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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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.