Politics

‘I am big. It’s the electorate that got small’

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Quagmire: ‘We already intervened twice. You mean we have to go back there again?’– Vox, TPM editors contemplating another rescue mission of MIT Obamacare expert  Jonathan Gruber.  P.S.: I told you so. P.P.S.:  Gruber seems more clumsy, unpolished and unfiltered — even goofy — than slick. Slick would be worse. …

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Psst: History is on the wrong side of history ….

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The genius of Valerie Jarrett: New Republic‘s Noam Scheiber, discussing the plus side of Jarrett’s celebrity-itis:

In some cases, this outlook has served the administration well. Jarrett made an ally of Rupert Murdoch on immigration reform …

Huh? Murdoch was a supporter of “comprehensive immigration reform” under Bush in 2006-7. How much convincing did he need to support virtually the same reform under Obama? …

P.S.: You might also ask what good the 90% transformation of Fox into a pro-amnesty network has done for Obama’s cause. But I suppose that’s not Jarrett’s fault. …

P.P.S.: Vox’s Matt Yglesias worries that future White Houses might not work as well as Obama’s. …

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I don’t need to win elections. Just let me control the exit polls: Have people noticed how the traditional media-consortium exit poll has become a powerful tool for the liberal/MSM to spin elections it loses?  Example: The midterms were a significant defeat for supporters of “comprehensive immigration reform.”  Luckily for them they’d pre-planted an immigration question in the exit poll, asking if voters preferred to give illegals a “chance to apply for legal status” or to have them “deported to the country they came from.”  The ‘do-you-want- to-deport-them-all’ question is a hoary device guaranteed to produce a lopsided “no” result. The trouble is the current debate is not about whether to ‘deport them all’ — illegal immigrants are currently under virtually no threat of deportation (unless they’re caught crossing the border) and they won’t be even if no “reform” bill is passed.  (The debate is more about whether to make sure enforcement measures are in place before those who are living here illegally are legalized). What’s stunning is that almost 40% of the voters – including 23% of Democrats — were pissed off enough to answer ‘Yes, deport ’em.’ …

P.S.: The exit poll’s question is stacked at both ends. The phrase “chance to apply for legal status” suggests the legalization process will be selective, sort of like applying for a scholarship. In reality, the leading”reform” proposals contemplate a blanket mass amnesty that would be difficult not to qualify for. …

P.P.S. — Mission accomplished: Two days after the election, White House press secretary Josh Earnest cited the exit poll for the proposition that voters really supported Obama’s immigration plans:

I do think that there is ample data to indicate that a lot of the policies that the President himself has advocated are strongly supported by those who participated in the election; that from support for a path to citizenship for immigrants who have been in this country for an extended period of time, to the President’s handling of things like Ebola or ISIL, …. Now, these results are notable for a couple of reasons. One is, as you pointed out, that the electorate skewed Republican, that more Republicans showed up. But yet according to the findings of these exit polls, there is strong support for some of the priorities and policies that the President has carried out. [E.A.]

Who you gonna believe — actual election results or the media’s cleverly concocted poll question? … The scariest possibility, of course, is that Earnest isn’t being cynical but is faithfully reflecting  Obama’s sincere belief that the exits accurately captured public opinion. Thank God he has Valerie Jarrett around to tell him the harsh truth …

Wait, there’s more: The exit poll question asking voters about their top issue was stacked too. It was asked only after those polled were barraged with 8 questions about the economy . Gee, they (45%) thought the economy was most important!  My issue, immigration, came in at #3 with 14%. … (I have no doubt that the economy was voters’ #1 concern. But the exit-pollsters apparently weren’t taking any chances. The questions on foreign policy, health care and immigration, unlike the 8 questions on the economy, came after the ‘most important issue’ question.) …

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Things That Always Seemed Like Frauds Dept: Interesting bit at the end of this Ezra Klein post, basically admitting that the Obama-tries-to-transcend-partisanship theme — the basic frame for most MSM coverage of his presidency — was always a self-serving tactic. Klein quotes Mark Schmitt from 2007:

 In other words, perhaps we are being too literal in believing that “hope” and bipartisanship are things that Obama naively believes are present and possible, when in fact they are a tactic, a method of subverting and breaking the unified conservative power structure.

Claiming the mantle of bipartisanship and national unity, and defining the problem to be solved (e.g. universal health care) puts one in a position of strength, and Republicans would defect from that position at their own risk. The public, and younger voters in particular, seem to want an end to partisanship and conflictual politics, and an administration that came in with that premise (an option not available to Senator Clinton), would have a tremendous advantage, at least for a moment.

If only Jonathan Gruber had said that, it might have gone viral. The alternative, more accurate view: It was crazy, and more than a bit disrespectful, to expect Republicans to go along with any sort of universal health care.  They’re Republicans. They oppose it. They think it’s a bad idea. Even before “polarization” they thought it was a bad idea — if they didn’t, we’d have had it fifty years ago. Expecting them to agree to some version or other in the name of bipartisanship is like Andrew Sullivan expecting straights to get turned on by the sex scene in Brokeback Mountain. Would you ask McGovernites to transcend partisanship and support the Vietnam War? Just a little war? A sensitive, compromise war approved by Scoop Jackson? 

It was always clear that if you wanted universal health care you’d have to just beat the Republicans (which is what happened in the end). Nurturing any other expectation in the public’s mind was as cunningly tendentious a bit of framing as that biased exit poll question — more cunning, actually, since even sophisticated reporters.seem to have actually believed it. …

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