Sometimes polls speak for themselves. This one is from CBS (MoE +/- 3):
A majority of Americans have a negative impression of the economy and expect the effects of the recession to linger for years, according to a new CBS News poll.
Most also say President Obama has spent too little time on the economy, which Americans cite as the country's most important problem by a wide margin.
Three in four Americans now say the effects of the recession will last another two years or more. More than eight in 10 say the condition of the economy is bad, up five points from last month.
Just 25 percent of Americans say the economy is getting better - down from 41 percent in April. About half say it is staying the same, and the remaining quarter stay it is getting worse.
More than half of Americans - 52 percent - say Mr. Obama has spent too little time dealing with the economy.
And with unemployment near 10 percent, the economy is their priority: Thirty-eight percent volunteer it as the country's most important problem. That far outpaces the percentage that cited the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan (seven percent), health care (six percent), the deficit (five percent), and the oil spill in the Gulf (five percent).
Want to take credit for saving the economy? Do a better job explaining it. A majority (56%) think the stimulus didn't do anything. We also learn that 18% of the country is incapable of rational analysis - they think it hurt the economy. Specifically:
The Issues: Economic Priorities
Most Americans - 53 percent - say the best way to get the economy moving is to cut taxes. Thirty-seven percent instead choose government spending on job creation.
Americans are split about how the federal government should spend its money: Forty-six percent say the priority should be spending to create jobs, and 47 percent want to put the focus on deficit reduction.
More than half want Congress to extend unemployment benefits now, a Democratic priority that has been blocked by Congressional Republicans.
Most polls show the split between job creation and deficit reduction. This one highlights the focus on tax cutting over spending. But if you want to spend it on unemployment benefits, that's fine with the public.
In addition, there are some specifics on specific issues you can find here:
None of those are good news for Administration positions, but each has its nuance. For example on health reform:
While the new poll shows a recent drop in support, the numbers have still improved overall since March, when 53 percent of Americans disapproved of the new laws and 32 percent said they approved of them.
Most Republicans and independents disapprove of the reform package, the poll finds, while most Democrats approve of it. ...
When asked to name the country's most important problem, 6 percent named health care - about the same percentage of Americans who named the federal deficit (5 percent) and the Gulf oil spill (5 percent). The most cited problem by far, at 38 percent, was the economy.
The deficit ranks behind health care in importance. Right now, it's all about jobs.
Today, the poll finds, 62 percent of Americans say the war is going badly, up from 49 percent in May. Just 31 percent say the war in Afghanistan is going well.
Nine years into the war, 33 percent of Americans say they do not want large numbers of U.S. troops in Afghanistan for another year. Twenty-three percent of Americans say they are willing to have troops stay there for one or two more years.
Just 35 percent are willing to have troops stay longer than two years.
Most Americans -- 54 percent -- think the U.S. should set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Forty-one percent disagree.
While the majority is willing to give it a year, the majority is also not willing to give it two.
For perspective, CBS polls are searchable (go here). For all the various issues people care about, none matter more than the economy. These are from last month:
July's numbers are similar to June's: "Worse" isn't the issue (25%). "Same" is still 48%, and until that starts dropping, the electorate will be in an unforgiving mood, even as they appreciate many of the policies under attack. For example, on the drilling moratorium:
Until and unless the economy is perceived as moving ahead, expect more polls to show the same.
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My small contribution, on Bastille Day, à la Résistance. This is one of the best political anthems I've ever heard. It's stirring, even if you know not an ounce of French. Damien Saez wrote this in 2002, as a response to the election that saw Jean-Marie Le Pen, the super-rightwing racist, place second in the French national elections.
But the song is universal ? it works for all who believe in the rights of man, and in resistance. The inactive and disconsolate need not apply.
