Commentary Magazine


Topic: Peter Hart

Obama vs. Political Reality

The Cook Political Report sends an e-mail, explaining:

If there was any doubt before the Democrats’ loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts last week, it’s gone now. This is a nationalized election. Look no further than the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted January 10-14 among 1,002 registered voters by veteran pollsters Democrat Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. On the generic Congressional ballot test, which measures the potential popular vote for the House, the two parties run even, 41-41. This should be troubling for Democrats because this poll question historically skews about three points in favor of Democrats. But more significantly was that among those voters with the most intense interest in this election (those who rated their interest as either a 9 or a 10), Republicans held a 15-point lead, 50-35 percent. This is the second consecutive month of huge GOP advantages among those voters most interested in the election. If this level remains constant, you can count on the Democratic majority in the House being toast this fall.

On the Senate side, Charlie Cooks joins other analysts in predicting major losses for the Democrats. (“I suspect a Republican gain of between five and seven seats, predicated on the Democrats’ being unlikely to capture any more than one, at most, of the currently toss-up Republican Senate seats. . . and not being able to hold onto more than one, at most, of the five Democratic toss-up seats [Sen. Lincoln in Arkansas, Sen. Bennet in Colorado, Sen. Burris in Illinois, Sen. Reid in Nevada and Sen. Specter in Pennsylvania]). He calls the Democratic seats in Delaware and North Dakota “goners.”

Cook doesn’t seem to have Obama’s confidence that the president’s presence on the political stage makes all the difference in the world. Or maybe it does. Maybe it is the national environment, which has emerged in response to Obama’s far-Left agenda, that’s dragging the Democrats under. Their choice: put forth a different agenda or every lawmaker for himself, distancing himself from the Obama agenda. In either case, the political reality seems to bear little resemblance to the country as envisioned from the Oval Office. That, more than anything else, must concern the Democrats, who must battle not only Republicans but their own tone-deaf president.

The Cook Political Report sends an e-mail, explaining:

If there was any doubt before the Democrats’ loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts last week, it’s gone now. This is a nationalized election. Look no further than the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted January 10-14 among 1,002 registered voters by veteran pollsters Democrat Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. On the generic Congressional ballot test, which measures the potential popular vote for the House, the two parties run even, 41-41. This should be troubling for Democrats because this poll question historically skews about three points in favor of Democrats. But more significantly was that among those voters with the most intense interest in this election (those who rated their interest as either a 9 or a 10), Republicans held a 15-point lead, 50-35 percent. This is the second consecutive month of huge GOP advantages among those voters most interested in the election. If this level remains constant, you can count on the Democratic majority in the House being toast this fall.

On the Senate side, Charlie Cooks joins other analysts in predicting major losses for the Democrats. (“I suspect a Republican gain of between five and seven seats, predicated on the Democrats’ being unlikely to capture any more than one, at most, of the currently toss-up Republican Senate seats. . . and not being able to hold onto more than one, at most, of the five Democratic toss-up seats [Sen. Lincoln in Arkansas, Sen. Bennet in Colorado, Sen. Burris in Illinois, Sen. Reid in Nevada and Sen. Specter in Pennsylvania]). He calls the Democratic seats in Delaware and North Dakota “goners.”

Cook doesn’t seem to have Obama’s confidence that the president’s presence on the political stage makes all the difference in the world. Or maybe it does. Maybe it is the national environment, which has emerged in response to Obama’s far-Left agenda, that’s dragging the Democrats under. Their choice: put forth a different agenda or every lawmaker for himself, distancing himself from the Obama agenda. In either case, the political reality seems to bear little resemblance to the country as envisioned from the Oval Office. That, more than anything else, must concern the Democrats, who must battle not only Republicans but their own tone-deaf president.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

ObamaCare is really unpopular in Nebraska, and Sen. Ben Nelson is getting lots of calls to vote “no.” In his home state, 67 percent oppose and 26 percent favor, and 61 percent say they’d be less likely to vote for Nelson if he supported it. Will Nelson vote for it anyway?

Yuval Levin makes the case that “when it comes to the health-care bill the Senate is working on, [which] is really quite appalling now, and should be so not only to conservatives. In essence, what’s left of the bill compels universal participation in a system that everyone agrees is a failure without reforming that system, and even exacerbates its foremost problem — the problem of exploding costs.”

Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos (h/t Political Wire) now objects to forcing all Americans to buy insurance plans they may not like from those greedy, monopolistic insurance companies. The solution: “So here’s the deal — a progressive should step up with an amendment to strip out the mandate. He should get a non-Wall Street Republican to join him, be it Tom Coburn or Jim DeMint, one or more of those guys. And then force a roll call vote on the issue.” Game on!

