Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Lessons in gravity: Republican ideology in free fall

The NBC/WSJ post-shutdown poll released yesterday set the blogosphere abuzz. It turns out that a reckless disregard for the well being of those who depend on the federal government, coupled with a casual connection with reality about how the financial markets work, does not instill confidence in your party or your party’s leaders. Who could have anticipated that?

Science challenged House Republicans forget about “gravity”

Oh, just about everyone … in the reality-based world!

It is ironic that a poll demonstrating cluelessness came on the heels of “prominent” “journalists” (here and here) declaring that President Obama is wrong to refuse to negotiate.

Here are a few of the poll numbers:

– Only 24% of Americans hold a positive opinion of Republicans

– Barack Obama’s approval rating has moved up slightly in the last month to 47%.

– Blame for the shutdown: GOP 53%, President Obama 31%

– Approval for the Affordable Care Act rises from 31% to 37%

– By a 52-percent-to-44 percent difference, people think the government should do more to solve problems

So what happens to the political party that shut down the government over repealing/defunding/delaying Obamacare and who has tried to nullify the results of the last two national elections?

The damage to the Republican brand from the shutdown is immediate and severe. Just 24% of Americans have a positive opinion of the Republican party in Thursday’s WSJ/NBC poll versus 53% who have a negative opinion, a 13 point swing since September. That’s even worse than the 28% favorable rating Gallup recorded on Wednesday, and like Gallup’s showing, it’s a new record for the pollster. Even fewer respondents-21%-have a positive view of the Tea Party, another new low.

Gravity also refers to “seriousness”, another thing that Republicans don’t do well. You can’t threaten to shut down the government when you are unhappy about the results of elections, especially when your choice of candidates include people like Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock whose contempt for women became an issue. Or people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, men with a puny vision for America: one where the richest nation on earth can’t afford to take care of its citizens. If you want to run the government, field candidates whose policies are supported by a majority of the American people and who respect women, minorities, and the dignity of labor. Field candidates who think that a great country provides a social safety net for those who are struggling to get by instead of calling them “moochers”.

On second thought, “proceed, GOP”. Continue ignoring the polls and the fact that most people like government services and care about people who are hungry and homeless and can’t afford medical care.

You will make our job in 2014 and 2016 much easier if you continue to ignore not only gravity but what the American people really want: a government that reflects their values.  


  1. That cliff is pretty darned tall. 🙂

    We still need to get out the vote in 2014 but a damaged Republican party will make it much easier to field good candidates in the swing districts that just swung open.

  2. Conservatives Clear The Way For Boehner’s Six-Week Debt Limit Hike

    Arch-conservative lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-OH) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) quickly backed the plan. Outside groups like Heritage Action and activist Erick Erickson of RedState said they wouldn’t go after Republicans who voted for it. These conservatives have been calling the shots for the GOP during these crises.

    That list of the defacto leaders of the Republican party tells you everything you need to know about the state of the GOP.

    And the new “deal” raises the debt ceiling for 6 weeks but keeps the government closed and insists that President Obama negotiate with House Republicans. He has refused to negotiate while the government remains closed.

    As David Kurtz from TPM said:

    … the House GOP is keeping both hostages — government shutdown and debt limit — but has agreed not to shoot the debt limit in the head for another six weeks.

  3. Diana in NoVa

    The shutdown is ridiculous.  My poor daughter-in-law, home with nothing to do, is sleeping and eating a lot.

    Yesterday I was listening to the car radio as I was driving to volunteer at campaign headquarters. Larry Sabato, a media-designated “expert” on politics, was saying that the American public is “disproportionately” blaming Republicans for the shutdown.

    Disproportionately?  Who else is to blame?  It’s not the President and the Dems that are holding the government hostage!

    These soi-disant “experts” make me sick.

  4. THIS is a Big Huge Deal:

    And by a 52-percent-to-44 percent difference, respondents believe the government should do more to solve problems. Back in June, the public was split, 48 percent to 48 percent, on whether the government should do more or less.

    “That is an ideological boomerang,” says McInturff, the GOP pollster. “As the debate has been going on, if there is a break, there is a break against the Republican position.”

