Obama’s positive standing with the public provides him with political leverage as Americans assess blame for any furloughs, disruption of government services or damage to the economy if the spending cuts aren’t averted. The repercussions also could help shape the battleground for the 2014 midterm congressional elections.So Chuck Hagel will be confirmed, the WH will ultimately win on the sequester (goes into effect, to be rescinded later) and the press will still fail to focus on what a disaster the GOP is.
Beyond the fiscal showdown, the poll shows traction for the president on immigration, with 47 percent approval of his handling of the issue compared with 38 percent disapproval. Fifty-three percent of Americans support a path to citizenship while 18 percent back a process toward legal status for illegal residents already in the country if certain conditions are met.
Feelings toward Obama are the most positive since December 2009, with 56 percent of Americans holding a favorable opinion of the president and 40 percent a negative one. The Democratic Party he leads is viewed favorably by 47 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent.
Public views of congressional Republicans’ record places an added burden on them in the standoff over automatic spending cuts. Americans by 43 percent to 34 percent say they are more to blame than Obama and Democrats for “what’s gone wrong” in Washington. Still, another 23 percent aren’t sure which side bears more responsibility.
And that maxim is why Republicans in Congress would do well to avoid a confrontation with President Obama over the sequester.Maggie Haberman:
Here’s why — in 3 very simple steps:
1. Regular people have no idea what the sequester is right now and, even once it kicks in, aren’t likely to pay all that close of attention to it unless they are directly affected by it.
2. Obama is popular with the American public
3. Congress is not.
After his electoral wipeout in November — and motivated by years of resentment that’s spilling over — Rove’s credibility within his own party is at an all-time low.More polling and politics below the fold.
Unlike many on the right, Gerson, Wehner and Ponnuru have correctly diagnosed the economic challenges that Republicans aren't addressing. (Gerson and Wehner identify "stagnant wages, the loss of blue-collar jobs, exploding health-care and college costs.") And they have even advanced some ideas that would improve matters.and
But the key word there is "some": All three writers leave unaddressed major Republican stumbling blocks with the middle class. Particularly, they are far from developing health-care and fiscal policies that can serve middle-class interests.
There are two big middle-class problems with health care. Costs have risen too fast, eating away at wages, and many people can't afford health insurance. Democrats have, in the form of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted policies that mostly fix the second problem and take some steps to deal with the first. Republicans have no plausible agenda on either, and neither of these pieces provides much useful guidance.
Why would a reformed, reality-based Republican Party be different from the Democrats and therefore useful? I can think of a few important reasons, which are the reasons that I remain, however reluctantly, a Republican.NY Times magazine has an extraordinary story of "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food":
According to the sources I spoke with, Sanger began by reminding the group that consumers were “fickle.” (Sanger declined to be interviewed.) Sometimes they worried about sugar, other times fat. General Mills, he said, acted responsibly to both the public and shareholders by offering products to satisfy dieters and other concerned shoppers, from low sugar to added whole grains. But most often, he said, people bought what they liked, and they liked what tasted good. “Don’t talk to me about nutrition,” he reportedly said, taking on the voice of the typical consumer. “Talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”
To react to the critics, Sanger said, would jeopardize the sanctity of the recipes that had made his products so successful. General Mills would not pull back. He would push his people onward, and he urged his peers to do the same. Sanger’s response effectively ended the meeting.
“What can I say?” James Behnke told me years later. “It didn’t work. These guys weren’t as receptive as we thought they would be.” Behnke chose his words deliberately. He wanted to be fair. “Sanger was trying to say, ‘Look, we’re not going to screw around with the company jewels here and change the formulations because a bunch of guys in white coats are worried about obesity.’ ”
The meeting was remarkable, first, for the insider admissions of guilt. But I was also struck by how prescient the organizers of the sit-down had been. Today, one in three adults is considered clinically obese, along with one in five kids, and 24 million Americans are afflicted by type 2 diabetes, often caused by poor diet, with another 79 million people having pre-diabetes. Even gout, a painful form of arthritis once known as “the rich man’s disease” for its associations with gluttony, now afflicts eight million Americans.