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Goposaur upside down
Behold the genius that is today's Republican Party:
For the past several years, congressional Republicans have focused relentlessly on a single message: Washington — led by President Obama — is spending too much money, and it needs to stop.

But according to new Washington Post-ABC News polling, that laser-like focus isn’t helping Republicans win the argument over federal spending — with 67 percent of those tested disapproving of the “way Republicans in Congress are handling federal spending.”

President Barack Obama isn't doing all that much better, with 52 percent disapproving of his handling of federal spending, but it's not like he's based his entire brand on spending policy. The GOP, on the other hand, has spent nearly every minute of the last four years talking about nothing but federal spending policy. For them, these numbers are a complete disaster.

Republicans fare worse than Obama among independents, with 64 percent of indies disapproving of how Republicans are handling spending compared with 53 percent disapproving of how President Obama is handling it. But the real problem for Republicans is that their own base hates them. Fifty-one percent of GOP voters disapprove of their own party's handling of spending while just 44 percent approve. While Republicans are stuck with a negative net approval rating with their own base, President Obama has a 52-point positive approval rating on spending among Democrats.

Remember, this is not a debate Democrats need to win. This isn't even the debate that Democrats should want to have. They should be thrilled to be close to the 50 percent mark in approval. For this debate, they'd be happy to simply be in the same general neighborhood as Republicans. Well, let me correct that. They'd be happy to be in the same general neighborhood as Republicans if Republicans weren't getting absolutely destroyed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That GOP number is tricky... (11+ / 0-)

    because a portion of it could disapprove GOP handling of spending because they think they still spend too much/give in to Obama/Dems too much.  

    Similar for Obama numbers, some Dems could disapprove from the left - that he's buying into the debt/deficit frame the GOP has pushed in the first place when we should be spending not cutting.

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:50:58 AM PST

  •  I think until we are much (4+ / 0-)

    farther away from their numbers than the paltry 15 points currently, we won't get any real movement on these kinds of issues. We have to be seen as a real alternative, not simply the "not Republican" choice.

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:57:12 AM PST

  •  I'll believe it when I start seeing Repubs lose (7+ / 0-)

    elections.

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:57:39 AM PST

    •  like in California (7+ / 0-)

      and Minnesota and the White House?

      •  Two states is a paltry number, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask

        especially since we lost as many, if not more, even in 2012. (NC, IN +?)

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:18:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Err, the GOP lost the House (0+ / 0-)

          by 1.5 million votes. They only hold power due to gerrymandering.

          People do hate the GOP. People are voting against them. And in states where gerrymandering is not an issue, guess what, they lose like crazy.

          The only real exception is unpopulated mountain states and the deep south.

          But even Mississippi isn't as red as it used to be.

          •  Who cares *why* they hold the House? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MPociask, helfenburg

            Until gerrymandering changes, those are the cards we have to play, and last I heard, Boehner is called "Speaker of the House." Obama lost ground in his re-election as well--do you care as much about that? Of course not, because he still won. People hate the GOP, but only by a small percentage more than they hate the Dems. That is not good enough. We're closer in deep red states, but we're falling behind in what used to be purple or blue states (NC, WV, AR) in equal measure.
            It depends what metrics you use, too. If you are looking at social issues, sure, we're doing better all over. Economic issues? Not so much.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:38:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I care (0+ / 0-)

              you can choose not to care if you like. Lots of people here do.

              •  And working to change it is (0+ / 0-)

                paramount. But it doesn't help spending effort caring or arguing about something we can't yet change. I believe that we have to assess and interact with the here and now accurately if we want to affect the future. Otherwise we risk sounding like the ineffectual "head in the clouds" idealists we are painted as being. (Note that this is not the same thing as calling for compromises because it's all we can do, because I don't believe that they are all we can do. But as long as elections are this close, we have far more work to do than we have done yet to persuade others that Dems have good answers and are worth electing.)

