The Associated Press, in a story about the new AP poll, interviews a voter who captures the dynamic perfectly :
“If Romney and Obama were going head to head at this point in time I would probably move to Romney,” said Dale Bartholomew, 58, a manufacturing equipment salesman from Marengo, Ill. Bartholomew said he agrees with Obama’s proposed economic remedies and said partisan divisions have blocked the president’s initiatives.
But, he added: “His inability to rally the political forces, if you will, to accomplish his goal is what disappoints me.”
And there you have it. This voter agrees with Obama’s policies, but blames the failure to get them enacted on generalized partisanship and Obama’s inability to roll over the GOP — and is prepared to vote against him as a result.
I don’t know if this voter is representative of broader sentiment or not, but I suspect he is, and his reaction to what’s happening is important to flag as a clue to a dynamic we should be watching. Voters either don’t understand, or they don’t care, that the GOP has employed an unprecedented level of filibustering in order to block all of Obama’s policies, even ones that have majority public support from Dems, independents and Republicans alike.
Their reaction, in a nutshell, seems to be: The Obama-led government isn’t acting on the economy? Obama can’t get his policies passed? Well, he must be weak.
Indeed, if the GOP’s strategy is to deliberately create government dysfunction out of a belief that the public will blame Obama for it and lose faith on government in general, turning to GOP ideology instead, it very well may be working. The new AP poll finds that only 41 percent say government can do much to create jobs, a finding that’s borne out in other polls.
What’s probably exacerbating this situation is the truly awful reporting we’re seeing from multiple news orgs on what’s happening here. Jed Lewison rounds up a whole bunch of headlines this morning that only tell readers that the “Senate” rejected the $35 billion in state aid to protect the jobs of teachers and firefighters. Again: News orgs that don’t clearly report that Senate Republicans filibustered the overall jobs bill, and are doing the same with individual pieces of it, refusing to allow a straight up majority vote on any of them, even though they have broad majority public support, are simply misleading their readers and viewers.
This comes after news orgs widely blared the news that the Senate GOP had introduced its own jobs plan without soliciting the views of independent experts on whether that plan would actually ... create jobs. These epic media pathologies, as Kevin Drum has termed them, benefit Republicans, pure and simple.