Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rose Colored Glasses

Citizens registered as an Independent, Democra...Image via WikipediaA poll was done by Research 200 for Daily Kos that asked Republicans some questions about the president (thanks to TomCat for the info). The results are to be expected from the members of the losing party in a historically bitter environment of partisan politics. I can also imagine that the numbers would have looked very similar if those questions (slightly altered) would have been asked of Democrats four years ago during the second Bush administration. I'll illustrate the point below the actual questions.

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 1/20-31. Self-identified Republicans. MoE 2% (No trend lines)

OBAMA and AMERICA

Should Barack Obama be impeached, or not?

Yes 39; No 32; Not Sure 29

Should GWB be impeached?
The numbers from Dems would have been fairly high. Now I thought he should have been impeached for cause, but those on the right would certainly not agree.

Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?

Yes 63; No 21; Not Sure 16

Do you think that GWB is trying to a establish a plutocracy?
Not quite the same as the socialist question and actually requires some intelligence, but once again you can see my point on what the Dems would have said.


Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
Yes 21; No 24; Not Sure 55

Do you believe that the Republicans stole the election by using dirty tricks in Ohio?
Much like the ACORN question, I think that the numbers would reflect the frustration of losing an election and trying to find someone or something to blame it on.

Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama?

Yes 53; No 14; Not Sure 33

Is John Edwards more qualified to be President than GWB?
I'm using John Kerry's VP candidate as a substitute for Palin, but you get the point. Once again the numbers would probably have matched the numbers in the current poll. Obvioulsly I'm talking about Edwards before the whole "I fathered a child with another woman and tried to get one my friends to take the blame by offering him money so that my political career wouldn't be ruined" fiasco.

Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?
Yes 31; No 36; Not Sure 33

Do you believe that GWB is a racist who hates Black people?
Certainly in the aftermath of Katrina, there was a sentiment that GWB certainly had no love for those who were not in his social strata. I don't think the number would have been quite as high for this one, but certainly there was a feeling that GWB didn't care as much about the less fortunate in America

It's clear that there is a deep divide in this country, but I don't think that the divide is any worse than it was during the Bush years. The race of the President makes it easier for some to cast aspersions on his motives and his qualifications, but in the end I don't think that the numbers would have been much different if Hillary Clinton would have won the election. Democrats hated GWB. Republicans hate President Obama. It's that simple. If this poll would have been published when GWB was President, the Right would have said that it showed just how out of touch the Dems are. The Left and Right in this country are absolutely sure that they are correct in their assessment of the country, that any opposing views look absolutely crazy to them. I'm not writing to justify the numbers in this poll or to say that I agree with any of them (which of course I don't), but they have to viewed in context.

The point is that we have to remember how we on the Left felt when GWB was in office. We were absolutely sure in our convictions that he had harmed the country and that certainly his first election was illegitimate. Those on the Right disagreed. Those of us on the Left felt that we had the law and the Constitution on our side. Those on the Right disagreed. Those of us on the Left were called loons, crazies, anarchists, communists or worse by those on the Right. My point is that a little perspective is needed now that the situations have been reversed. Everything is colored by perspective. Now I happen to think that those of us on the Left were correct in our assessment of the Bush administration, but you'd be hard pressed to find a Republican who agrees. The numbers in this poll may appear to "crazy" to those of us on the Left, but then crazy is in the eye of the beholder(or the party in power at the time ).
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18 comments:

Sue said...

Mycue like I told you on my blog, you do make sense here with the arguement. I wasn't blogging during the Bush reign and I'm sure the rhetoric was rampant and mean spirited. But I also, as a lefty, think the right is more delusional in their portrayal of President Obama. We'll see after his first term if the country is not better off then when he took office (after Bush destroyed the country!). Everything we accused Bush of was the truth, as for the right and their accusations, they are being spoonfed by the extremists on radio and TV. I don't see any facts to back up their claims.

Holte Ender said...

Nice calm analysis of the the poll. I don't think anyone was really surprised at the numbers and you can hear the left cackling which doesn't help anything, might make the right a little more entrenched, so nothing changes.

Mycue23 said...

Sue,
I understand your point and am just as frustrated by the untrue portrayals of the President and his policies. However you have to conceed that the Right felt the same way about GWB. They felt that the Left was hoping that GWB would "fail" in Iraq. They felt that the Left was unable to comprehend that the President's policies were only put in place to protect us from terrorists. Looking from one side or the other makes any argument alternatively crazy or absolutely sane. I agree with you that the Right is more delusional in the their arguments against the President, (but then I'm looking at this from the Left)but how do you think those on the Right felt about the attacks on GWB during the Bush administration?

Holte,
At some point we have to be able to look at each other and have a real conversation. There are always going to those Glen Beck type crazies on both sides, but I'm gonna say (and I'm just making up a number here) that makes up about 30% of the country. The rest of us have to be able to talk to one another. Our politicians cannot be made to stake out ground among the extreme 30% or else nothing will get done.

