President Obama loves to point to a poll that said 90 percent of all Americans wanted tougher background checks. After the measure failed in the Senate, Obama wanted that 90 percent to let Congress know how they felt.
But a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll suggests that post-vote attitudes stray from the wide support for the background check measure before the debate, which hovered around 85% in multiple polls.
A plurality of Americans–47%–say they are either “angry” or “disappointed” with the Senate’s action on gun legislation, far different from the amount of people who strongly approved the proposal before the vote. Meanwhile, 39% say they are “relieved” or “happy” about the vote.
I always thought those earlier numbers were soft, and they were.
You see, one of the issues has always been that many polls don’t really capture how committed to something a respondent really is. Someone may support the idea of tougher background checks, but how important is really is to them.
The practice of earmarks has come under scrutiny in recent years and some members in both chambers have pushed for bans on the practice because of the propensity of their colleagues to use them for less than noble purposes. The House of Representatives did enact a moratorium, though it doesn’t seem to be all that effective.
Some say that restricting earmarks is unconstitutional because it cuts in on congressional spending authority in Article I, Section 8. Others say that earmarks represent a fraction of the budget and eliminating them does nothing in the way of restoring fiscal responsibility. The former has some merit, but we know how James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, felt about spending for pork projects. It’s hard to see that he would find funding peanut research meets any constitutional litmus test.
The latter is true; however, earmarks are the epitome of what is wrong with Washington, DC. Yes, reforming entitlements and cutting spend elsewhere is incredibly important, but earmarks are a symbolic part of the battle. If we can’t cut this fraction of spending out of the budget or reform the earmark process, are we naive enough to believe that we can reform entitlements?
Back in 2006, at the height of the discussion about ethics in Congress, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) explained that earmarks are the “currency of corrpution.” Not only were members using them to steer business to donors and friends, they were being used by leadership of both parties to sway votes on legislation.
If you’ve listened to pundits over the last couple years, you’ve no doubt heard them say that the Tea Party, a grassroots movement that was essential to Republicans taking control of the House in the 2010, doesn’t have the influence that it once had. But the IRS scandal that has plagued the White House this week has placed new emphasis on the dangers of big government that were the central focus of the Tea Party and, as Sean Sullivan explained this morning at the Washington Post, it could breathe new life in the movement:
A product of frustration with the government’s direction — specifically the Obama administration’s decisions on spending, taxes and the creation of the federal health-care law — the tea party was angst channeled into activism. Now comes another moment of widespread frustration, if a smaller one, with the potential to incite a new round of advocacy.
Even as the tea party sentiment is not as widespread as it once was, the ideology underlying the movement remains a force in Congress. Look at the House, where an unruly conservative GOP conference has caused headaches for leadership. The House will hold yet another vote on a repeal of Obamacare on Thursday, an effort designed in part to satisfy freshmen lawmakers who want the vote on their record.
As noted yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has ruffled some feathers inside the Republican Party due to the strong stand that he took with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) against President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals.
The trio had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promising to filibuster any new gun control measures. While it started with just the three of them, the signatories to the letter eventually grew to 16.
During a FreedomWorks seminar last week, Cruz noted that he was yelled at by some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate because they looked like a “bunch of squishes” to constituents back home because they hadn’t yet signed onto the letter. Cruz told them that they had an alternative, in that they could vote to filibuster and “not be a bunch of squishes.”
Cruz’s remarks haven’t sat well with some Republican bloggers, including Jennifer Rubin, who writes the “Right Turn” blog at the Washington Post.
In a post yesterday, Rubin, whose credibility has come into question after she proved herself to be a hack for Mitt Romney, slammed Cruz, essentially calling him a “jerk” for giving this story in public.
Even with gun control becoming a priority for President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, Americans are expressing a firm belief in gun ownership. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 51% of Americans say that having guns in the home make them feel safer:
Lost amid the debate is the fact that for the first time a majority of Americans say having a gun in the household makes it a safer place to be, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By a wide 51 to 29 percent margin, more people say a gun in the house makes it safer rather than more dangerous.
That’s a near complete reversal from a Gallup poll in 2000, when the public split 35 to 51 percent on whether guns make the home safer or more dangerous.
People with guns in their homes lead the way in touting the safety benefits: 75 percent say they make the house safer, compared with just 30 percent of those with no gun at home who say the same.
Notice the swing from 13 years ago. The tables have completely turned in support of gun ownership — and this comes at a time when politicians in Washington are trying to use a senseless tragedy to push long-held anti-gun ideas. Talk about losing the messaging war.
Why do Americans feel safer with a gun in the home? Because it gives them piece of mind. For every tragic story, there are many others that show that guns prevent crimes and save lives.
