Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

When Presidents must look like they perform well

All the fuss still ignores main driver of popularity says Steve Korniak at Salon:

That’s because, for all the talk about whether he gave away too much on healthcare or hasn’t reacted angrily enough to the oil spill, Obama (like every president) is a prisoner to the economy. As long as the unemployment rate remains high, no amount of “magic” will restore Obama’s robust January 2009 poll numbers. (At this point, only some kind of international or terrorist incident, which might produce a rally-around-the-flag effect, could do so.)

It is absolutely not a coincidence that the basic themes of Blow’s column were also sounded by pundits in the first half of Ronald Reagan’s first term. Reagan, after all, was the last president to deal with double-digit unemployment. (His presidency also began with broad popularity, high expectations, and a souring economy — sound familiar?) At virtually this same point in his first term (August 1982), Reagan’s approval rating dipped to 41 percent. It was seen as a stunning decline for a man who had been elected in a 44-state landslide less than two years earlier. The unemployment rate when that survey was conducted was 9.8 percent, and trending upward. Today, it is 9.7 percent, with no substantial drop on the immediate horizon.

None of this is to say that Obama hasn’t made mistakes, possibly big mistakes, in his presidency. But they are not the reason why his poll numbers are where they are. Mass opinion doesn’t respond to the details of policy, no matter how important they might be. It responds to the economy. If the economy turns around, Obama’s numbers will, too. If it doesn’t, they won’t. There’s really nothing magical about it.

I believe voters overall do not allow nuance to impact their votes…it is a forced choice game anyway, which may or may not match up to personal thinking or feeling. One of those major drivers is perceived performance and expectation of the ‘economy’ personally or for people we know…examples of the focus on ‘economics’ are everywhere, even if couched in other terms.

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Voter Info and AARP FYI

I came across this site: Voice of the Middle Class. They have organized the candidates by issue and voting record. They have created comparison tables by issue listing the solutions on the side and candidates across the top with a check mark if they support. They have tables by candidate for each issue. You can also see their voting record based on bills related to each issue. Seems like a nice place to start in understanding the differences. There are links to each candidates’ web page.

There is this article I thought would also be of interest: AARP position on Universal Health Care.
It is a collection of info via articles with links on AARP and their influence on the debate. It notes various other front organization they have teamed up with to keep the discussion moving toward private insurance. AARP and the Business Roundtable have joined with SEIU [Service Employees International Union] to form something called Divided We Fail. Divided We Fail is a corporate liberal answer to single payer.

We’re talking some big money here by AARP. Even AARP, which earned $379 million in royalties in 2005, mostly from health insurance sales, appears to favor universal public and private health care coverage…. AARP also said it would use $500 million of insurance sales revenue over the next decade to help people navigate the health care system, with a new counseling service.

One of their links is to an article in the Nation on the drive to privatize medicare.

However, after 2003 the government began shoveling huge sums of money into the Medicare Advantage plans to entice seniors to leave the traditional program-in effect subsidizing privatization… This year the government will pay insurers on average 12 percent more than it costs to provide the same benefits to people who stay in the traditional program, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent group that advises Congress. HMOs will get 10 percent more, but private fee-for-service plans will get a whopping 19 percent more, a subsidy that lets them offer rock-bottom premiums and lots of extras-at least for now.

All I can say in such a climate where hiding one’s true intentions can be done so easily is THANK GOD FOR NET NEUTRALITY!

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