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:47:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  And they got the gerrymandering how? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            helfenburg

            By kicking our ass in the 2010 elections. The damage they have done since, and continue to do is appalling. It will take years to rebuild what we have lost in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin. And a few cycles to overcome the gerrymandering and retake the House.

            What was more important: Obama winning Michigan and Wisconsin or not winning the legislature in Michigan and Ohio? I am damn glad Obama won Michigan, but right-to-work there makes me vomit. Repeatedly.

            Until we regain the legislatures and governorships, and get the US House back, we are screwed.

            Peace on Earth was all it said.

            by BobBlueMass on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 12:54:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Like across the nation. If they are so hated by (0+ / 0-)

        such large majorities, how do they win anywhere...especially on a 53/47 percent split?  

      •  No, like in a majority in the House. Like Pelosi (0+ / 0-)

        as speaker instead of Boehner.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 10:33:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  They'd better lose the House in the next (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, blue aardvark, askew, Larsstephens

    general election.  n/t

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:00:51 AM PST

    •  Highly unlikely, sadly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bryce in Seattle

      Off-year Dems? Ick.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:19:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gerrymandering is an #itch!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Possiamo, MPociask, Little Lulu

      And...folks just don't see voting as useful.  I came from a small town of over 32K in Illinois (blue state).  But the state had to take over the school district, we don't even have a grocery store, businesses are fleeing like crazy, we've been on CNN for corruption & police brutality.  Everyone hates the mayor and sees him as corrupt yet only 1000 people showed up to vote last night in the primary.  Dems always run unopposed in the General.  This mayor will retain his seat with only 417 people having voted for him out of more than 32K citizens. THAT is a damn shame & disgrace.  Somehow we've got to motivate people that voting (especially local voting) has a direct impact on their lives.  

    •  too gerrymandered to happen (0+ / 0-)
  •  It's a bipartisan problem, Dems are in on it (9+ / 0-)

    All it takes is a look at groups like "Fix the Debt", a group funded by Pete Peterson, pushing federal budget austerity as well as cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

    The roster at Fix the Debt is full of Democrats:

    Erskine Bowles
    Ed Rendell
    Rep. Vic Fazio
    Former Sen. Sam Nunn
    Steve Rattner
    Alice Rivlin
    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
    Former Sen. Tim Wirth

    You can learn more about Peterson and the deficit-hawk Dems he owns in this article

    Pete Peterson’s “Fix the Debt” Astroturf Supergroup Detailed in New Online Resource at PetersonPyramid.org

    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

    by Betty Pinson on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:01:29 AM PST

    •  I don't see a lot of people influential (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Possiamo, askew

      in the White House or Congress on that list.

      I do see a lot of people influential in the Village and on Sunday morning, though.

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:20:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama appointed Erskine Bowles (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, justmy2

        to head up his Cat Food Commission, along with Alan Simpson.

        Unfortunately, Obama embraced the recommendations of the CFC and continues to listen to Bowles recommendations.

        Ed Rendell is another friend of the WH, a media maven who spends a lot of time on political talk shows, especially on MSNBC, promoting the Obama/Biden ticket as well as other Dem candidates the WH was backing.

        Mayor Bloomberg, co-chairman of Fix the Debt,  just helped the campaign of Robin Kelly by spending $2 million on ads to help her win the Dem primary for Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s seat.   `It appears this particular deficit hawk is helping Dems by using the issue of gun control to advance the agenda to cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid.

        It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:37:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've heard this notion a few times today. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew

          There is no evidence that Bloomberg is using the gun issue to get cuts to SS, Medicare or Medicaid.  Gun reform is important to him and he has supported candidates for that issue.  

          There is also no evidence that Robin Kelly is going to go rogue on SS, Medicare or Medicaid.  I trust her a hell of a lot more than I trusted Jackson.  

          Throughout the day today I'm seeing this advanced as 'proof' of Bloomberg using gun control as a means for his 'real' agenda.  

