Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Which political party is more interested in winning than governing?

A brand-new poll by USA TODAY/Gallup tells us all we really need to know about the difference between Republicans and Democrats. In the lead article from USA Today for Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Susan Page summarized the results thus:

Democratic voters want to sit down and work things out. Republicans are ready to rumble.

Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to say it's more important for political leaders to stick to their beliefs even if little gets done. Forty-one percent of Republicans put themselves at four or five on a scale in which five is the most unyielding. Only 18% of Democrats feel that way.

Democrats are almost twice as likely as Republicans to say it's more important for political leaders to compromise in order to get things done. Fifty-nine percent of Democrats rate themselves at one or two on the five-point scale compared with 31% of Republicans.

Interestingly, 49% of independents, upon whom Republicans relied upon for their sweeping victory last Tuesday, say it's more important to get things done, against only 24% who want leaders to stick to their beliefs.

Thus, it would appear that the country is destined to experience a repeat of the same obstructionism on the part of Republicans from the 112th Congress that we saw with the 111th, with the added dimension of a more powerful--and even more effective--Republican influence in the House. It's as if the boy who refuses to eat his vegetables is now planning the family meals.

The Republicans are saying that their first priority when the "Lame Duck Session" begins in ten day or so is to renew all of the 2001 tax cuts indefinitely, despite their persistent insistence during the election cycle on reducing the massive federal deficit. On the other hand, some Republicans are threatening to vote against increasing the deficit ceiling, which could result in a shut-down of the entire federal governmental apparatus.

Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Forget about it. Ratifying the Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty? Am I nuts? Further stimulus spending to head off a double-dip recession? Who am I kidding? Putting a price on the CO2 that is over-heating the planet? What's the rush?

According to this same USA Today/Gallup poll, when asked "Do you think President Obama will make a sincere effort to work with Republicans in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?", 64% said "yes"; when asked if Republicans in Congress would do the same, only 43% said "yes; when asked if Democrats in Congress would do the same, 51% said "yes". Unless the Democrats are willing to meet the Republicans on their own terms on every issue, deadlock seems almost certain. Nevertheless, 57% of Americans say that, as a result of the recent elections, they are more upbeat about what will happen over the next two years. Which proves either that a dollop of optimism is added to every bottle of water or voters are more naive that even I thought. No wonder the gaming industry is doing so well.

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