MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Is the GOP brand in trouble?
If the Republicans are moving away from a confrontation with President Obama on the debt ceiling, a just-released NBC/Wall Street journal poll may hold the answer as to why: 49 percent of Americans view the GOP negatively, while only 26 percent view the party positively.
In contrast, the Democratic Party, in the survey conducted January 12-15, had a 44% favorability rating.
Looking toward the 2014 mid-term election, the Republicans (at this moment â€“ and polling can shift like the wind) face the possibility of a wave election that breaks like a tsunami washing over their gerrymandered Tea Party House majority. According to Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
While Republicans still hold the House majority, they lost seats in the 2012 election and acknowledge that they held onto the majority only because of gerrymandering. Majorities of Republican voters reject key proponents of the GOP agenda, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare. In fact, 63 percent of GOP voters say the congressional GOP is out of touch. (Thatâ€™s a Rasmussen number, by the way.)
Bookman points out that it appears that the Republican legislators on Capitol Hill may now be backpedaling on creating a crisis over the debt ceiling, in part because it might lower them even further in the polls â€“ and put Obama and the Dems in a better position in 2014:
According to a new AP poll, 80 percent of Americans say that refusing to raise the debt ceiling, as House and Senate Republicans have promised to do, would touch off a major economic crisis.
Under those circumstances, threatening to force that major economic crisis unless the president implements politically unpopular policies would be the act of a fool. And fools there no doubt be.
However, a handful of Republican senators have now publicly acknowledged that the party would lose and lose badly by threatening to shut down the government. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, warned his fellow GOP congressmen at a retreat yesterday that their strategy has to match their capability.
Now that the economy has been showing signs of recovery, perhaps most Americans are recognizing the GOP obstructionism on injecting stimulus into the economy for what it is: sabotage to the future economic vitality of the nation.
Obama is not going to be running again for president, so endlessly using him as a dart board for a debt that was largely run up under President Bush with full support of the Republicans in Congress is quickly proving to be politically counterproductive.
It may be that the Tea Party, and its plutocratic funders, is about to get dunked into a kettle of boiling reality.