          •  We'll see (0+ / 0-)

            Unfortunately, we probably won't find out until it's too late to do much about it.

            Bloomberg and his corporate pals at Fix The Debt, ThirdWay, etc. are clever enough to avoid leaving fingerprints.  They're masters at manipulating the machinery behind the curtain.

            It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

            by Betty Pinson on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:56:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Bowles, Rivlin, Rattner, Villaraigosa are (0+ / 0-)

        incredibly influential

        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

        by justmy2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:56:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's nothing wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oldestsonofasailor

      With piling on more debt. We should be spending more until there are no needy people in this country. All income over $250k, regardless of source, should be taxed at 90%.

      •  Heaven Forbid... (0+ / 0-)

        That we should spend money on the needs of people in this country...

        Lets go put the costs of a couple of wars on the VISA Card...

        We must have responsible spending and a balanced budget, to do that we simply ignore what has been done wrong in the past... This is the route to Fiscal Responsibility!

        "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
        I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
        ~John F. Kennedy~

        -7.5,-5.8

        by Oldestsonofasailor on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:35:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  can Obama hold the line in April? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    Obviously the Reps can make a deal with each other(?!?!) to restore defense spending to the stratosphere (in case the 15,000 lightly armed Islamist scumbags worldwide march on Omaha). Obama has to hold the line elsewhere. A billion out of the DOD budget is a rounding error. A billion out of WIC or foodstamps is (more) starving kids.

    Obama won't do it, and I for one have to grant that his prevent defense got him reelected after the sell outs of HCR and the disaster of 2010, but others - besides bloggers - have to make the point that, for the Republicans, starving poor kids isn't a bug, it's a feature, especially if they're ... cough ... urban. It comes along with the whole libertarian pose ideology.

    I'd like to think there's a Senator out there (paging Gillibrand) who will shut the Senate down if a deal gets struck to trash PBS, WIC, HeadStart etc to save a couple billion in the name of bi-partisanship. We can fight them to a standstill for the next two years and run at them in 2014. We might even start getting the DOD budget rolled back to, say, 1999 levels. What it was before a couple guys with box cutters pinned us down in our fortress America foxhole. Here's hoping that's why they hate Hagel. If the brass goes on record saying "we don't need tanks", stop paying for tanks. You want to waste some money on national security? High Speed Rail! (a stretch but whatevah)

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:06:17 AM PST

  •  The question is why Republicans are mad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    at their own party's handling of spending.

    My guess is that they feel the party isn't cutting spending enough and that they're being too weak in opposing President Obama.  Plus they're still hopping mad about the revenue increases that Repubs agreed to in the fiscal cliff deal.

    If that's the case, then it's safe to venture that giving in to the President on revenues will only bring down the party's numbers even further among rank and file Repubs.  Therefore I don't see how Repubs, at least the ones in safe districts, have any incentive to compromise on revenues.

    The problem here, in other words, is the Republican base itself.  Making the problem worse is gerrymandering that has made most Republicans in Congress immune from punishment at the hands of anyone other than their mostly Republican constituents.

    And furthermore we have a mainstream political press that refuses to point this fact out, choosing instead to continue blaming both sides in order to maintain the veneer of "impartiality".  

    “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

    by puakev on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:08:34 AM PST

    •  What's equally as disappointing is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev

      most people (and by "most" I mean %90 as per a recent poll) when asked whether our defecit is growing, unchanged or shrinking get the answer wrong. Only %10 of the public seem aware that the defecit as a share of the GDP has SHRUNK year after year over the last four years and continues to trend downward. This Country does NOT have a defecit problem though you would never know it unless you go out of your way to verify it. Our useless media is as bad if not worse than our Democratic officials at informing the populace of this easily proven fact. America has carried much heavier defecits many times over the past century with no fanfare. Considering the disastrous austerity-created problems in Europe we currently are in an even better position due to the comparative strength of the US dollar, relatively low inflation. If we as a Nation would simply shun any and all austerity and focus on infrastructure spending and reversing the income equality through the tax code we would speed our recovery and end up much more powerful in five years time, especially as compared to where the European nations look to be as their governmental and economic heads are shoved further up their asses than ours have been but we could be doing much better...especially if we had a populace that was aware of the facts.