    The tea party counts on the anti-government Reaganite mentality to overcome the reality of all that the government does to help ordinary people: from FEMA to food stamps, college loans to heating assistance. It turns out that we are not a country of mean people and we are seeing that the Party of Mean is resonating with fewer and fewer Americans.

  5. Mike Lee’s Bad Week

    Senator Mike Lee is sort of the Paul Ryan of the Constitution. Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, is a charlatan who has managed to con people to this moment into believing he’s some kind of budget and numbers guru, to the roaring hilarity of actual economists everywhere …

    Lee serves the same function as an alleged “constitutional scholar,” although the available evidence seems to indicate that his understanding of the document in question stalled out at a point half-past the Missouri Compromise.

    The story is that Mike Lee’s popularity has plummeted especially among Republicans, dropping from 71 percent to 57 percent. Pierce calls it a “shroud”. I call it a chance to retire another tea party senator from the 2010 freshman class. We can’t expect a liberal Democrat to be elected in Utah but guys like Mike Lee should not have one of the 100 votes in the U.S. Senate.

  6. “Value Voters” is certainly a misnomer. We know for a fact that they don’t value voting … and the values they espouse resonate with about 20% of the population.

    Republican Establishment (whatever the heck that is) weighs in: Establishment GOPers Assail Tea Party On Shutdown

    From county chairmen to national party luminaries, veteran Republicans across the country are accusing tea party lawmakers of staining the GOP with their refusal to bend in the budget impasse in Washington.

    The Republican establishment also is signaling a willingness to strike back at the tea party in next fall’s elections.

    Good luck with that. You can’t unring that bell. The tea party is the Republican party, as least for the short term, and their ideology is going to be like a boat anchor around your neck.

    Fareed Zakaria, in WaPo points out that the tea party hates the Republicans too!

    The tea party is a grass-roots movement of people deeply dissatisfied with the United States’ social, cultural and economic evolution over several decades. It’s crucial to understand that they blame both parties for this degeneration. In a recent Gallup survey, an astounding 43 percent of tea party activists had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party; only 55 percent had a favorable view. They see themselves as insurgents within the GOP, not loyal members.

    So the Republicans welcomed with open arms the money and grassroots enthusiasm of the tea party and found out that they can’t control them. Well, who could have predicted that a bunch of people wearing tea bags on their heads and waving “Don’t Tread on me” and “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” flags would ever get out of control? Duh.

  7. princesspat

    The Last Days of The GOP: We could be witnessing the death throes of the Republican Party

    I once wrote about lobbying, and this week I called some Republicans I used to talk to (and some that they recommended I talk to) about the effect the shutdown is having on the Republican Party in Washington. The response I got was fear of Republican decline and loathing of the Tea Party: One lobbyist and former Hill staffer lamented the “fall of the national party,” another the rise of “suburban revolutionaries,” and another of “people alienated from business, from everything.” There is a growing fear among Washington Republicans that the party, which has lost two national elections in a row, is headed for history’s dustbin. And I believe that they are right to worry.


    What Washington business lobbyists say on-the-record about the House Republicans and about Tea Party activists pales before what they are willing to say if their names aren’t used. One former Republican staffer says of the anti-establishment groups, “They want to go in and fuck shit up. These non-corporate non-establishmentarian guys-that is exactly what they are doing. And the problem with that is obvious. What next? What happens after you fuck shit up?” Other lobbyists I talked to cited John Calhoun, Dixiecrats and Richard Hofstadter’s essay on “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” to explain the rise of the populist right. It’s the kind of reference you’d expect to read in a New Republic article, but not necessarily in a conversation with a business lobbyist.


    What is happening to the Republican Party today is reminiscent to what happened to the Democrats in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. At that time, the Democrats in Washington were faced by a grassroots revolt from the new left over the war in Vietnam and from the white South over the party’s support for civil rights. It took the Democrats over two decades to do undo the damage-to create a party coalition that united the leadership in Washington with the base and that was capable of winning national elections. The Republicans could be facing a similar split between their base and their Washington leadership, and it could cripple them not just in the 2014 and 2016 elections, but for decades to come.