First the clip, then my small translation, for those who wish to follow along.
video details and more
The first Republican Abraham Lincoln famously proclaimed, "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side." Now, in the latest sign of the transformation of the Party of Lincoln into the Party of God, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle declared the Almighty is on her side. And to be sure, Angle, who just two weeks ago proclaimed "God has a plan" for pregnant victims of rape and incest, is far from alone in believing in the Divine Right. As it turns out, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Jan Brewer and Michael Steele are just some of the Republicans who believe they have been touched by the hand of God.
"How do you explain all this? You're now a national story, are you kind of overwhelmed by it all?" asked Reed.
"I believe that God has been in this from the beginning and because of that when he has a plan and a purpose for your life and you fit into that, what he calls you to he always equipped you for," Angle replied.
As Americans learned last month, if nothing else Sharron Angle is equipped with a heart of stone. Given the 2008 Republican platform and John McCain's prime-time mockery of the "health of the mother," Sharron Angle's extreme position on abortion sadly is not unusual among hard-line conservatives. But what is unique is her frankness in claiming the suffering of rape and incest victims is divinely mandated:
MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?
ANGLE: Not in my book.
MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?
ANGLE: You know, I'm a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.
For Sarah Palin, one of those things can be found in her mirror.
Her April address to an evangelical group called Women of Joy provides a recent case in point. Palin wasn't content to advocate the demolition of the wall separating church and state ("Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our Founding Fathers, they were believers"). She announced she was "so appreciative" of the "prayer warriors" battling on her behalf:
"Prayer Warriors all across the country -- and I know some of you are here tonight -- your prayer shield allows me and others to go forth. You give out strength, providing a prayer shield. That is the only way to put one foot in front of the other, and get through some of these days with joy."
And while you're at it, Sarah Palin suggested to the Tea Party Convention in February, you can pray for America, too. Unlike President Obama's repeated warnings to the American people not to assume that "our progress was inevitable -- that America was always destined to succeed," Palin declared that "divine intervention" and not being "unafraid to do what was hard" was the key to the nation's future:
"And then I think kind of tougher to, kind of tougher to put our arms around but, allowing America's spirit to rise again by not being afraid, not being afraid to kind of go back to some of our roots as a God fearing nation where we're not afraid to say, especially in times of potential trouble in the future here, we're not afraid to say, you know, we don't have all the answers as fallible men and women so it would be wise of us to start seeking some divine intervention again in this country, so that we can be safe and secure and prosperous again."
Of course, in Sarah Palin's telling, the Lord is going rogue with her.
As the Washington Post summed it up in its review of book, Palin's worldview is "an Alaskan frontierswoman's trinity" of "God, Todd and dominion over animals." And to be sure, the Quitta from Wasilla sees the hand of God everywhere in her life:
Right away, Palin posits her faith as the pillar of her career, as if her successes have unfolded according to a grand divine plan. Her selection as McCain's running mate was a "natural progression," she writes in one section. "I don't believe in coincidences," she writes in another.
But as it turns out, Sarah Palin doesn't just have the Lord in her corner, she's also His spokesman.
The war in Iraq, as then Governor Palin told students at the School of Ministry at the Wasilla Assembly of God, is "a task that is from God." And when it came to the multibillion natural gas pipeline she hoped would span her state, Palin lectured, "I can do my job there in developing our natural resources...But really all of that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart isn't right with God," adding:
"God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."
A jaw-dropping expose in Vanity Fair revealed the shocking extent of Palin's divine narcissism:
When [her son] Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig's condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God's, and signed it "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."
Of course, Sarah Palin apparently has long believed she was touched by both the voice - and hand - of God. In May 2005 process complete with a laying on of hands, Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee prayed over Palin, imploring Jesus to protect her from "the spirit of witchcraft." As Election Day approached last fall, the GOP vice presidential claimed to be unconcerned by her ticket's dismal poll numbers. Victory, she insisted, was in God's hands:
"To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith, because I'm going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I'm not discouraged at all."
God, it seems, wanted Barack Obama in the White House.
