Swing State Pres

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

February 2015 Month in Review: Not How Boehner and McConnell Drew it Up in the Playbook

A Clinton is on the defensive for secretive behavior, and a Bush is in Iowa.  I believe we are reaching the turning point where coverage of the next presidential campaign has begun to overshadow coverage of everything else in its path, including any world event short of epic magnitude. 

The world was an interesting, if not epic, place this month.  The Republicans failed miserably in their attempts to prove that they could be responsible stewards of Congress.  First, they finally passed the Keystone pipeline bill, their signature piece of legislation.  The fact that it was their first effort was itself a cause for grumbling from their base, who would have preferred more dramatic (and not simply symbolic) goals (such as, say, overturning Obamacare).  President Obama swiftly vetoed it, there was no ruckus, and that was that.

"Not going well..."
Then, the GOP House and Senate could not agree on how to handle the Department of Homeland Security budget.  They had chosen “defunding” Homeland Security as their method of protesting Obama’s unilateral immigration reform, a peculiar target given the state of terrorism in the world (and in the wake of the “Charlie” murders and ISIS threats).  Having made that choice, they then could not agree on an endgame, and took the nation to yet another shutdown deadline.  And then, they meekly folded, fully funding DHS, and tucking their tails between their legs. 

"...not going well at all."
It is no partisan statement to say that the GOP control of Congress is off to a disastrous start.  I’m sure Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would agree.  NFL coaches often “script” the first 10-15 plays of a game, and if the GOP leadership did this, what actually happened bore no resemblance to that game plan.  It is hard to imagine that a major wing of the GOP House still does not understand that if the GOP does not have 60 votes in the Senate, the Democratic minority has a huge voice in legislation.  You would think they would have learned that lesson when the shoe was on the other foot.

"Hey, where's Joe Biden?"
No other legislation could move forward with all this going on.  But John Boehner amused himself by inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to the Congress without bothering to tell President Obama.  Bibi leaped at the opportunity to give his electorate (he is facing a tough re-election challenge and the vote is next week) a chance to watch him rail against the potential Iran nuclear arms treaty on a global stage.  Adding insult to insult, 47 GOP Senators wrote a letter to the leaders of Iran, reminding them that whatever treaty John Kerry was able to strike required legislative approval and could be reversed by the next president “with a stroke of the pen.”  I am certain that Republican stalwarts from past eras (e.g., Kissinger, Baker, Powell and the like) are shuddering at this insertion of partisan politics into delicate global diplomatic negotiations.

"Let's both uphold ACA this time!"
The Court heard arguments on the latest challenge to Obamacare.  This all has to do with four simple words inserted into an obscure clause of the tax portion of the law, which suggest that if the exchange used by a state’s citizen was not “established by the State,” that citizen was not eligible for a subsidy.  You may recall I was one of the few that correctly called that the Roberts Court would uphold the law the first time around; I am dead certain they will do so again.  The overwhelming evidence of Congress’s intent, plus the devastating impact on the entire law if this challenge was upheld, all argue for a rather simple opinion to deny the challenge and uphold the law…my guess is 6-3, with the Chief and Kennedy siding with the four liberals.

I will be issuing separate updates on the 2016 races at the end of every month, beginning in a few weeks.  We shall see if Hillary takes any lumps in the polls.  For what is it worth, I do not see the email issue as rising to the level of a serious wound, unless, of course, they somehow find a whole pile of Benghazi material in her trash file.

If you missed it, look below for my last article which was an exhaustive review of the 2016 GOP field.

OBAMA APPROVAL RATING

Obama’s hot streak came to an end, as his approval rating took a modest step backward.  There was no good news coming out of the White House, just playing defense with the veto, Bibi and the email issue.

Obama Approval Rating
Election Day 2012
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
10-Mar
  Approve
49.6
43.8
45.7
46.3
45.8
  Disapprove
47.4
52.1
50.7
49.3
50.1
  Net
2.2
-8.3
-5.0
-3.1
-4.3

ECONOMETER

The Econometer also suffered a very mild pullback, due to the GDP adjustment, rising gas prices and a dip in consumer confidence.  But the jobs report was exceptionally strong and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5%, well below what Mitt Romney promised in his first four years in office (“below 6%”).

Econometer
Election Day 2012
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
10-Mar
Econometer
0.0
89.4
99.9
108.8
106.4
  Unemployment Rate
7.9
5.8
5.6
5.7
5.5
  Consumer Confidence
73.1
88.7
92.6
102.9
96.4
  Price of Gas
3.71
2.94
2.52
2.17
2.44
  Dow Jones
 13,330
    17,758
    17,693
    17,543
    18,057
  GDP
3.1
3.9
5.0
2.6
2.2

OBAMACARE RATINGS

Perhaps because of the publicity around the Supreme Court, Obamacare went back into the double-digit net negative zone.  The Court will rule in June, and assuming they uphold the law intact, the slow, steady progression to a net positive will continue.  It will be a long arc, but it will bend toward approval.

Obamacare
Election Day 2012
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
10-Mar
  For/Favor
40.0
40.3
37.7
42.0
41.9
  Oppose/Against
50.8
54.0
49.3
49.0
52.4
  Net
-10.8
-13.7
-11.7
-7.0
-10.6

CONGRESSIONAL GENERIC BALLOT

We are back to an even split in the generic ballot.  I’m curious to see what happens next month after the full weight of the GOP retreat on DHS and the various Israel/Iran issues take hold.

Generic Ballot
Election Day 2012
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
10-Mar
  Democrat
46.3
40.3
39.0
39.3
38.8
  Republican
46.0
41.8
39.2
37.8
39.0
  Net
0.3
-1.5
-0.2
1.5
-0.3


1 comment:

  1. i wonder how much does gas/oil price fluctuation have to do with president's approval rating. gas price was super low last month and have spiked up since.

    also, the 3 branches of government are separated in that congress controls the purse string of our nation's treasury. they do not have right of diplomacy as far as i know. it certainly is a histrocal precedent that the repubs in congress invited the israel pm and wrote that letter to iranians. however, does this pass the constitutional acid test? well, with the supreme court stacked with conservatives,..

    ReplyDelete

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