President Barack Obama got some bad news this week. A week after the White House released its new budget, which calls for another $1 trillion in tax hikes, Americans don’t seem all that impressed, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Tuesday:
President Obama’s courtship of Republicans hit a critical point last week when he unveiled a budget proposal pitched as an effort at compromise. But a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans’ initial reactions to the framework tilting negative, with broad opposition from Republicans and little public support for a key idea to reduce increases in Social Security payments.
Overall, roughly one-third of Americans offer no opinion on Obama’s budget, but those who do, lean against it (30 percent approve; 38 percent disapprove). The negativity stems from large opposition among Republicans (63 percent) and a negative split among independents (26 percent approve; 41 percent disapprove).
It would seem, at least this time around, that Americans aren’t buying into the the stale class warfare rhetoric that they’ve endlessly heard from President Obama. Unbelievably, the White House is trying to spin this budget as fiscally responsible.
If you want to get a feel for what the Republican establishment is thinking, you only need to read Jennifer Rubin, who runs the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blog. With Sen. Rand Paul’s profile on the rise thanks to his 13-hour filibuster, Rubin took a shot at his foreign policy views:
There will be a long-coming debate on the right, and between right and left, on U.S. foreign policy in the post-9/11 and post-Arab Spring world. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) doesn’t like the word “isolationism,” but his policy choices (removing bases, bringing troops home, ending foreign aid) bear an uncanny resemblance to the foreign policy of those who, well, are isolationists.
I have written that his ideological partisans at the other end of the intervention/isolation spectrum have not done a bang-up job of justifying their views, formulating reasonable policies, or carving out a proper balance between the executive and legislative branches. This was of course greatly impeded by an Obama administration that is the least transparent in history and has a nasty habit of subsuming foreign policy to electoral politics.
The term “isolationist” is a pejorative used by neo-conservatives to scare Republican voters into giving them carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they want on foreign policy under the guise of the “war on terror.” But isolationism has two major components, neither of which apply to Sen. Paul.
Don’t mess with the White House’s messaging on the sequester. That’s essentially what Bob Woodward, the famous Washington Post journalist, was recently told by an Obama Administration official.
Woodward, who released a book last year about the events that led to the sequester, wrote last week that the spending cuts set to take place tomorrow were the White House’s idea and he has been making television appearances for several days now repeating that claim.
During an interview last night on CNN, Woodward told Wolf Bitlzer that he was willing to debate the sequester with someone from the White House. Biltzer explained, “We invited the White House to send someone here to debate this issue with you, and they declined.”
“Why? Why? Because it’s irrefutable — that’s exactly what happened,” Woodward flatly stated. Woodward then noted that he was getting some pushback, telling Bitlzer that a “very senior person” at the White House told him that he “will regret doing this.”
“It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters ‘you’re gonna regret’ doing something that you believe in,” Woodward explained.
While writing the editoral, Woodward apparently let the White House know what he was doing and he was met with resistance from Gene Sperling, a top economic aide, who raised his voice at the journalist.
President Barack Obama will soon have a decision to make the Keystone XL pipeline. Given that this project would have a tremendous economic benefit to the country in terms of both job creation and taking a step toward energy independence, the decision shouldn’t be a tough one to make. Unfortunately, President has shot down Keystone once before to appease his radical environmentalist base, a decision that left even the Washington Post questioning his motives.
While environmentalists are firmly against the project, some labor unions spoke out in support of Keystone XL during a press conference yesterday at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM):
Matt Koch, Vice President for Oil Sands and Arctic Issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, pointed out that he heard from local chambers of commerce and small business owners who “understand the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline to American jobs and economic security.” Jobs will be created, tax revenue will increase, and energy supplies will be made more secure.
Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO said approving Keystone XL is the action that would meet President Obama’s promise of an “all-of-the-above” energy policy.
Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
The odds that $85 billion in “unthinkable, draconian” sequestration spending cuts will go into effect in March as scheduled are looking better. The odds must be getting better because, as if on cue, the horror stories have commenced.
A perfect example is an article in the Washington Post that details the angst and suffering being experienced by federal bureaucrats and other taxpayer dependents over the mere possibility that the “drastic” cuts will occur. You see, the uncertainty surrounding the issue has forced government employees to draw up contingency plans. Contingency plans? Oh, the humanity!
From the article:
Sequestration, as the law is known, has sent agencies scrambling to buffer themselves, spending time and money that ultimately may be for naught. Even if cuts take effect, it might not be for long — making the hiring freezes, canceled training, deferred projects, and lengthy planning for furloughs and other contingencies an exercise in inefficiency.