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Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in At TMV, Economy, Politics | 11 comments

Quote of the Day: Voters Blame Republicans More for Supercommittee’s Failure

Our political Quote of the Day comes from The Daily Beast’s John Avlon who looks at polling numbers and other data and notes that Republicans are being blamed more by many voters — including crucial swing voters — for the Supercommittee’s spectacular failure. Here are a few highlights:

Dig beneath the surface of Gallup’s new poll showing that 55 percent of Americans blame both parties for the failure of the supercommittee, and you’ll see the remaining breakdown leans decidedly against the GOP: 24 percent say Republicans were to blame, while 15 percent point the finger at Democrats. Among independent voters the split is even starker: 21 percent say the GOP was to blame, while just 9 percent say Democrats were the primary problem.

The key dynamic to watch is the nearly 2-to-1 split when independents and centrists are asked which party is to blame for supercommittee failure. It’s not news to note that partisans are polarized along party lines when assigning blame—the real news is the verdict from these swing voters that Republicans are the primary culprit.

It’s consistent with the dynamics driving congressional approval rates to historic lows. Remember that independent voters swung the 2010 elections to the GOP by a 17-point margin. But a recent CNN poll showed only 15 percent of independents approve of Republican leadership in Congress, compared with 21 percent of Democrats—still a pathetic poll number but notably less bad from voters who reject both parties by definition.

Likewise, only 14 percent of moderate voters approve of Republican leadership in Congress—surprisingly, that’s same percentage of liberals who approve of the GOP leadership—while 31 percent approve of Democrats in Congress. Again, there’s that 2-to-1 margin despite the fact that everyone is underwater in Washington.

AND further down:

In other words, there was ample public support for a grand bargain in addition to the congressional Gang of 150. A not-incidental 54 percent of independents say that they wanted to see more compromise from the supercommittee in pursuit of a deal. The supercommittee failed because of a lack of political will—particularly on the part of Republicans who refused to consider any revenue increases unless they were accompanied by major reductions in the top tax rate or a permanent extension of all the Bush tax cuts.


Somewhere a liberal strategist is reading these numbers and patting himself on the back for counseling the benefits of supercommittee failure so Democrats can campaign as the defenders of Social Security and Medicare in 2012. That is cynical and shortsighted. The Democrats on the committee were disorganized and never publicly released a coordinated party plan, while activist groups like the AARP were running ads condemning even the prospect of compromise that affected their benefits. Likewise, President Obama deserves criticism for not backing the recommendations of his own Bowles-Simpson commission when he had the chance. And even a cursory glance at the members of Congress selected for this supercommittee gave reason to think they were always being set up for failure.

But Republican blame for the supercommittee failure is resonating because it calls into question their commitment to actually dealing with the deficit and the debt. After all, it was not a popular conservative cause when deficits first started to explode during the Bush era. Instead, it seems to be a rallying cry when Democrats are in the White House, giving the impression that conservatives are more comfortable running against deficits and debt rather than actually making the tough decisions to deal with them—especially if it involves any new revenue. When taxes always trump deficit reduction, fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility have been delinked.

The supercommittee is just the latest and most painful example of this dysfunctional, divided Congress. Its failure will only deepen negative narratives about how special interests have been allowed to crowd out the national interest in our politics with real costs. And swing voters are starting to assign blame in ways that should be both a warning and a wake-up call to congressional Republicans as they look to 2012.

I don’t think the warning will be received by them.

It’s increasingly clear that the biggest fear is being on the wrong side of the ideological media coverage which includes talk radio hosts, cable hosts, Fox News, and new media web pundits and weblogs. It’s like a big enforcement committee. Plus there is this: there is little evidence that on a Congressional or White House level there is anyone with the political chops, persuasive skills, or courage to seriously try and reverse this trend.

Both ideological sides and parties seem locked into delivering their political mantras to their choirs and what sounds like a tired old song to those who don’t belong to their choirs.

FOOTNOTE: Avlon has a GREAT new book out “Deadline Artists” that is the definitive collection of great newspaper columns — from many years embracing many categories. There is NO OTHER BOOK like this. I will review it soon on TMV and will give it 15 out of 10 stars. I like this book so much that I will travel with it and order a second to be in my home library I may also get a copy to keep on my new Kindle.. If you love newspaper columns this is a MUST READ and a MUST OWN and no other book like it exists:

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • Meh, the whole thing was a political game to start with. It’s interesting to me that the divide wasn’t over cuts, as much as how much to increase taxes: $300B for Republicans, $1200B for Democrats.

    And what about the $1.2 trillion cuts? Well, that’s over 10 years, so it’s really $120 billion per year, and that’s below the expected increases. So, even with the cuts, no budget, even the military budget, is facing any reductions from their existing budget.

    So apparently, the Democrats won the PR campaign on this one, but that’s all it ever was.

  • dduck

    Who did they blame for ignoring Simpson-Bowles?

  • davidpsummers

    Typical partisan approach. Brush over the fact that most see both parties to blame and focus on who is blamed “more”. After all, in our two party system, it doesn’t matter how bad you are, just as long as you can try and spin the other guy as “worse”.

