A roundup of recent political news.
1. Deficit Cancer-Erskine Bowles, co-chairman with Allan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming, of President Obama’s debt and deficit commission, is Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff. Therefore I was somewhat surprised at how forthright he was recently when he made this statement:
Bowles said that unlike the current economic crisis, which was largely unforeseen before it hit in fall 2008, the coming fiscal calamity is staring the country in the face. “This one is as clear as a bell,” he said. “This debt is like a cancer.”
The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,” Simpson said.
“We can’t grow our way out of this,” Bowles said. “We could have decades of double-digit growth and not grow our way out of this enormous debt problem. We can’t tax our way out. . . . The reality is we’ve got to do exactly what you all do every day as governors. We’ve got to cut spending or increase revenues or do some combination of that.”
Statements like this help keep spending and the national debt at the forefront of the issues confronting the nation and that is not good news for Obama and the Democrats in November.
2. Obama 40-On January 5, 2009 I made the following prediction here: “8. Obama’s popularity rating will be around 40% by the end of 2009.” The latest ABC-Washington post poll here indicates that is about the amount of support the President currently enjoys:
Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy.
3. Hurricane GOP– Charlie Cook is one of the best political prognosticators in the business. Personally his politics lean in the port direct, but I have always found his analysis to be very accurate. Here is what he thinks is ahead in November in an article entitled Hurricane GOP On The Way:
In the race for United States Senate, Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer and Republican Carly Fiorina are effectively even. Fiorina 47%, Boxer 45%, within the survey’s theoretical margin of sampling error. Twice as many Democrats cross-over to vote Republican as Republicans who cross-over to vote Democrat. The Republican has an ever-so-slight advantage in Greater Los Angeles and in the Central Valley. The Republican carries the Inland Empire 2:1. The Democrat carries the Bay Area 2:1. Question 3 and 4 on this report show the identical data. Question 3 collapses 6 minor party candidates and “undecided” voters into a single “other / undecided” category. Respondents were asked the “who will you vote for” for US Senate question once.
This is important for three reasons: 1. Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are known quantities in California who have been around forever. If they are trailing or close this far out, it is difficult to see how they turn things around unless their opponents self-destruct. 2. If Republicans can sweep the big races in California, this is a striking indication of just how big a year this could be for the GOP. 3. Democrats depend on boatloads of California money to fund campaigns around the country. This year that money is going to stay home in California as Brown and Boxer battle for political survival.
5. GOP Generic Ballot-Real Clear Politics, the home away from home for political junkies, keeps close tabs on Congressional generic ballots here. For some time Likely Voter polls have been showing a decided Republican advantage. Now Registered Voter polls are also beginning to show a GOP edge. This is devastating for the Democrats since Republicans, especially in midterm elections, tend to turn out at a higher percentage level than do the Democrats.
6. The Flack-in Chief– Presidential press flack in chief Robert Gibbs stated on Meet the Press on Sunday that there are enough seats in play for the Republicans to take the House. Gibbs was predictably backpedaling yesterday, but his remarks clearly indicates that loss of the House is definitely something that would not be unexpected at the Obama White House. Gibbs’ initial bout of truth telling sparked a furor among frantic House Dems.