Politics: Video

Obama: Capture, Killing of bin Laden Was Top CIA Priority

Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
May 1, 2011, 8:32 p.m.

A Fox News poll; con­duc­ted 10/9 by Pulse Opin­ion Re­search (IVR); sur­veyed 1,000 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.1% (re­lease, 10/12). Party ID break­down: 39%D, 35%R, 26%I. Note: Pulse Opin­ion Re­search uses “meth­od­o­logy and pro­ced­ures li­censed from” Rasmussen Re­ports (IVR).

Obama As POTUS

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 10/2 9/18 Ap­prove 40% 71% 11% 30% 37% 42% 44% 40% Dis­ap­prove 55 19 88 65 59 52 52 52

(For more from this poll, please see today’s NV SEN story.)

If elec­tions were judged on per­son­al­ity alone, Re­pub­lic­an front-run­ner Mitt Rom­ney would have his hands full against Pres­id­ent Obama. In­deed, as Rom­ney comes closer to lock­ing up the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion, polit­ic­al com­ment­at­ors and Demo­crat­ic strategists alike are be­gin­ning to ad­vance the ar­gu­ment that his re­served, bor­der­ing-on-stiff per­son­al­ity is pain­fully sim­il­ar to that of two re­cent Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial losers, and it bodes poorly for his chances against a more likable Obama in 2012.

The Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Dana Mil­bank ar­gues that Rom­ney is the “polit­ic­al re­in­carn­a­tion” of 2000 Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee Al Gore, dis­play­ing “pedant­ic tend­en­cies” and nev­er seem­ing com­fort­able in pub­lic. And Demo­crat­ic op­er­at­ives are com­par­ing Rom­ney to 2004 nom­in­ee John Kerry, be­liev­ing that just as Re­pub­lic­ans neut­ral­ized Kerry’s greatest as­set (mil­it­ary ser­vice in Vi­et­nam) with with­er­ing at­tacks, they can do the same with Rom­ney’s man­age­ment back­ground by high­light­ing the most dam­aging as­pects of his re­cord at private equity firm Bain Cap­it­al. Not to men­tion the flip-flops.

Con­ven­tion­al wis­dom holds that Kerry lost in 2004 be­cause he was “Swift Boated” by Re­pub­lic­an trick­sters, and Gore’s aloof­ness was the main factor blamed for hold­ing him back. In real­ity, they both lost be­cause they aban­doned Pres­id­ent Clin­ton’s cent­rist co­ali­tion and ran well to the left of the elect­or­ate’s cen­ter. At a time of prosper­ity, Gore played the class-war­fare card, ad­van­cing the “people versus the power­ful” meme echoed in Obama’s cur­rent mes­sage. Kerry was ranked the most lib­er­al sen­at­or in Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s vote rat­ings, nev­er dis­tanced him­self from the party base, and was hampered with his dovish for­eign-policy views at a time of war.

That’s in­struct­ive to re­mem­ber as Obama’s reelec­tion team tries to make the ar­gu­ment that Rom­ney’s up­per-crust back­ground and lack of com­mon-man ap­peal will be sig­ni­fic­ant obstacles for him. For all his styl­ist­ic flaws, Rom­ney is much closer to the elect­or­ate’s cen­ter than his part­ners in stiff­ness, Kerry, Gore, and yes, Obama. Des­pite his party’s de­mands for con­ser­vat­ive ideo­lo­gic­al pur­ity, Rom­ney hasn’t been run­ning very far to the right in the primary, thanks to a splintered con­ser­vat­ive op­pos­i­tion, and he is still en­sconced in the cen­ter-right sweet spot that wins elec­tions.

A look at three re­cent polls test­ing where voters stand ideo­lo­gic­ally should give Obama’s team pause in view­ing a match­up against Rom­ney.

Ex­hib­it A: In late Decem­ber, Gal­lup tested how Amer­ic­ans viewed their own ideo­lo­gic­al dis­pos­i­tion (on a scale of one to five, one be­ing the most lib­er­al), while also ask­ing them to rate the ideo­lo­gies of all the lead­ing pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates. Rom­ney scored very close to the ideo­lo­gic­al av­er­age of 3.3, com­ing in at 3.5. Obama, by con­trast, scored a 2.3, a full point more lib­er­al than the av­er­age. To most Amer­ic­ans, the pres­id­ent is viewed as more lib­er­al than Rep. Michele Bach­mann is as con­ser­vat­ive.

Ex­hib­it B: A Gal­lup Poll con­duc­ted in late Novem­ber and early Decem­ber shows Amer­ic­ans greatly prefer the gov­ern­ment to “grow and ex­pand the eco­nomy” over ad­van­cing policies that re­duce the in­come gap between the rich and the poor. Only 46 per­cent of voters sur­veyed strongly sup­por­ted policies to tackle in­come in­equal­ity; 82 per­cent strongly sup­por­ted policies ad­van­cing eco­nom­ic growth.

Ex­hib­it C: A clear plur­al­ity of Amer­ic­ans identi­fy them­selves as con­ser­vat­ive (40 per­cent) — more than the num­ber of mod­er­ates (35 per­cent) and nearly twice as many as self-iden­ti­fied lib­er­als (21 per­cent) — in a Gal­lup Poll sur­vey­ing data throughout 2011. Even among Demo­crats, more voters con­sider them­selves mod­er­ate or con­ser­vat­ive (58 per­cent) than lib­er­al (39 per­cent).

It’s that polit­ic­al ty­po­logy that’s set­ting the stage for the 2012 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, one that is go­ing to of­fer voters a stark choice between two very dif­fer­ent eco­nom­ic philo­sophies. This isn’t go­ing to be a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign won or lost on style points; it will be lit­ig­ated on sub­stance.

Obama un­veiled his vis­ion last month in Kan­sas, call­ing for an act­ive gov­ern­ment­al role to level the un­fair­ness of grow­ing in­come in­equal­ity. He lam­basted “breath­tak­ing greed” as a ma­jor source of the eco­nom­ic prob­lems. While short on spe­cif­ic pre­scrip­tions, Obama’s vis­ion is in line with a tra­di­tion­al, pre-Clin­ton Demo­crat­ic eco­nom­ic nar­rat­ive that struggled to get much trac­tion in the 1970s and 1980s.

Rom­ney, after win­ning the New Hamp­shire primary last Tues­day, offered his coun­ter­punch. Ac­cus­ing the pres­id­ent of put­ting “free en­ter­prise on tri­al,” Rom­ney said in his vic­tory speech that he would un­apo­lo­get­ic­ally de­fend the Amer­ic­an ideals of eco­nom­ic free­dom. He called for the elim­in­a­tion of reg­u­la­tions he saw as waste­ful, in­clud­ing the re­peal of Obama’s health care law.

The polling sug­gests that Rom­ney holds the polit­ic­al high card on this ar­gu­ment, and it will take scath­ing at­tacks por­tray­ing Rom­ney as a heart­less cap­it­al­ist to dent his ideo­lo­gic­al ad­vant­age. The prob­lem for Obama is that he’s burdened with his own re­cord of be­ing un­able to turn around a stag­nant eco­nomy, which will give the Rom­ney cam­paign plenty of am­muni­tion to use against him.

If the 2012 elec­tion were be­ing waged dur­ing pros­per­ous times, Rom­ney’s vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies would be glar­ing. But the bur­den is on Obama to per­suade a skep­tic­al elect­or­ate to em­brace a mes­sage centered on in­come in­equal­ity as the path to get­ting the eco­nomy back on track. And that’s a big­ger hurdle to over­come than Rom­ney’s awk­ward­ness.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
20 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
23 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
1 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login