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Liberals hate the debt deal. So what?

at 06:30 AM ET, 08/03/2011

In the 48 hours or so since the parameters of the compromise legislation to raise the debt ceiling went public, liberals have made quite clear their dissatisfaction with the deal.

Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver famously (infamously?) referred to it as a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich,” while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, predicted that the super committee created by the bill would ultimately be “protecting the interests of the wealthy and large corporations.”

Outside of Congress, reaction was even more damning for President Obama. “The President Surrenders” read the headline of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s piece on the deal; Krugman went on to describe it as a “disaster” and a “political catastrophe.”

And, in the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll Obama had lost considerable altitude among liberals on his handling of the jobs issue.

Liberal anger and disappointment with the president is real. But will it have real political consequences heading into 2012?

The answer is “sort of.”

The most obvious impact will come in fundraising, where virtually no one in the Democratic donor base — affluent (and liberal) individuals, trial lawyers, organized labor — is happy with the deal.

While Obama’s $86 million haul in his first three months of active fundraising suggests he will have few problems raising the money he needs for his reelection campaign, it will almost certainly be more difficult for House and Senate Democrats — many of whom voted for the final deal — to collect cash from a disgruntled donor base.

It remains to be seen whether this will be a temporary fundraising hit or a longer-lasting one, as Democratic donors hold out against those who cut the deal. But either way, it’s likely to result in a unhelpful financial lull for Democrats hoping to retake control of the House and keep control of the Senate in 2012.

A secondary, but far harder to gauge, impact is on the question of enthusiasm.

One of the keys to Obama’s sweeping victory in 2008 was the fervent following — in terms of campaign contributions and volunteer hours — from the liberal base of the party. Their energy proved infectious as the Obama effort went from campaign to cause.

Even before the president cut this debt deal, some of that intensity of feeling had worn off as liberals grew discouraged by what they believed to be a series of concessions made by Obama — from not closing the Guantanamo Bay prison to an extension of the Bush tax cuts.

That sense of abandonment almost certainly has grown among liberals over the last 48 hours. But it’s hard to imagine even the most embittered liberal choosing to vote for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (or whoever else Republicans nominate) over Obama. Yes, liberals are disappointed in Obama, but they still agree with him far more often — and on a far broader range of issues — than they would with any Republican nominee.

“The fact is liberals and progressives have no place to go,” acknowledged one Democratic consultant sympathetic to the liberal cause.

That fact that the talk of a primary challenge to Obama in 2012 was non-existent in the wake of the debt ceiling deal speaks to the fact that, while many more liberal Democrats may hold their noses when voting for the president this time around, they will be voting for him nonetheless.

So, while Democrats broadly will likely suffer on the money and enthusiasm front in the near term from liberal discontent over the debt ceiling deal, it’s harder to see the longer term impact.

Obama, Dems, GOP bruised by debt debate: Nobody came out of the debt debate smelling like roses.

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, Obama, Republicans and Democrats all got subpar marks for their role in the drama.

Obama did the best, earning a 46 percent approval rating. Democrats got a 35 percent rating, while the GOP got 30 percent.

Overall, 44 percent of people approved to the deal that was reached, with 52 percent disapproving.

California races filling out: With the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission approving its final draft map on Friday, some of the more competitive congressional races in California are starting to take shape.

The map isn’t final, but we’ve got a good idea about where people might run.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), for one, isn’t tipping his hand about whether he would run in the new Republican-leaning 8th district, rather than running in the swing 31st district he was drawn into. Republicans have suggested that Lewis could move to the 8th — where most of his current constituents reside — and Rep. David Dreier (R) could run in the 31st against Rep. Joe Baca (D).

Moorpark City Councilman (and “Bad News Bears” child actor!) David Pollock (D) has filed against Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) in a district that will be tough for the GOP to hold.

Democratic state Assemblywoman Alyson Huber (D) files to challenge Dr. Ami Bera in the Democratic primary to face Rep. Dan Lungren (R). Lungren is among the most vulnerable Republicans.

And state assemblyman David Valadao (R) filed to run in the new swing 21st district, which could pit him against Rep. Jim Costa (D) if Costa moves districts. Costa could also run in the more Democratic 16th, but Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D) may stand in his way.

Bryant skates in Mississippi governor primary: Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant has won the Republican nomination in the state’s open governor’s race, and will be the favorite to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour (R).

In the Democratic primary, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree and businessman Bill Luckett are headed for an Aug. 23 runoff after neither secured the 50 percent plus one required. Late Tuesday, Dupree led 44 percent to 39 percent.

Barbour is term-limited, and Republicans are favored to hold the seat.

Fixbits:

Rob Steele, the 2010 GOP nominee against Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), won’t challenge former congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) in the state’s Senate primary.

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry aren’t great friends.

Sarah Palin re-hashes the attack on Bill Ayers.

Rep. David Wu’s (D-Ore.) resignation could come down as early as Friday. Wu, who is entangled in a sex scandal, had said he would resign following the resolution of the debt limit debate.

Kentucky GOP governor candidate David Williams’s father gives $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) says he is unaware of the campaign finance allegations that threaten to hinder his campaign. He has been visiting troops in the Middle East.

Must-reads:

Mitt Romney to pick up pace in new phase of 2012 campaign” — Philip Rucker, Washington Post

Redistricting Journal: Dems, GOP fighting to a draw” — Mark Gersh, CBS News

The Outsider” — Abby Rapoport, Texas Observer

Muslims in U.S. optimistic about future, poll finds” — AP

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