Tag Archives | National Journal

Bloggers foresee big political benefits in health bill. Split Ax vs. Rahm

This week’s National Journal poll of political bloggers asked left-leaning political bloggers “If Congress enacts something close to President Obama’s latest health care reform plan, how would that affect the Democratic Party in the midterm elections?” The right-leaning bloggers were asked the same question about the effect on Republicans. On the Left, 40% said that enactment would help Democrats a lot, and 27% said it would help a little. On the Right, 77% said it would help Republicans a lot, and 18% thought it would help a little. I thought it would help Republicans a lot, and wrote, “This is yet another example in which the best thing that Democrats can do to harm the Republicans in the next election is also the best thing that they can do for the country: namely, defeat Obamacare.”

The second question asked: “Would the Obama administration be better off if these individuals [David Axelrod and Rahm Emmanuel]  had more influence, or less influence?” On the Left, 64% favored more influence for Axelrod, and 100% wanted less influence for Emmanuel. On the Right, 93% wanted less influence for Axelrod, and 50% wanted more influence for Emmanuel. I wrote: “Rahm is politically brilliant, and has a sense of the possible. Imagine how much stronger Obama might be right now if he had followed Rahm’s advice to pass a variety of discrete fixes for health care rather than investing his entire presidency in a huge omnibus bill.” In contrast, “Axelrod’s recent interview in the N.Y. Times indicates that he is among the Obama devotees who have wrongly convinced themselves that the only problem with Obamacare is messaging, rather than substance. [...]

Continue Reading 70

Blogger poll: Stupak amendment hurts Dems. Dems need to motivate base; Repubs need outreach to independents

This week’s National Journal poll of political bloggers asked “Would Democrats be helped or hurt politically if Congress enacts health care reform legislation containing abortion restrictions similar to those passed by the House?” On the Left, 79% said “hurt,” while the Right was fairly closely split between “helped,” “hurt,” and “not much impact.” I voted for “hurt,” but thought it was a close call: “In pro-life districts, it’s a tremendous boon to Dems who voted for the Stupak amendment, proving to voters that the local Dems are not controlled by the party’s bicoastal pro-choice leaders. In pro-choice districts, however, Stupak’s effects on abortion coverage in private insurance may make a lot of people very unhappy. On the whole, a net loss for Dems because Stupak is a huge win for the pro-life side, which is a bad long-term sign for a party which, at the national level, is officially pro-choice.”

Question two was “In light of the off-year election results, what’s the bigger political priority for the Democratic/Republican Party right now?” Eighty-six percent of the Left said that motivating the base should be the biggest Democratic priority. Sixty-seven percent of the Right said that the biggest Republican priority should be winning independents. I volunteered the Republicans need to do both: “As C.S. Lewis once remarked about the faith vs. works debate: ‘It does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary.’ Winning parties motivate their base and win independents — as McDonnell and Christie both did.” [...]

Continue Reading 22

Left/Right bloggers agree: Economy will be top issue in 2010. Disagree on WH war on Fox

This week’s National Journal poll of political bloggers asked “What will be the top two issues in the midterm elections?” Enormous majorities on both the Left and the Right picked “Economy/jobs” as the expected top issue. On the Left, “health care reform” came in second, far ahead of the third-place “deficit/big government.” The issues of Afghanistan and Cap & Trade were very far behind. The picks on the Right were similar, expect that “deficit/government” was the choice for 2d place, with health care in third.

I wrote: “All these will be big, but the ballooning deficit and the unemployment rate will probably be of interest to the largest number of voters. Afghanistan/cap-and-trade/health care will probably motivate lots of base activists from both sides.”

The second question was “On balance, does the White House’s decision to take on Fox News help or hurt President Obama?” Eighty-seven percent of the Left, but only 18% of the Right thought it helped. I was among them: “It turns out that all those folks with ‘dissent is patriotic’ bumper stickers who worried about the president trying to shut down criticism were just a little ahead of their time. Obama’s stature is diminished in the short run, but Fox’s reporting is so harmful to the WH (Van Jones, Anita Dunn, etc.) that they may have figured some short-term cost is worth it if they can convince the more pliant folks in the MSM not to follow up those stories.” [...]

Continue Reading 56