S.E. Cupp on her pick for person of the year: “Attorney General Eric Holder. … In five or ten years, when we are all facing the disastrous consequences of his systematic dismantling of our national security, he will be a person who changed the course of world events. President Obama will be culpable as well, of course, for overseeing a horrific chapter in our national history, but it will be Holder who is responsible for compromising our intelligence and interrogation program at the CIA and trying terrorists as common criminals while the world watched and our enemies laughed.”

Another poll, another thumbs down on ObamaCare. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey: 32 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove. By a 44 to 41 percent margin, voters say they prefer the status quo. Obama’s own performance rating has suffered an 8-point decline since September and now is at 47 approval/46 disapproval. And the kicker: 57 percent say the Iraq war was somewhat or very successful.

The poll analysis: ” ‘For Democrats, the red flags are flying at full mast,’ said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. ‘What we don’t know for certain is: Have we reached a bottoming-out point?’ The biggest worry for Democrats is that the findings could set the stage for gains by Republican candidates in next year’s elections.” And Obama seems to have lost his charm: “Fifty percent now feel positively about him, six points lower than in October and an 18-point drop since his early weeks in office.”

Wait until they find out about the tax hits: “Those tax hits include a mandate of up to $750 a year for Americans who fail to purchase health insurance; new levies on small businesses (many of which file individual tax returns) that don’t offer health care to employees; new tax penalties on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts; and higher taxes on medical spending, including restrictions on medical itemized deductions, as well as taxes on cosmetic surgery. A Senate Finance Committee minority staff report finds that by 2019 more than 42 million individuals and families—or 25% of all tax returns under $200,000—will on average see their taxes go up because of the Senate bill. And that’s after government subsidies.”

And when they start breaking the Senate rules, you know it’s desperation time.

Jamie Fly is among those who suspect that the administration is not all that enamored of Iran sanctions. “[The] administration’s efforts to gut the legislation and its sensitivity about the supposedly robust international coalition they like to tout as a product of their willingness to talk to Tehran raises questions about how serious they and their ‘partners’ are about stopping Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.”

ObamaCare is really unpopular in Nebraska, and Sen. Ben Nelson is getting lots of calls to vote “no.” In his home state, 67 percent oppose and 26 percent favor, and 61 percent say they’d be less likely to vote for Nelson if he supported it. Will Nelson vote for it anyway?

Yuval Levin makes the case that “when it comes to the health-care bill the Senate is working on, [which] is really quite appalling now, and should be so not only to conservatives. In essence, what’s left of the bill compels universal participation in a system that everyone agrees is a failure without reforming that system, and even exacerbates its foremost problem — the problem of exploding costs.”

Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos (h/t Political Wire) now objects to forcing all Americans to buy insurance plans they may not like from those greedy, monopolistic insurance companies. The solution: “So here’s the deal — a progressive should step up with an amendment to strip out the mandate. He should get a non-Wall Street Republican to join him, be it Tom Coburn or Jim DeMint, one or more of those guys. And then force a roll call vote on the issue.” Game on!

S.E. Cupp on her pick for person of the year: “Attorney General Eric Holder. … In five or ten years, when we are all facing the disastrous consequences of his systematic dismantling of our national security, he will be a person who changed the course of world events. President Obama will be culpable as well, of course, for overseeing a horrific chapter in our national history, but it will be Holder who is responsible for compromising our intelligence and interrogation program at the CIA and trying terrorists as common criminals while the world watched and our enemies laughed.”

Another poll, another thumbs down on ObamaCare. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey: 32 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove. By a 44 to 41 percent margin, voters say they prefer the status quo. Obama’s own performance rating has suffered an 8-point decline since September and now is at 47 approval/46 disapproval. And the kicker: 57 percent say the Iraq war was somewhat or very successful.

The poll analysis: ” ‘For Democrats, the red flags are flying at full mast,’ said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. ‘What we don’t know for certain is: Have we reached a bottoming-out point?’ The biggest worry for Democrats is that the findings could set the stage for gains by Republican candidates in next year’s elections.” And Obama seems to have lost his charm: “Fifty percent now feel positively about him, six points lower than in October and an 18-point drop since his early weeks in office.”

Wait until they find out about the tax hits: “Those tax hits include a mandate of up to $750 a year for Americans who fail to purchase health insurance; new levies on small businesses (many of which file individual tax returns) that don’t offer health care to employees; new tax penalties on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts; and higher taxes on medical spending, including restrictions on medical itemized deductions, as well as taxes on cosmetic surgery. A Senate Finance Committee minority staff report finds that by 2019 more than 42 million individuals and families—or 25% of all tax returns under $200,000—will on average see their taxes go up because of the Senate bill. And that’s after government subsidies.”

And when they start breaking the Senate rules, you know it’s desperation time.

Jamie Fly is among those who suspect that the administration is not all that enamored of Iran sanctions. “[The] administration’s efforts to gut the legislation and its sensitivity about the supposedly robust international coalition they like to tout as a product of their willingness to talk to Tehran raises questions about how serious they and their ‘partners’ are about stopping Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.”

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