Why the Republicans have nothing to run on

Monday, April 27, 2009

An interesting new poll here evaluating the first 100 days of Obama's presidency is interesting not only in the views the public has of the Obama administration, but conversely on how little it gives the Republicans to use to run on.

Here's why:

First of all, Obama is just one percentage point away from 70% approval, so that alone is a bad sign: outright opposing a popular president just doesn't reap any rewards. But also take a look at some other finer points of the poll, specific policies and acts that aren't quite as popular as his overall administration:

Barely more than half of all poll respondents back Obama's April 16 decision to release the memos specifying how and when to employ specific interrogation techniques. A third "strongly oppose" that decision, about as many as are solidly behind it. Three-quarters of Democrats said they approve of the action, while 74 percent of Republicans are opposed; independents split 50 to 46 percent in favor of the decision.
This one has only slightly more than half approval...but this releasing the memos isn't so much a policy as an either/or decision. After the memos were released came a lot of media attention to the tune of "where do we go from here?" which really brought home the complexity of the situation, but before it was done it would have been a more black and white question: "of course he should release the memos!" So if he hadn't done so it probably would have been somewhere down around 40% or so for support. There's nothing for the GOP to run on here.

Next, his rating on terrorism is pretty positive so nothing to run on there either:
Most of those polled said that, in general, his policies had either made the country safer from terrorism (32 percent) or not made much of a difference either way (43 percent).
Let's take a look at another negative:
But Obama receives less glowing reviews on his handling of the burgeoning federal budget deficit and on immigration issues, where he is at the 50 percent mark, and he gets a negative rating on how he has dealt with the big U.S. automakers.
Budget deficit! That's usually a GOP strong point. Well, it would be if a Republican president hadn't been in charge of deficit after deficit for the past eight years. Without that this could have been something to run on, but memories don't fade that quickly. And U.S. automakers...that's a tough one considering that they have basically dug their own graves. I don't think there is a way to get a positive rating when it comes to that industry at the moment.

Finally, there's this:
There is a warning sign for the GOP in the new poll: 21 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, the fewest to do so in a Post-ABC poll in more than 25 years. Last fall, Democrats outnumbered Republicans at the polls by the biggest margin in network exit polls going back to the 1982 midterms.

Advice for the GOP:

1) Do this.
2) Embrace Ron Paul. Face it, he's the only Republican with a viable and consistent message, and the only one with real grassroots supporters. But he's too old to run for president? No problem, convince his son Rand Paul to run for congress in 2010, make him into some sort of lieutenant in the movement. Rand Paul speaks the same political language as his father (he's also a doctor too) and should probably start thinking about running for congress very soon. And besides, we're talking about a change and renewal of the party, not a candidate in 2012. The candidate in 2012 is going to lose to Obama anyway so that's not even an issue. I'm thinking this might be a good poster for the 2012 election against (insert name here):

And by the way, there was a nice bit of interaction between Ron Paul and Sec of State Hillary Clinton some three days ago that you can see here:

That's something that others in the GOP have yet to learn: giving credit where credit is due. Ron Paul believes in a non-belligerent foreign policy, so when he sees signs of it he gives credit where it's due while at the same time still airing his concerns. That's called intellectual honesty. Hannity doesn't have it, Beck doesn't have it, most of the others don't have it. You need to throw them all away (that means ignore them) if you ever want to step foot inside the White House again.


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