Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

Well, keeping the government open is nice...but I'm very much inclined to say that what mattered this week was the Great GOP Leap, with all but four Republican Members of the House voting to destroy what I guess we now call "traditional" Medicare. Not to mention the rest of it: severe cuts in Medicaid, the flip-flop on ACA Medicare costs, another nail in the coffin of the "replace" portion of repeal-and-replace, the phony math, which means either new taxes they're not telling us about or (much more likely) larger deficits, and unspecified huge, huge, spending cuts on popular programs. All of which, or at least most of which, isn't going to be enacted into law, at least not before the next election. I'm reluctant to say it "matters" in terms of the 2012 elections, although it certainly could, but it certainly matters as an indication of where the Republican Party stands these days.

I'll admit, however, that I've been so focused on budget stuff (and Passover, and other things) that I haven't been following the rest of the news as closely as usual. So: what else? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. I should have put this in the main item, but I forgot: Obama's approval ratings, at least per Gallup, are back at his all-time lows (41% the last two days). If that's real, and not a blip, I'd say it matters; a president in the high 40s with a mostly improving economy at this point is a pretty good bet for reelection, but the same president scraping 40 is a much tougher call. But it's very possible that it's just day-to-day variation in the polling, and thus completely meaningless.

  2. I was wondering why his approval was so low, especially with the economy/jobs seeming to rebound, but I think I realized the problem today when I paid almost four dollars a gallon for gas. Thoughts?

  3. Declaration that overthrowing Khadafy is the goal of the Libyan intervention; continuing Japan crisis.

  4. I would also put the House vote first in importance.

    Obama attacked the plan which should have surprised no one. Obama delivered his attack at an event where he had invited GOP congressman. What was the point of inviting GOP members to hear a speech trashing their agenda? It seems petty and out of character for him. It also guaranteed that any prospect of a budget deal is minimal.

  5. Bill:

    Declaration that overthrowing Khadafy is the goal of the Libyan intervention . . .

    The declaration is that the intervention won't be over as long as Khadafy is in power. That's not the same, although the distinction seems to be lost on many people.

  6. I think that's what's technically referred to as "a distinction without a difference."

  7. @Mercer - Obama seems to have a preference for confrontation in the literal meaning of the word: to come face-to-face with one's opponent. If memory serves, McCain was among the senators he invited to a public session about the stimulus bill (?). He accepted an invitation to the congressional Republicans' retreat and held a public Q & A with them. In the final stages of ACA negotiations, he hosted a public meeting with congressional leaders of both parties.

    On all those occasions he (calmly, politely) made clear, even highlighted, his differences with Republicans, explained his views, and expressed his willingness to work with Republicans who were willing to engage in constructive debate towards resolving the issue at hand. Last week's speech at GW was, to my mind, just another in a series of such events---all of which are settings that highlight many of Obama's strengths and many of his opponents' weaknesses (at least I think that's the view within the White House).

  8. Was Gallup's low rating polled after Obama's deficit speech? I'm mystified why he is handed a gift of positioning himself as the president standing between Medicare repeal to pay for millionaire tax cuts and his approval would drop. (Is the fact that the GOP was invited to the speech anything other than a ginned up flap? If their feeling insulted makes compromise harder, who is the one being petty? Plus, as is pointed out above, after two of the strongest months for job growth in years. Plus compromising to avert a shutdown that the Republicans were cheering for.

  9. @Bill

    Sorry, that's wrong. 'The party won't stop until the sun goes down', doesn't imply that the party will cause the sunset.

    The joint statement is consistent with continuing a purely population protection mission until Khadafy dies of old age.

  10. Back to approval -- Obama ticked back up to 44% approval in Sunday's Gallup number. We'll see what happens (it could be that the "real" level now is 41, and today was a fluke!), but it's very possible that his dip never happened.

  11. About his speech before donors that "accidentally" got leaked to the press.

    Am I the only one who suspects this might not have been so unintentional?

  12. @Kylopod

    Of course that's possible, just because dirty tricks are always part of politics. But is there any particular reason for suspicion in this case?

    The comments I've heard on this are rather vague. I'm still not clear on what Obama said that is supposed to be embarrassing or controversial.

    My impression is that it was more of a Q&A than a prepared speech.

  13. >I'm still not clear on what Obama said that is supposed to be embarrassing or controversial.

    That was exactly my thought. This was stuff I wanted Obama to be saying. This is a gaffe? That's why I'm led to suspect he said it with the full knowledge (or at least suspicion) that it would be leaked. It's striking that this is supposedly stuff he didn't want the press to hear him saying.

  14. Just on statistical grounds, one poll in 20 will fall outside the margin of error, technically the 95 percent confidence level. If the Gallup published number is a rolling average tracker, which I believe it is, you would expect it to stray one way or the other every few weeks.

    On Obama's leaked speech, I suspect that Kylopod nailed it. That speech was a secret intended to be leaked.

  15. I wish people would stop hedging when describing what the GOP has proposed. They aren't talking about reforming Medicare. They aren't talking about changing it. They aren't talking about ending it "as we know it." They aren't talking about destroying traditional Medicare.

    Just state it as clearly as possible.

    The GOP wants to end Medicare. That is what Ryan's plan does.

    It may also create some free market voucher system as a sop to those who were looking forward to Medicare. But it is not Medicare and Democrats should refuse to call it Medicare.

    If Ryan's plan passes, Medicare will be gone. Don't cushion the blow. Tell the truth.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?