    This is a long but interesting history and analysis. I hope I haven’t copied to much.

  8. creamer

    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, called the meeting “another predictable lecture” from Obama.

    The gall of an upstart, black, freshman Senator. Am I reading too much into it? Older white dude from Texas, I think not.

  9. The Unskewers Return! Cruz, Others Dispute GOP’s Lousy Poll Numbers

    According to NBC’s Mike O’Brien, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who engaged in his own bit of unskewing earlier this week, noted that the poll was “heavily weighted with an awful lot of Democrats”.

    In a column published Friday, [National Review columnist Jim] Geraghty highlighted that 14 percent of the poll’s sample is not registered to vote.

    Go with that, Ted and Friends. And on election night 2014, your smirk will turn to a grimace just like it did for Mitt Romney on election night 2012 when he unskewed the polls and found himself winning in a landslide. #RealitySucks

  10. The Six Big Takeaways From the Government Shutdown

    In 2014, likewise, it will require not just a pretty good year for Democrats, but a wave election for them to regain the House. But wave elections in favor of the party that controls the White House are essentially unprecedented in midterm years. Instead, the president’s party has almost always lost seats in the House – or at best gained a handful.

    One might be able to construct an argument for why the precedent could be violated. The pattern of the president’s party losing seats in the midterms has been very strong in the past – but political scientists aren’t quite sure why this is the case. One theory is that voters may elect members of Congress from the opposite party as a check on the president’s power. But if Congress instead is seen as the more powerful entity, voters might desire to curb its power instead.

    Essentially, Democrats will have to persuade swing voters that having Republicans in charge of one chamber in one branch of government is more dangerous than yielding unilateral control of the government to the Democrats – at a time when President Obama is fairly unpopular, and when the signature initiative of the last Democratic Congress has been rolled out badly. Moreover, the voters that Democrats have to persuade about this are somewhat right of center, since the median congressional district is somewhat Republican-leaning and since the voters who reliably turn out at midterm elections are older, whiter, and otherwise more conservative than those who vote in general elections. It’s not an impossible task for Democrats, but the terrain is all uphill.

    That bolded part is important. If Congress continues on the path they are on, there is a good chance that people will see that it is a dangerous way to run (or not run) a government.

    Nate Silver is a pretty smart guy and we should heed his warnings. It is easy to be giddy over our political opponents appearing weak in polls. The hard work will be translating that into grassroots energy to get a lot of voters out to gain control of the House.


    Saturday, October 12, 2013 11:41 AM EDT

    Debt Talks Break Down Between House and Obama; Focus Now on Senate

    Budget negotiations broke down on Saturday – just days before the nation reaches its borrowing limit – as angry Republicans said that President Obama had rejected their latest offer.

    “It’s now up to the Senate Republicans to stand up,” said Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, after House Republicans left a closed-door meeting in the Capitol.

    With House Republicans insisting that they have all but run out of options, attention now turns to the Senate, where Republicans have spent the past several days trying to gin up Democratic support for a proposal that they hope could reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling through the end of January.

    “The question is: What will Senate Republicans do, what will Senate Democrats do?” said Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois.


    I am not sure what deal this is. The last House deal I saw did not address the Continuing Resolution and kept the government closed while extending the debt ceiling for 6 weeks but, and this is important, no longer allowed the Treasury Department to use extraordinary means to extend our country’s credit. Treasury has been using those means (shifting monies and other strategies) since May when we hit the statutory limit. To agree to that for a short-term non-fix would be foolish.

    Note: There does not appear to be a Presidential Weekly Address today. Last week’s probably covers it for the near term Your Weekly Address: End This Government Shutdown. If one is posted later, I will diary it.

  12. DTOzone

    The willingness of the Democratic sources to comment — though without direct attribution — is a sign of the growing tensions between Senate Democrats and the White House as the showdown enters its final stage.

    No it’s not Huffington Post, it’s a sign you were looking to do an “Is Obama caving?” story so you called a source who hates him and would give you the quote you’re looking for.

    I’ve been a journalist for 10 years, don’t act like I just fell off the turnip truck.  

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