wall Street Journal and NBC. On the other hand the Republican Party is loving Putin right now. Why? Because Putin is the only person (or group) the Republicans managed to beat on approval ratings. Even the GOP is liked a little better than Pooty. Which probably doesn't bother Pooty all that much really. But it should really bother Republicans.|
As Maureen Dowd pointed out today, if Obama could manage to get the thoroughly despised Republican Party to impeach him, and better yet convict him, the President would be freed of a job he seems to be bored doing, and Americans would happily put the last nail in the coffin of the decrepit old-white-man’s GOP.
And that brings us to the more amazing point of the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, which showed Obama getting his worst job approval number ever in that poll (40%).
Sounds pretty bad huh?
But, guess what. Barack Obama is more than twice as popular as Congressional Republicans, who currently have only an extraordinarily dismal 19% approval rating from the American people.
In fact, a clear majority of Americans, 54%!—don’t like Congressional Republicans. Only 4% of respondents in the poll said they had “Very Positive” feelings about the GOP members. President Obama’s “Very Positive” rating (at 22%) is more than five times the Republican number.
Now, you may say, well of course Congressional Republicans have crappy approval numbers because they are in Congress, and people hate Congress almost as much as they hate lawyers (which is the number 1 profession held by members of Congress). But then you would have to explain how it could be that Democrats in Congress are so much more popular than Republicans.
While neither party is much loved by Americans, Republicans are clearly the most despised.
The severe decline in the popularity of Congressional Republicans goes back to the Summer of 2011.
What happened then?
I’m sure you’d like to forget (and the GOP would like for you to forget), but what happened was that Tea Party Republicans pushed the United States to the brink of defaulting on the national debt. Even though Barack Obama was willing to compromise to the point that he might as well have stuck an elephant on his lapel and declared himself a Republican, and he and John Boehner were close to hammering out a very pro-Republican deal, the Tea Party refused to budge on demands that Obama agree to severe budget cuts to obtain their agreement on the debt-limit increase.
The result of this was eventually a downgrading of the credit rating of the US government, which increased borrowing costs for the government by billions of dollars. In the end, the two sides agreed to hammer out a budget deal by the end of 2011, with a threat of an across-the-board “sequestration” cut threatened if they failed to do it. And of course, they failed to do it, and the large cuts in government services were enacted.
One can see that while Congress in general has been sinking into the gutter in approval over the last three years, most Americans blame the Republican Party for the Congressional deadlock, more than they do Democrats. And it has cost the GOP enormously in terms of approval.
Add to this the cartoonish rush to the clown-car right the Republicans engineered in their 2012 presidential primary, where all their hilarious, heinous ideology was in full display before the American people for months, and the decline of the GOP into a post-killer-asteroid dinosaur slump is not expected by most people (even in the Republican Party), it is seen as necessary for the political health of the nation.
In spite of all that, the WSJ/NBC poll shows something that actually doesn’t make much sense. It shows that most Americans are still unsure about which party they want controlling Congress. This represents a colossal failure on the part of Democrats and Barack Obama to convincingly articulate the big difference between the Democratic Party and the GOP. It is a difference Americans intuitively feel should be there, and it is a difference most Americans want to be there—because they so hate the Republicans.
Now, the Democrats have a few weeks to encourage the clear majority that hates the GOP to show up and vote for what the Dems want Americans to believe is a real alternative.