Good Policy Is Good Politics
Everyone likes Mark Blumenthal. Even me. But I take strong exception to his accepting Andrew Sullivan's false characterizations of the critiques from some of us of President Obama on the stimulus package. Blumenthal quotes Sully as follows:
As Andrew Sullivan summarizes this morning . . . Paul Krugman, who wants a partisan war on the GOP . . .
Sullivan has years of attacks on Krugman (all of them completely wrong) under his belt. He is not to be trusted when he discusses Krugman. Not surprisingly, he misstates Krugman's argument. Krugman is engaged in a policy debate on the stimulus package. Something Sullivan can not do, as a self proclaimed conservative Obama supporter. He has a problem now - he is a "conservative" but he really can not argue policy here as conservatism is a bankrupt ideology -especially in this moment. So he turns it into a discussion of "partisan war," in the finest traditions of David Broder. Unfortunately, Blumenthal gets taken in by this game. More . . .
Blumenthal, after reviewing polling numbers, writes:
[E]vidence of the limits of bipartisanship? Let's remember that Obama holds an overall approval rating that most polls now peg in the mid-sixty percent range, after winning with roughly 52.9% of the votes cast. Doesn't the aggregate approval rating, including approval from roughly a third of Republicans, say something about the benefits of the "bipartisan" messaging? . . . If there is a lesson in this particular decline in approval ratings, it has little to do with the stimulus plan. I'm not sure I see a lesson here, unless Obama can find a way to hold an inauguration every week.
This analysis entirely misses the point of the critiques. It is not about whether Obama's polling went up or down in the short term - it is about whether Obama's political tactics are achieving good policy. It is stunning that Blumenthal can not understand this basic point.
In the end there will be a "polling argument" in all this - but it will be as elections approach, when results are evaluated. Blumenthal and too many people like him can not see past the day to day gyrations of the polling trees and miss the policy (and eventually, political) forest.
Bad job Mark.
Speaking for me only
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