  •  Asked to provide specifics (5+ / 0-)

    most of the people polled would likely not be able to give examples of too much spending that they'd like cut. Most Americans like to whine about things they have no clue about. Last night Rachel Maddow highlighted a poll that had just 6% of Americans correctly identifying the debt and deficit as having gone down under Obama. Just 6 freaking %, with the other 94% either saying that they've gone up, stayed the same, or had no opinion.

    It's hard to have a well-functioning democracy when the vast majority of your citizens are politically clueless and functionally stupid.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:13:59 AM PST

    •  Kill education>>>gain Republican voters. (0+ / 0-)

      No accidents here . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:20:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  + Kardashian (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Caniac41, Possiamo

        Every time that name is mentioned the national IQ goes down a fraction.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:26:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not as anti-entertainment as all (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask

          that, especially since I don't believe programming is necessarily designed by political operatives to the same ends. Why go to all that trouble when you are even more successful using the direct approach?

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:30:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bread and circuses (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryduck

            I'm not saying that operatives directly promote crapotainment culture, but they certainly do benefit from it in that it makes voters even more stupid.

            Also, I'm not into that whole Mystery Science Theater 3000 ironic/campy/I'm just pretending to be a clueless rube to show how clever I am and above it all stuff. Beyond a certain point, it's functionally the same thing as that which it purports to mock, if not worse, because it's self-aware.

            And yes, I am a grouch. ;-)

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:21:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can see that. I just don't think (0+ / 0-)

              these entertainment execs are doing it. I wouldn't put it past them, either, to be sure . . .

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:39:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  And, to reprise Carville (4+ / 0-)

    this is why the low-info voters will assume the sequester is a GOP idea.

    They are SO doomed.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:16:57 AM PST

  •  They may be losing the spending debate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun, Possiamo, MPociask

    But they are winning simply based on the fact that the we are debating spending.

    Full stop.

    There is a time and place for that debate.  It is not now.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:24:52 AM PST

    •  To elaborate, as I posted earlier (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun, Possiamo, shevas01

      We are losing this battle, but not for the reason you think.

      Dems have the better story and better messaging on sequester.  President Obama is doing exactly what I think is appropriate in the position he is in, far better than he did the first 2 years of his first term.

      But the issue arises from the fact that this is the debate.  We are in the first hundred days, and as far as I know, this is the first time we are debating the losing parties agenda.  

      That is the macro sense is a win for Republicans.  It does two things.

      1. It drags the President into the mud when he has a halo from reelection.

      2.  It diminishes the chances of meeting core promises to his coalition as the clock for the first hundred days is run out.  If certain items are not addressed (I.e. immigration) and Republicans are successful in dragging the economy down,  Democrats will have another bad mid term, which is exactly what the Republican strategy is about.

      The issue was created back when the President decided to focus on debt and winning the future at a time of high unemployment.  It's a shame that we are here talking about Romney's agenda instead of Obamas due to a bad decision to move to winning the future and focusing on the debt 3 years ago. The legacy of the New Democrat/Orzag/Emanuael/Obama led decision, is the gift that keeps giving. Ever since the debt commission was created, there has been no space to discuss jobs.  This is a self inflicted wound that will be tough to get out of.

      They are doing there beat with this hand, but one is left to wonder whether getting into this game was wise for 2012 and beyond.  Maybe he had to in order to win reelection, but I do not believe this is the case.

      This is going to be the struggle of a lifetime to maintain earned benefit levels and control debt through better care and tax increases on high income earners. This is a fight we are losing. And Democrats are aiding and abetting.