Of course, the half-term Alaska Governor isn't the first - or the last - of the Republicans so graced by God. The divine high-fives started with George W. Bush, an unnatural disaster still supported by 57% of the Tea Party faithful.
The portrait of Bush as Savior was painted in books like Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy and Michael Lind's Made in Texas. Phillips concludes that George W. Bush is convinced that "God wanted him to be president", a view backed by Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, who reported, "Among the things he said to us was: I believe that God wants me to be president." As White House official Tim Goeglein once put it, "I think President Bush is God's man at this hour, and I say this with a great sense of humility."
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann also proclaimed a mandate from the Almighty. In 2006, she testified that "God then called me to run for the United States Congress." In 2009, she told WorldNetDaily she would consider a run for the White House if He wanted it, "But I will not seek a higher office if God is not calling me to do it." Until such time as she gets the sign, Bachmann assured her constituents:
"You are now looking at a fool for Christ. This is a fool for Christ."
Truer words were never spoken.
Fallen South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, too, insists God has a plan for him. After comparing himself to King David, Sanford told Palmetto State residents, "It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God can make good of our respective wrongs in life." Sanford explained that he needed to remain in office "for God to really work in my life." So, Mark Sanford explained, the Lord wants him to hike the Appalachian Trail for Him:
"I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm."
Joining Newt Gingrich and Iran-Contra villain turned Fox News regular Oliver North at Rock Church in Hampton Roads, Virginia in June, the former Baptist Minister and 2012 White House hopeful testified to God's role in furthering both the American Revolution and Huckabee's own reactionary social policies. As the Virginia Pilot recounted:
"The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense," Huckabee said. The United States is a "blessed" nation, he said, calling American revolutionaries' defeat of the British empire "a miracle from God's hand."
The same kind of miracle, he said, led California voters to approve Proposition 8, which overturned a state law legalizing same-sex marriages.
And God, in the Governor's telling, stands with Mike Huckabee.
Back in December 2007, Huckabee attributed his dramatic surge in Iowa, a state he later won, to His divine intervention:
"There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people and that's the only way that our campaign could be doing what it's doing.
"And I'm not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across who are praying that a little will become much and it has, and it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundits, and I'm enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a just experience beyond human, they'll never figure it out. And that's probably just as well. That's honestly why it's happening."
The list of those tea bagging for Jesus hardly ends there. Long before she signed the draconian immigration law that put her on the national stage, Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer announced, "God has placed me in this powerful position." And Michael Steele described his divine ascension to the chairmanship of the RNC. "God, I really believe, has placed me here for a reason," Steele insisted, "because who else and why else would you do this unless there's something inside of you that says right now you need to be here to do this?"
And to be sure, those who carry the Republicans water seem to believe they can walk on it. In April, Glenn Beck announced:
God is giving a plan I think to me that is not really a plan...The plan that He would have me articulate, I think, to you is "Get behind me." And I don't mean me, I mean Him. "Get behind Me. Stand behind Me."
Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher also has a direct line to the Almighty as well. Asked about running for office, the former McCain-Palin campaign prop replied:
"You know, I talked to God about that and he was like, 'No.'"
Finally, there's Sarah Palin's mini-me, Carrie Prejean. As the beauty pageant contestant turned anti-gay crusader told the adoring crowd at the Values Voters Summit:
"God chose me for that moment. He knew I was strong enough to get through all the junk that I have been through."
Sadly for Carrie Prejean, all of America soon learned that she had been touched not by God's hand, but her own.
Still, Ms. Prejean can take some comfort knowing, as Sharron Angle apparently believes, it's all in God's plan for her.
Fox News host Sean Hannity brought Bush White House advisor Karl Rove on his show last night to discuss the upcoming elections and speculate about who might challenge President Obama in 2012. After Hannity suggested that Rove was considering a bid, Rove countered that Hannity should be the one running, because America needs to be “Hannitized.” Hannity didn’t dismiss the idea, and even asked if “the architect” would manage his campaign:
HANNITY: Who do you think is going to run? … I’m thinking you might want to get in the race. I don’t know.
