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Republicans may have made major gains in the November elections, but they have yet to win the hearts and minds of the American people, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The midterm elections — in which Republicans gained 63 seats to take control of the House and added six seats to their Senate minority — were widely seen as a rebuke to President Obama. Still, the public trusts Obama marginally more than they do congressional Republicans to deal with the country’s main problems in the coming years, 43 percent to 38 percent.
The poll suggests that the election, while perhaps a vote against the status quo, was not a broad mandate for Republicans and their plans.
The Post reporters, Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, offered this example: “Obama maintains double-digit leads over Republicans in two big areas — helping the middle class and health-care reform.” So Americans like Obamacare after all? Well, no. Two days earlier, Cohen had reported on the Post’s website about a finding that was omitted from the subsequent front-page analysis of the poll. A 52 percent majority “oppose the overhaul to the health care system,” while only 43 percent supported it.
So why the GOP do so badly in the poll? The obvious explanation — obvious to everyone except Balz and Cohen — is that the voters did give Republicans a mandate but didn’t trust them to carry it out.
AS FOR HALPERIN, he had all his bases covered. He published the grim assessment with which we began this column on a Monday. Hours later, Obama announced a deal with congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years in return for an extension of unemployment benefits and a one-year cut in the Social Security payroll tax.
The centrist compromise was generally popular, but Obama offended Republicans and Democrats alike by declaring at a Tuesday news conference that he planned to reverse it in two years, that the deal had been forced on him by Republican “hostage takers,” and that his own left-wing supporters were “purist” and “sanctimonious” for complaining. Things got so bad that by Friday Bill Clinton was doing damage control at his own White House news conference.
One man, Mark Halperin, was totally won over. The following Monday, he wrote:
By closing 2010 with the kind of bipartisan compromise that was supposed to be the hallmark of his Administration, Obama showed that he is capable of change, and that there is hope he can achieve his goals.… Over time, this new Obama — the one who, out of necessity, is going to make deals with Republicans to fix the economy and get things done, rather than keep his wagon hitched to the liberal wing of his party — has a chance to have not only a liberated and happy holiday season, but also a 2011 filled with the fruits of a successful midcourse correction that has not yet been a part of his presidential repertoire. That’s change the President can believe in.
Maybe so, but Halperin had better be careful, lest somebody hire a lawyer and sue him for whiplash.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?