Disagreement should not be met with ridicule, but with real honest debate. The facts are not in debate. It is in the interpretation of those facts that things go haywire. But if we just yell and laugh at each other then nothing gets done.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Excellent awareness ... rose colored? I keep my cheaters on most of the time, they actually are rose colored Mycue. LOL I saw the numbers from the KOS poll and I was stupified until I realized that the majority of people who self identify as Republicans in US right now are also have other stats ... but after just reading what I wrote... I feel like I'm being unnecessarily nasty to Rethugs.

Mycue! This is well thought out and thought provoking reading! Well done dude. Crazy IS in the eye of the beholder, Michael. You've put that into a good perspective.

Mycue23 said...

Gwen,
We are what we preach. If we call the opposition "crazy" or "unamerican", then how exactly do we expect them to treat us? I try to always deal with the facts when I write. Sometimes my personal feelings get in the way, but if we persist in demonizing each other, then the facts don't matter anymore. It becomes all about making sure you win and the other side loses. I hope that we on the Left are better than that. I'm not chastising those who lash out. I've certainly been guilty of it myself in some of the back on forth in this and other blogs. And after 8 years of the Bush administration, it seems like we should be able to crow a little bit.

All I'm saying is that we need some perspective. It's easy enough for us to point out inconsistencies in our opponents, but are we capable of doing it to ourselves? What does it benefit us to demonize the opposition? People like Glen Beck and Rush Limabaugh revel in it, but for us to be effective, do we have to sink to that level as well?

We are always going to have to deal with dense individuals and i'm not saying that handing some idiot his ass in a comment isn't satisfying. But we should be careful not to generalize about an entire segment of the country based on individual interactions or polls. I've done it and probably will continue to do it from time to time, but I'm going to try and be better. We have to start somewhere.

P.S. It's always good to hear from you. Don't stay away so long.

Hill said...

The repukes are crazy.

:)

Mycue23 said...

Hill,
Crazy is as crazy does.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I hear you Michael.
I'm scheduled for court tomorrow, fighting city hall don't you know. Hopefully I'll be back to keep my comments coming and scratch out something on my end. LMAO It was a really fine post. Enjoyed.
Be well friend! :-)

Beach Bum said...

The Left and Right in this country are absolutely sure that they are correct in their assessment of the country that any opposing views look absolutely crazy to them.

I hate to sound alarmist but we are on an ever increasingly steep slope with both sides viewing the other as something less than human. The various media pundits only push this polarization even further highlighting the most extreme of themselves in a good light as well as casting the other side in the worst light.

I can't describe how shocked I was during the health care townhall meetings when people started showing up carrying weapons and signs quoting Tom Jefferson about the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed with the blood of tyrants.

That example moved us out of the arena of nasty name calling into political intimidation.

Make no mistake, I'm a liberal by most standards but I know people on the conservative side that are honorable. And while that is true I see the current republican leadership playing games just for the sake of regaining power.

The only question is will this tit for tat continue while we listen to talking heads whose bread and butter is earned by pulling the country apart?

On that part blames does fall on both sides.

Mycue, great post and hell yeah I'm up for a beer next time you are in the area!

Mycue23 said...

Beach,
I think that rational people can agree that demagougery takes place on both sides and that it is absolutely unproductive. It makes millions of dollars for the likes of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, but it does nothing to advance the national debate. When Keith Olbermann does his voice impressions, it makes my skin crawl.

The press certainly has to bear a large portion of the blame for the current politicaly polarized atmosphere. whether it's crowds of tea baggers or politicians on the Hill, everyone seems to be playing to the cameras. The press is more than willing to play up the fringe elements of each debate.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I guess trying to stick to the facts as much as possible is the best that I can do.

And I look forward to that beer next time I'm in town.

tnlib said...

mycue: A hell of a post and one that expresses my feelings and increasing fears of late.

I don't feel deep down in my gut that the extreme right and the Tea Baggers are truly representative of conservatives or Republicans. In the old days the extremist elements would be called reactionaries and that's just what they are - "extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change."

The tragedy lies in the fact that the Republicans - either out of cowardness or for self-serving political reasons - have refused to distance themselves from this element. In fact, they seem to have made a pact with the devil.

But not all conservatives or Republicans are callous, stupid rogues. My 2nd and last husband was one. Since he was The Man, all are friends were conservative. Mostly they were bright, kind people. He was a jerk but it had nothing to do with his politics.

So, I too, am tired of all the cliches and the name-calling. I've commented before that we don't do ourselves any favors by sinking to their level. We need to use the great minds we have been blessed with to counteract the reactionaries intelligently and even civily. Leave it to them to show their collective asses.

Mycue23 said...