ROVE: I don’t know. I’m going for Hannity. The country would be better off if it was Hannitized.
HANNITY: And you would vote for me and run my campaign?
ROVE: If you ran, I might well do that.
LezGetReal points out that despite clear congressional intent to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, military retention and recruiting continues to thrive:
The Army National Guard met 94% of its recruiting goal and the Air National Guard met 99% of its recruiting goal. The eight other branches or components of the Defense Department met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the month of June 2010….According to the Defense Department, ?The services also are at or above their fiscal year-to-date retention goals for the first nine months of fiscal 2010.? That means the DoD is keeping in service the numbers of personnel it needs and with the exception of the two National Guard components mentioned, they are bringing in new personnel at or above the required numbers for overall force strength.
The “retention” question is also the focus of the Pentagon’s DADT questionnaire, which asks soldiers, “If Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell is repealed, how, if at all, will it affect your willingness to recommend to a family member or close friend that he or she join the military?? During Wonk Room’s interview on Monday, Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell described this as a “hugely important question.” “If the attitude of the force is such that they will be less likely to encourage others to join the military after repeal, we need to know that, so we can take measures to deal with that situation,” he said.
The Washington Independent is reporting that Reid's announced that he has a rough draft of an energy bill that could be introduced in a couple of week. He outlined the four components of the bill.
- Oil spill
- Clean energy job creation
- A title to “reduce consumption” — no further explanation
- A “broader” title, which he’s working on with the Finance Committee, and which will address the utilities sector. No details on whether it’ll include a cap on emissions, but he said it would deal with “pollution.”
It's good to have a job creation element in something pending before Congress, which of course Republicans will say we can't afford, and will use that as another excuse to oppose the bill. While the remainder is too vague to speculate on too wildly, there are a couple of drafts of utility-only bills floating around. Bingaman has a utilities-only approach that would include a cap, according to Politico.
A 50-page draft bill and a shorter 10-page summary obtained by POLITICO suggest that the New Mexico Democrat would cap carbon dioxide emissions from electric utilities at 17 percent by 2020 and 42 percent by 2030, compared with their 2005 levels.
The Bingaman legislation focuses on power plants, which produce about one-third of the nation’s annual emissions, but also includes provisions allowing energy-intensive manufacturers to sign up after 2011 if they want to gain regulatory certainty on climate change rather than face the prospect of new Environmental Protection Agency rules. On transportation, Bingaman proposed new fuel-economy standards after existing rules expire in 2016.
Bingaman spokesman Bill Wicker confirmed the authenticity of the documents, which are dated from around April. He also insisted that the legislation was updated based on conversations with a range of industry and environmental stakeholders....
Wicker added that Bingaman “still has no immediate plans to introduce a sector-specific bill.”
Another draft in circulation is the Kerry-Lieberman utility-only legisation.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kerry offered a broad outline of the bill that sounds similar to the Bingaman draft.
“If it’s done properly there’s no reason not to, particularly if you have options for other entities somewhere down the road,” Kerry said. “We could work out some formula that could work for industry that has some purely voluntary components.”
Kerry and Lieberman staffers met last week with White House aides and the Edison Electric Institute, the leading trade group for investor-owned utilities. Another round of meetings is on the agenda Tuesday, with environmental groups and members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, including its chief executive officer, former Oklahoma Democratic Rep. Glenn English, scheduled to attend. The NRECA complained about the House-passed climate bill, arguing that the measure treated its members unfairly and did not address concerns about higher electricity rates.
Bingaman’s legislation tries to address many industry complaints on the program’s costs, starting with a price collar that dictates the low and high prices for an emission allowance.
While Senate Democrats try to come up with an approach that at least partially addresses the climate side of this bill, Olympia Snowe is there to throw cold water on it, even before details emerge, saying “That’s still an open question as to whether or not you can even accomplish [a utility-only bill] and achieve the kind of consensus necessary.”