Monday, January 24, 2011

Polls say America fears sodomy more than socialism

There is nothing profound in the pronouncement that politicians only cite public opinion polls that strengthen their argument, promote their cause, and reinforce their agenda.

What is rather interesting is how quickly Republicans have abandoned the "will of the people" rhetoric now that a majority of public opinion polls show growing opposition to the GOP's efforts to overturn President Obama's signature health-care reform law.

After spending the entire campaign season of 2010 railing against reform as a "government takeover" of the health-care industry – an allegation that earned Republicans the 2010 Bullshit of the Year Award from the Pulitzer Prize-winning – the GOP last week took the first step toward manifesting its campaign promise by passing a law in the House to repeal health-care reform.

But just as Republicans begin implementing the "repeal and replace" portion of their "Pledge to America" campaign manifesto – sans the "replace" part, of course, as that would require drafting actual legislation – the ever-fickle mob up and left the GOP corner.

It was as if the public suddenly started tuning out Fox News and tuning into the boring but accurate Cable News Network (CNN). It was as if, overnight, the lies about Obama's "job-killing, budget-busting" reform no longer had the effect of paralyzing Americans with fear of a Kenyan-colonialist-Communist takeover. And every Republican in D.C. was left staring cross-eyed at their lobbyist lovers, at the brink of tears, on the edge of sanity, in the shadows of doubt, wondering if the American electorate suddenly took up huffing ether as an after-work pastime. Whatever the cause of this curse, it seemed voters had turned into a gang of liberal goons. At least that's what it felt like to read the polls.

Nobody has an explanation for why it happened, but it happened nonetheless. Somehow, the populace started to understand what repeal really means: that without the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could once again revoke coverage on a whim, deny care based on pre-existing conditions, and go back raping patients on costs and premiums without cause or pause.

In short, Americans began to fear "socialism" much less than they did sodomy: 

  • A CBS/New York Times poll conducted Jan. 15-19, 2011, shows that 48 percent of Americans support the health-care reform bill compared to 40 percent who oppose it.
  • An Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 40 percent support the law versus 41 percent who oppose it, a significant shift from the 38-47 split in November, and that only one in four back full repeal of the law. 
  • "Strong opposition stands at 30 percent," the Los Angeles Times reported, "close to the lowest level registered in Associated Press-GfK surveys dating to September 2009." 
  • A survey conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal Jan. 13-17, 2011, recorded a tie at 39 percent between supporters and opponents of the law. Those who strongly favor repeal (35 percent) nearly tied with those who strongly opposed repeal (34 percent). 

Of course, fearmongers should rest easy knowing that polls don't really mean anything, which, coincidentally, is the new mantra of the Republican Party now that public opinion no longer reinforces the GOP's anti-anything-Obama agenda.

Polls don't educate the populace about policies. They merely ask for opinions. Opinions that are based on false truths mean nothing. And because Americans watch Fox News more than any other network, most American opinions exist in a galaxy far beyond reality, on a planet populated by other intellectually challenged simian playmates. For Democrats, public opinion should be generally ignored, as it is the job of the intellectual elite to identify the ills of society and seek to correct them via reform. For Republicans, such a shift in public opinion is an omen of the eroding support of the party's base.

As an aside, it would be nice if pollsters recorded only the opinions of educated, intelligent human beings, as it would save us from having to independently decipher how many of the respondents actually knew what they were talking about, but this would necessarily exclude Sarah Palin fans and Glenn Beck followers, Tea Partiers and most libertarians, which would undermine the Republican Party's love of citing polls. What use is public opinion if you can't inflict the populace with blood-sucking parasites that penetrate logic and infiltrate reason with the apocalyptic rhetoric of socialism? If idiots are barred from the polling pool, of what use is the poll in pushing a conservative agenda?

Polling only educated, intelligent people is admittedly ridiculous and unrealistic – not to mention repetitive, as most polls already segregate respondents by party affiliation, and what Republican cares what Democrats think?

With the "will of the people" argument now rolling slowly but steadily into the Democratic Party's court, don't expect Republicans to give public opinion much credence in coming weeks. Like an incarcerated drug dealer, vox populi is no longer a convenient talking point for the politicians who've spent the last year upholding health-care polls as irrefutable gospel and unquestionable evidence for why they're advocating repeal.

Instead, look forward to a post-election continuation of the Republican Party's campaign offensive, equipped with all the scary rhetoric, math manipulation, and hyper-demonization of Obama's "socialist" agenda that characterized the last year or more of right-wing sound machine.

Or, if there is any shred of intelligence within the Republican Party's leadership, they will stop trying to appease the Tea Partiers with a repeal of health-care reform and move on to repealing Wall Street reform, revoking stimulus spending, protecting "traditional marriage." or any of the other bullshit policies they promised to pursue in their "Pledge to America."

(Cross-posted from Muddy Politics.)

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