Leslie,
As I said, I think that responding forcefully to the nonsense from tea baggers in comments is one thing, but I don't think that the majority of Republicans think the same. I think most people want the country to work. I think most people want the President to make the country a better place. That sort of thing just doesn't make good copy though. From the tea baggers all the way up to the leaders of the House and Senate, it's the outrageous that makes news. We live in a celebrity era when press exposure equals influence. How else can we explain an empty suit like Sarah Palin reaching the heights that she has.

As SJ has said many times, there used to be a time in this country when stupid people were afraid to talk, but now it seems that the least able are somehow the most wanted.

The Republicans are playing a dangerous game with the future of this country. Voting against bills they sponsored and taking contrary positions for the sake of it, is at the very least unproductive. The problems that we face require that we all work together to come up with solutions. And as the President said, it's never going to be 100% of what you want. That is the essence of compromise. It seems to be a lesson that has been lost on Capitol Hill and in the rhetoric that is thrown around the blogosphere from both sides.

I honestly don't know what the answer is. I think the Republicans will overplay their hand with their obstructionism. That doesn't mean that they won't continue to do it until the voters let them know that they don't appreciate it. I think I'm just going to try and do my part regardless of how inconsequential and ineffective it may be.

SJ said...

@Mycue23,
You're right. We can't scream our way out of this. No one is really talking about the fact that this is a game of chicken, or maybe a game of "crazy chicken." For years the Democrats doubled down on presenting evermore erudite, increasingly nerdier and in the case of John Kerry ever-alienating candidates. The GOP did just the opposite, presenting ever "folksier" (read into that what you will) candidates in a trend that culminated with the ascendancy of George W. Bush, a man who if his own father could have had known him as a contemporary in college would have ridiculed him as a slacker and a dumbass and maybe beaten the shit out of him.

Somebody's going to have to blink.

For the sake of the country it had better be the GOP. The Republicans have to stop grasping for whatever idiotic issue or angle they feel can gain traction when they're on the losing side of a debate. No self respecting party should ever resort to nonsense like saying an opponent's a Kenyan, or a Socialist, or "out to kill old people" and yet that's exactly what they've been trying.

Glenn Beck and the Tea Baggers are not the opposing side of any debate, they are the dissolution of a debate into a street fight started by rumors and lies.

As you know, I want to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt. We need them. I've said it repeatedly, but you and I have lived through the most reckless period in the GOP's history: They gambled that deregulation wouldn't wreck the economy, they gambled that fighting two wars at once would just work out in the end, they gambled that tax cuts would spur growth. -When the GOP gambles, the nation loses and loses big. Today's GOP just doesn't respect the idea of danger or consequences. Now they're betting that dragging their heels and running down the clock by essentially shutting down legislative government (remember Newt Gingrich already tried this shit when they had a majority and it didn't work out) until they can get a majority again and hold everything that attacks their interests... but what shape will the country be in by then?

I willing to make a bet myself on that point.
-SJ

tnlib said...

mycue: "it's the outrageous that makes news."

A few months ago I started researching the MSM's coverage of the Tea Baggers during the HC town hall meetings - the obvious slant, the lack of depth, etc. It never made it to my blog. I did come across a couple of articles that expressed the view that the media seemed to feel that HC issues were so complex that it was easier - and more interesting - to cover the protests. In my mind, it also demonstrates how lazy journalists have become and how dummied down news coverage has become.

"And as the President said, it's never going to be 100% of what you want. That is the essence of compromise."

Absolutely. Politics is not a game of winner take all but of give and take, which means compromise. But while both parties need to understand this it is obvious that the GOP is trying to obstruct all.

SJ said...

"I'm willing to make a bet..."

UGH.

Nothing like typing with Bela Lugosi's syntax to destroy the impact of a well reasoned reply and at the very end as well.
-SJ

SJ said...

@tnlib,
"Politics is not a game of winner take all but of give and take, which means compromise."

You are exactly right on that point. All victories on the GOP side since the mid 1990s have been pyrrhic, and will continue to be.
-SJ

Jolly Roger said...

There's one huge difference here, and it cannot be overlooked, because it changes how you think about this issue.

We of the left were informed by facts, where the Rushpubliscums get their wheeol of lies from FOX "News." Our anger had a basis in the truth, rather than something Hannity or Glenn Beck made up.

Mycue23 said...

JR,
It is always better to have the facts on your side. I don't dispute that, but the other side of the aisle would say the same thing. Fox News continues to spout lies and they reinforce them by having their "news" anchors report on the falsehoods spread by their "political commentary" as fact. That does not change the point that ridiculing an argument does not neccesarily facilitate an honest dialouge.

The arguments from Beck and his ilk are based mainly in emotional appeals. They are easily refuted by facts. I think that using those facts, even in the face of continued stubborn refusal to admit said facts, is the only way to wage a successful campaign against those who continue to spread falsehoods for their own purposes.

The facts are easily checked. The problem with some on the Right is that they are willing to take the word of those that are only interested in their own bottom line.