Don’t worry, Ted Cruz is telling his fellow Republicans, about that new Gallup Poll showing that the GOP’s favorability rating has sunk to an all-time low. And ignore the National Journal, Washington Post, CBS News, AP, CNN, and Pew surveys showing that Americans are mostly blaming Republicans for the government shutdown.
Those are all wrong, the Texas senator is telling his GOP colleagues, because he has his own poll, and it shows the GOP is winning.
As David Drucker reports at The Washington Examiner, Cruz argued to Republicans at a closed-door lunch on Wednesday that the campaign he led to shutdown the government over Obamacare has bolstered the GOP’s political position, rather than hurt it. Cruz says he knows this because he paid for his own poll, conducted by his own partisan pollster, who was on hand to explain the results to his skeptical colleagues.
Despite all that, the poll was not much rosier than all public polls, showing that the public blames Republicans for the shutdown by a 7 point margin.
To Cruz, as Drucker writes, this shows that “Republicans are in a much better position than they were during the 1995 shutdown because this impasse is defined by a disagreement over funding for the Affordable Care Act as opposed to a general disagreement over government spending.”
Maybe Cruz is right, and maybe Republicans are “winning,” and maybe his pollster is better than everyone else’s. Maybe.
But if not, then he’s falling victim to same fallacy Republicans ran into leading up the 2012 election, when Mitt Romney was reportedly so convinced that he was going to win that he didn’t even bother writing a concession speech. The national public opinion data was pretty clearly showing the opposite, but some on the right stuck to the echo chamber, where the polls were unskewed and the vibes were good, leading to Dick Morris predicting as late as 8 p.m. on election night that Romney would still win big, and later to an on-screen meltdown from Karl Rove when Romney lost Ohio.
The fancy word for this is “epistemic closure,” but basically it means only believing what you want to believe and ignoring the rest. That may be why Cruz thought that Barack Obama would ever agree to defund his signature legislative accomplishment. Or thinking, as a large number of Republican lawmakers seem to, that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be no big deal.
But unlike the election, if Cruz is wrong and breaching the debt ceiling is as catastrophic as most economists are predicting, this time the whole country loses.
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"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The Washington, D.C. area will undergo "a full-scale exercise" Wednesday morning "designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region." The drill will take place at six different sites throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The drill should not be taken as a sign that emergency services are expecting an attack, said Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee "acknowledged late Monday that a final report it filed with the Federal Election Commission this month was riddled with errors, many of which were first identified through a crowdsourced data project at HuffPost." The committee raised about $100 million for the festivities, but the 500-page FEC report, which detailed where that money came from, was riddled with problems. The likely culprit: a system of access codes sent out by the GOP's ticketing system. Those codes were then often passed around on the secondary market.