Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Kinda Kool-Aid are They Drinking?

According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 13 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction. Thirteen percent. Aside from the fact that it's appalling that 87 percent of Americans believe the country is going down the tubes -- I'll get to that in a moment -- does anyone else wonder what the hell kinda Kool-Aid that 13 percent must be drinking to actually believe that things are hunky-dory?

Appropriately enough, that unlucky 13 percent is the worst result on the infamous "right way/wrong way" question in the history of the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. The last time Americans were even close to this pessimistic was July 1992 — the year a sax-playing southern governor with a zipper problem beat the proud father of our current presidential disaster. At that point, only 14 percent of the country thought we were on the right track -- giving Hillary the go-ahead to start shopping for that perfect inaugural ball dress and a big fat hint to incumbents George and Dan to go ahead and schedule the moving vans for Jan. 20, 1993.

Not surprisingly, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, released today, also finds that the lagging economy continues to be uppermost in voters' minds, and -- news flash, campers -- it’s an issue that the electorate expects both Obama and McCain to tackle with their vice-presidential picks. Poll respondents especially think that McCain needs to find a new BFF who’s an expert on the economy, considering that the Maverick has admitted he's a novice himself. Hmmm... wonder if Mitt Romney funded this poll? It seems to be making his argument that a McCain/Romney ticket would be a good idea -- and hey, from a progressive perspective maybe it would, considering these two guys together have about as much chemistry and charisma as a couple of 2 x 4's.

Voters want Obama to select a sidekick who's a military or foreign affairs expert — but an economic expert runs a close second. Ironically enough -- or perhaps given the general pessimism among voters when it comes to the economy, it makes sense -- the poll also shows that voters actually don’t have much confidence in either candidate's ability to get the economy back on track. Voters have the right of it there, since there is typically very little that a president can unilaterally do to improve the economy.
Americans are clearly looking to Washington as well as their own state capitals for action on the bread and butter, kitchen table issues that are draining our wallets and keeping us up at night. It's often said that people vote their pocketbooks, and they often do. But clever political spin doctors have figured out how to distort divisive social issues, the so-called wedge issues, to induce people to vote against their own best economic interests -- that's another flavor of Kool-Aid. Reagan Democrats are a perfect example -- seduced into voting Republican and hoping for trickle down economics that never quite trickled down to them. I think of people obsessing about a flag pin in this election and I get nervous, as well. While it looks like voters are focused squarely on the economy, and that's clearly a plus for the Democrats, it's a long way until November and the swift boats have yet to come out in force.

Copyright 2008. The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous said...

re do I begin?

I believe that you are spot-on regarding the harbingers of doom for Johnny "Walnuts" McCain's campaign, considering the poll numbers.

I don't think McCain has any chance of significantly differentiating himself from the majority of today's Republican party in general, or the policies of the current administration in particular, to have much of a fighting chance at the White House. Having said that, I agree that the swift boats haven't yet slipped their cables.

I won't comment about VP candidates... time will tell, but I will say is that a President has one major role to play regarding the stabilization of the economy, and that is: Restoring consumer confidence. When the people are fearful, the economy tanks. The people have been fearful since GWB took office. That's the reason the Republicans are about to take a nation-wide ass kicking in November.

ZaftigRedhead said...

Your point about the president's ability to restore consumer is well taken, gunfighter. The president does have a bully pulpit, but it's not about telling us to go shopping and spend our rebate checks. It's about leadership and Americans feeling secure in the course that's been set.