    IMO, anyone with an ounce of sense would say the polls numbers show voters increasingly fed up with both parties. While the author meant that “I don’t think the warning will be received by them” to apply to the Republicans, its seem the warning here is being missed both both sides.

  • dduck

    I blame the Rep leadership for selecting people who were boxed in by pledges and party constraints. This was going to be a non starter and everyone knew it. It was just a stupid idea. They could have just picked up SB and ran with it. The Dems don’t want to do anything that will cost them votes in the way of spending and the Reps don’t want to do anything that will get Obama a vote.
    Meantime, we the people are tied to the economic tracks with the locomotive looking like a Greek economic disaster bearing down on us. Tune in next week for the next exciting chapter.

  • bluebelle

    I blame the Tea Party and Grover Norquist– but the Dems have some share of the blame for wanting to appease their base. Its pretty obvious that everything needs to be on the table. If the Reps insist on keeping the Bush tax cuts, tho, the result will be gridlock and the voters will get their revenge in November.

  • slamfu

    I’ve seen the Dems at least try to negotiate. But the GOP stubbornly refuses to do anything on taxes for all the wrong reasons and has succeeded on locking up the govt in its quest to get one of their guys into the Oval Office. I’m glad the polls reflect that America has caught on to their plans and seem to be rejecting it. Whether anyone is still paying attn by next November is anyone’s guess.

  • Rcoutme

    When a Republican on the committee tries to ‘spin’ the talk (on Meet the Press) as the Democrats being intransigent because they were refusing to consider any cuts without tax increases, well, that pretty much says it all. The Repubs went into the thing thinking only cuts. The Dems at least claim that they went in thinking Deficit Reduction (the supposed objective). That really, really, really said it all.

    The ‘evil Dems’ had the ‘gall’ to insist that cuts to programs designed to help the poorest people in the country must be accompanied by tax increases (you know, to pay for two wars and an ill-timed tax cut that sent the debt soaring). How horrible of those evil Demoncrats! How dare they ask those poor, downtrodden millionaires to contribute when they are already paying approx. 25% of their income in taxes (all told, including state and local)?

    I’m sick of it. I am really, really sick of it. I’m tired of people talking about how the amount going to entitlements is going to soar and therefore any cuts are ‘really’ cuts of increases. Hello! The Baby Boomers are retiring! Social Security Trust Fund put the tax rate high enough to cover the expenses. Congress spent it all (and issued non-redeemable bonds to the SSTF). Of course the payments for SS and Medicare are scheduled to rise. We have more people who have to be taken care of. These people paid their dues! They contributed to the INSURANCE! Don’t believe it’s insurance? Look it up!

    I receive Social Security Disability Insurance. Emphasis on last word. I also get a (small) sum from private insurance (disability again). The government promised that old people (and disabled ones) would be taken care of. They have to follow through with that promise.

    If the age at which beneficiaries qualify has to be moved back, okay, I get that. I will not punish a senator or representative for voting for that. If the payroll tax needs to go up a bit (if I were working the same would hold true) I will pay that.

    On the other hand, if you ask me and my family to live on third world country wages because, through no fault of my own, I got sick (most likely work-related, but unprovable), I am going to get upset. I made sure that I had disability insurance. I followed all the rules concerning putting money away for a rainy day and paying my taxes. Don’t ask me to live on the street or go without medications so that millionaires can have even more toys than they got under the Clinton years. I am not going to be convinced that they are being oppressed.

    Change the rates for corporate taxes, but eliminate all but the most forward-looking loopholes (e.g. Research Tax Credit). Alternatively, eliminate the corporate tax altogether and increase taxes on individuals. That ought to entice corporations to set up shop in the US. Meanwhile, we would still get the revenue NEEDED to run the country.

  • dduck

    Nice over dramatic comments, designed to pull tears and gasps of kill the baby starvers and elderly haters, make cute reading, but push fiscal responsibility thing under the rug.
    We’ve got to seriously start trimming our budget one way or the other, preferably both.

  • Rcoutme

    You don’t ‘trim’ something two ways. You trim by cutting. You gather by obtaining. If you mean we need to solve our deficit problem by both cuts and revenue increases, say so. Revenue increases (whether through new taxes or huge economic growth) are not trims to the budget.

  • erbfour

    I don’t see the dems being any more compromising than the repubs. The 1st priority is to cut spending…and we all know that it is possible to trim $100’s of billions. That of course means eliminating waste, fraud and luxury in the entitlement programs. If Dems acquiesce on those points, then the Rebubs need to agree to eliminate many corp loopholes, take the cap off of the FICA contribution and raise the SS & Medicare age requirements.
    Our society has forgotten the intention of SS and Medicare at their inception: to provide a safety net for those who can not provide for themselves and not a national retirement and insurance system. Millionaire income earners do not need those safety nets, so establish a wage ceiling for qualification.

  • dduck

    RC, there are ONLY two ways to balance a budget and I said both.

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