Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Blame The Liberal Media

I’m not a big fan of polls, but I thought this new one from Pew Research was interesting:
• About half of Americans think the debate over spending and deficits has been "generally rude and disrespectful," including 48% of Republicans and Democrats as well as 57% of independents.
• The percentage of Americans who feel that the Republicans are better at handing the deficit dropped from 35% after the election to 21% currently.
• The percentage of Americans who feel President Barack Obama is better at handing the deficit has also dropped from 24% to 20%.

• About 75% of Tea Party supporters back the GOP budget plans after the election, that figure has dropped to 52%.

Hmm... maybe, just maybe, anti-Muslim hysteria and a focus on abortion might not have been the deficit reduction plan folks had in mind. Just maybe people are thinking that tax cuts to millionaires and corporations while cutting funds to schools and fire departments isn’t the solution they wanted.

What’s interesting to me is that Republicans and Tea Party leaders blame voter impatience. I’m thinking ... no, at least, not as far as budget deficits are concerned. I think people understand that you don’t vote in November, have your representatives sworn into office in January, and see results by March.

I’m thinking that people are pissed off that jobs and the economy still suck after so many years. It's really that simple.

It’s the same thing that pissed people off in 2004, 2006, 2008 and November 2010. And it will continue to piss people off in 2012 and 2014 and 2016 unless somebody, somewhere, goes after the real problem, which is outsourcing of jobs and wage stagnation and widening inequality between the haves and have nots. These are systemic problems that have no easy answers and they won't be fixed in three months, let alone two years. Tackling healthcare reform was a huge step in that direction but the institutional powers that be pushed back so hard against it, we ended up with very modest changes that really didn't reform much at all. This is a sign of what's to come, people: I'm afraid we're in a situation where we have to fight tooth and nail for tiny, incremental changes like this in everything, which means we're going to be in this situation for a long, long time.

It's kind of sad that the media doesn’t get it. We’ve been in a recession for a really, really long time -- since long before the market crash of 2007. I remember blogging about all the people left behind from the supposed “Bush boom,” and Republicans calling me “angry” and “negative” and a “blame American first” kind of person who suffered from “Bush derangement syndrome.” I mean seriously, am I the only one who remembers these conversations from 2004? Am I the only one who remembers arguing with Bill Hobbs every time he blogged about how terrific the economy was? Am I the only one who remembers George W. Bush telling a divorced mother that it's "fantastic" and "uniquely American" that she works three jobs? As if she wanted to?

America has been in a downward spiral for a long time, folks. This isn’t some new phenomenon that just popped up when the real estate bubble burst. And I think what surveys like this one from Pew show us is that Americans understand this yet don’t know what to do about it, because we have so little control over anything. We’re basically offered a choice between dumb and dumber every two years and people are getting frustrated and maybe a little frightened.

I know I am.