      If I hear how good an idea chained CPI is again, like that is going to win votes, I am going to scream.

      19% of the public believe Democrats are better than Republicans on National Defense.  That happens when you refuse to nominate a Democrat for Defense or CIA.  And now, we are headed down the same path by allowing the discussion to focus on debt instead of jobs, immigration, climate.  

      They are doing fine with the current hand, but this game should never have been played.  I am afraid of the repercussions of this process, although I still think Dems have the current upper hand.

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:28:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Suicide by Sequester"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    This article, by John T. Harvey in Forbes explains why the sequester, and infliction of austerity is a crisis of choice, not necessity.  

    The comedy of errors being played out in Washington would be funny were it not for the fact that the real victims will be well outside the Beltway. Estimates of the job loss from sequestration range from 750,000 to 1 million. Not a single one of those will be from the individuals responsible for this debacle.
    "Not a single one of these" (lost jobs) "will be from the individuals responsible for this debacle."  That's the problem.  The GOPers are playing politics, hoping to gain political ground by unnecessarily inflicting economic chaos on the country and economic pain on people who have already suffered job losses, losses of homes, or significant loss of the values of their largest assets--their homes, etc.

    The realities are:  

    ...We will lose employees from education, the military, law enforcement, courts, national parks, and more. The economy will almost certainly fall back into recession, long term growth will be stunted, and confidence will be shattered.

    And this helps how?

    It doesn’t...  

    ...what’s even worse is that there is no long-term payoff, either. The idea that we have a debt and deficit problem is patently false...

    The author goes on to explain why the GOPer's panicky "sky is falling" claims about the "deficit problem" are wrong.
     
    (The fallacy): If we don’t reduce the national debt, the US could default: This is the biggest fallacy of them all. Every penny of US debt is owed in a currency we are legally permitted to print. There is ZERO chance that we could be forced to default.

    (The fallacy: The debt must be repaid: We must, of course, meet the “monthly payments,” but the level of debt need never be zero. The government has an infinite life span, so there is no day of reckoning when all debts must be settled....

    These points and others that have been promoted by the deficit hawks are disputed in more detail in the article.  The main point is that the republicans are willing to do anything--including bringing financial devastation to individuals, or recession to the economy--anything, if they think they can retain political power by doing so.  

    This time, very few people are buying their lies.  

  •  Minor correction (0+ / 0-)
    The GOP, on the other hand, has spent nearly every minute of the last four years talking about nothing but federal spending policy.
    Except, of course, when they've been talking about how rape pregnancies are a  blessing or that science is the tool of the Devil.
  •  I wish we can take advantage of this and change (0+ / 0-)

    the meme.

    The Republicans don't care about spending, or the deficit.  They only care about decimating the safety net, and campaign that they started back during the FDR days and have continued since.  We need to change the meme to this, so that it's not longer about spending per se, but about what kind of spending is really necessary to "promote the general welfare."

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:06:00 AM PST

    •  To the contrary - (0+ / 0-)

      We should be driving the meme and the conversation about spending and the deficit at maximum volume.  Let's address loud and clear the fiscal decisions that got us to our current state of deficit in the first place; and no, it's not PBO and it's not the social safety net.

      Congress raised the debt limit 7 times during G.W. Bush's presidency, from $5.9 trillion to $11.3 trillion.  Nearly 50% of this near doubling of the national debt from 2000 to 2008 is attributed to the Bush tax cuts and the Bush wars.  The legacy of these fiscal policies continued to drive the deficits of PBO's first term: the Bush tax cuts and wars account for ~60% of the $5 trillion rise in national debt 2008-2012, and the impact of reduced tax revenues due to the linger effects of economic downturn account for ~30%.  

      The GOP is fond of insisting that we address the spending that got us to this level of deficit in the first place.  Democrats should be eager to do so.  

  •  Are They Winning The Climate Change Lack of (0+ / 0-)

    debate by throwing up irrelevant issues by comparison?

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