By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff
No, this isn’t about the 24/7 cable driven news cycle that is dominating political coverage. I’ll save that for another day. Instead, this rant focuses on the GOP and how it might weather tough electoral times.
Despite a relatively clear cut electoral outcome in November, D.C. is already waist deep in partisanship. Beltway Democrats and Republicans are travelling down a well-worn path. Now, I know the party bickering never really subsided. But, I believe it’s in the Republican self-interest and national interest, as well, for GOP leaders to rise above the fray and give Obama his electoral due. He was elected to deliver change with a side order of nonpartisanship thrown in. It seems the GOP would be well-advised to avoid rooting for failure Limbaugh-style, refrain from unanimously opposing stimulus packages, and halt any speculation over the mid-term elections let alone who is likely to be their presidential candidate for 2012… Romney, Palin, Huckabee, Jindal… you name ‘em… does the electorate care, right now?
Reality check. According to the latest Marist Poll, President Obama has a 56% approval rating nationwide. Good numbers but not stellar. The Republican base is as turned off to this new president as are their party leaders. Only 25% of Republican voters approve of his job performance. But, a huge number of Democrats and a majority of Independents like him. As for Capitol Hill, Congressional Democrats are not exactly blazing any new popularity trails. Only 35% of voters nationwide approve of their job performance. Yet, even Republican voters divide over how Congressional Republicans are performing. So, shouldn’t Republicans be reaching out to independents and cross-over Democrats rather than fueling the flames of a shrinking and unhappy base?
Right now, an overwhelming majority of voters, 76%, think President Obama is confronting problems he inherited from President Bush. In this context, just who does GOP criticism of President Obama remind voters of any way?
Now, in the old days, this new president would be still enjoying his honeymoon. Of course, things have changed, but, not everything. President Obama is still likely to be judged on the economy. If he succeeds, the GOP is toast. If he comes up short, then future Republican electoral chances will be enhanced. So, Republicans: Quit the carping. Provide thoughtful policy alternatives. Be patient. And, above all, slow down, you’re moving too fast… or else, you just may end up making his moment last.
Lee Miringoff discusses Obama’s latest poll numbers: