The Right’s Guff

From John Avlon at THE DAILY BEAST:

The cycle of over-reach and backlash is in over-drive these days—with significant implications for the 2012 presidential election. In pivotal swing-states where voters narrowly elected Republican governors in 2010—like Florida and Ohio (with 47 electoral votes between them)—evidence of buyer’s remorse is piling up fast.

The latest sign: on Tuesday, Alvin Brown became the first Democrat elected mayor of Jacksonville—Florida’s largest city—in 20 years.

Just seven months ago, Republicans swept the Sunshine State with Tea Party-backed candidate Rick Scott winning the governor’s office with a 1.2 percent margin of victory.

But instead of consolidating support by reaching out and winning over the reasonable edge of the opposition, as popular past Republican governors like Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist have done, Scott continued with his campaign posture of refusing to talk to the press. He canceled a $2 billion federal high-speed rail project and is seeking to delay (and functionally deny) implementation of an anti-gerrymandering reform ballot referendum overwhelmingly passed in 2010.

Now Rick Scott finds himself the least popular newly elected governor in Florida history. It’s not just a matter of the honeymoon being over—this looks like a drunken Vegas marriage heading for a shotgun divorce.

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Fifty-five percent of Florida voters disapprove of Scott’s job in office, while only 32 percent approve, according to a mid-April PPP poll. The Suffolk University poll found that 41 percent of respondents said the new gov’s first months in office had been “negative and damaging” while only 26 percent described it as “positive and productive.” The analysis by Suffolk Political Director David Paleologos is worth quoting at length: “It’s taken Gov. Scott less than 100 days to begin a free fall in popularity and to generate negative perceptions about job performance and damaging the state he was elected to lead…There has been a backlash in public opinion on both sides of the aisle in response to his aggressive and uncompromising leadership style.”


In Ohio, Governor John Kasich is struggling as well, after narrowly defeating Democrat incumbent Ted Strickland last fall. A new Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday found Kasich’s approval numbers decidedly upside down, with 49 percent of voters disapproving and 38 percent approving of his efforts in office to date.


[W]hile rust-belt unemployment numbers should point to a decidedly uphill climb for President Obama, Republicans’ failure to build on their 2010 gains bodes badly for conservatives in the Buckeye State, especially in a high-turnout election.

It’s not an isolated dynamic—the accelerated buyer’s remorse is evident in other states as well. In Maine, Tea Party-backed Republican Paul LePage[‘s] stormy tenure has been marked by skirmishes over removing labor-history murals, initially refusing to attend MLK day celebrations and refusing to sign legislation to ban the chemical BPA because—in his words—”the worst case is some women may have little beards.” A recent poll found that only three out of 10 Maine residents approved of LePage’s job in office.

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker’s new effort to have same-sex couples’ hospital visitation rights rescinded is unlikely to improve his approval ratings, especially among the 27 percent of independent voters in the state.

There will be those who look at the rapid reversal of fortunes for these GOP governors and project their ideological biases on the results. Some liberal activists will argue that the backlash is a result of “anti-union” budget cuts, justifying more Medi-scare attacks. Likewise, some conservatives will dismiss the significance of plummeting approval ratings, saying instead that they are a short-term reaction to an executive making tough decisions to impose fiscal discipline.

But fighting for fiscal responsibility does not have to be a polarizing process that dooms an executive to unpopularity. It’s largely a matter of approach.

In New York, newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo closed a $10 billion budget deficit without new taxes or new debt. Instead, he cut spending and gained concessions from public sector unions. His approval ratings actually went up—reaching a sky-high 73 percent.


The larger issue is one of trust. Swing voters supported Republicans in 2010 because they wanted a check and balance against unified Democratic control of Washington. They wanted to rein in unsustainable spending in the name of generational responsibility. They took Republicans at their word that social conservative evangelizing would be ‘de-emphasized’ in favor of more urgent economic concerns.

But the conservative activist crowd couldn’t help themselves. Like liberals did after 2008, they misinterpreted their election victory as an ideological mandate.  […] Extremes are always ultimately their own sides worst enemy—in this case, making it more difficult for Republicans to win swing votes in these pivotal swing states come 2012.


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26 responses to “The Right’s Guff

  1. John Erickson

    One of my faves from my temporary state of residence, Ohio, had Kasich stating he would not live in the governor’s mansion – supposedly to save money. One problem – by living in his house, he got a staff at his house, including maintenance, PLUS retained the maintenance staff at the Governor’s mansion. Double the costs, not fewer costs. Not counting all the other stupid stuff he’s done. No wonder one of my other blog friends has a weekly post called “What The F*CK Is With Ohio?”. The sad thing is, she ALWAYS has something to post – sometimes multiple items.
    Now you know why my nickname in her group is No-Hio….. 😀

    • these guys love to talk about fiscal responsibility, but that’s all they are–talk. i don’t know if they’re stupid, willfully ignorant, or only care for their own future, not their states or the people who live in them (the last one is my guess for most likely). i know that rick scott is definitely only interested in expanding his own fortune by making sure he doesn’t have to pay taxes and by pushing for laws that will make his urgent care centers more money. he’s not even smart enough to try to make believe that isn’t true. he’s so blatant that it’s obvious he really doesn’t give a shit about what citizens think.

  2. jean-philippe

    Avlon trying to sell that the mild and mediocre healthcare reform is extreme? Wow…

    • he used to be a speechwriter for rudy 9-11 giuliani, so i’m not too surprised that he think that the dems overreached in 2008. however, i think it makes what he said out these 4 imbeciles even more interesting. it’s pretty clear that rethugs hate them, too. the only ones who like them are the fringe.

  3. Dang, if only the election were this November instead of next November! The whole lot of them would be swept away. “DUDS video” indeed. The middle two guys definitely look like you wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley. Even with the teabags.

    • that can work 2 ways. it makes me nervous that the election is so far away, because i always worry about the dems screwing things up. on the other hand, it might work to the dems’ advantage, because it seems that the rethugs are the ones shooting themselves in their feet this time around.

  4. Rick Snyder didn’t make the list? C0mpared to the rest of that crowd, he might look reasonable, but only in comparison. Just the same, Inspired and I will be circulating recall petitions for him throughout all of June and July.

    • sorry, neon vincent. rick snyder wasn’t in the article, so he didn’t make the poster. 😦 there’s always a next time, though. 🙂

  5. It’s good to see the Ailes candidate in that bunch. Which one got caught with the shoebox full of dope (weed,pills, LSD) and got off paying a fine? Seems odd because a lead guitar player I worked with in the 70s told me he was in a van with five other people, got pulled over by the cops, a single pill was found, and it got my buddy Russel a year and a half in Huntsville. And it wasn’t his pill. ..Late word has it that the King of Texas may have to come sort things out with one of his Royal Decrees. Do I have to kiss his ring?

    • i hadn’t heard that before about one of them getting busted with pot and acid, but i just looked it up and it was……mitch daniels! 😆 i thought he was supposed to be one of the choir boys of the bunch. this is from mother jones:

      Mitch Daniels: As a student in Princeton, the Indiana governor was arrested in a police sting that netted two size-12 shoeboxes worth of marijuana, along with LSD and drug paraphernalia. Daniels was cited for pot possession but got off with a $350 fine for “maintaining a common nuisance.” He told the Daily Princetonian in 1988 that because of the arrest “any goal I might have had for competing for public office were shot,” and later called the incident an “unfortunate confluence of my wild oats period and America’s libertine apogee” (far out!). As governor, Daniels has endorsed alternative sentencing for non-violent offenses like pot possession as a way to reduce prison overcrowding.

      he’s be the last one i would have guessed. by the way, the article says that princess sarah, newtie, and even rick santorum have admitted that they’ve smoked pot in the past. if they confess to that, i bet they tried a lot more than that. well, maybe not santorum. he might have just taken a toke so the other boys would stop teasing his ass.

      • cwhig

        Speaking of Santorum, am I the only person who believes that the future president-to-be Bill Clinton was telling the truth when he said “but I didn’t inhale”?

        • hello cwhig,

          welcome to the raisin! 😀

          i can believe that clinton didn’t inhale. there are plenty of people who don’t smoke and can’t tolerate inhaling any kind of smoke.

      • While watching the CC 600 this afternoon, ther were two notable ads. One was a large weed dispensary in Sacramento and another for the benefits of weed therapy. Should be legal any century now.

        • it’s so ridiculous that it’s not legal already. the only people who object are over 80. everyone younger than that has smoked pot and know that it’s not the devil weed that some people want to make it out to be. want younger people to get out and vote? put that on the ballot!

  6. You know, the truth is that President Obama is somewhat vulnerable right now, since the recovery hasn’t been as strong as most of us would like.

    But the way the GOP is running its candidates for every office, they might lose it all.

    If so, I wonder how many of my friends will declare that the 2012 election represents some kind of major reversal of national opinion. They sure drank the kool-aid in 2010.

    I doubt that they’ll see it that way, of course.

    • i don’t know if obama is really as vulnerable as a lot of people say he is. i think most rational people know that it was chimpy who really screwed up the economy, and it’s getting better under obama. they realize that nobody, democrat or rethuglican, can wave a magic wand and make the economy turn around overnight. i also think they know that there’s not a chance in hell that the people who caused all this despair in the first place, namely the bankers, and the people who are continuing to cause economic despair, namely the oil and insurance companies, will be punished under a rethuglican president. they might not get punished under a dem either, but at least the possibility is there under a dem.

      • Oh, I agree. That there is a recovery at all shows that Pres. Obama is doing a much-better job than his predecessor. Pres. Bush’s response to economic collapse was to make sure that the people responsible weren’t invc0nvenienced.

        I’m just saying that the Reps could at least have stuck Pres. Obama with the results, no matter the real blame.

        By the way, I lost three friends on Facebook (all of them real-life friends. people I know from church) when I remarked that if Jimmy Carter had been re-elected, Usama bin Laden would likely have never been on the international scene. With his efforts to drive alternative energy, the bin Laden family would have lost most of its power, being in oil and all.
        One person tried arguing with me. Oh, well …

        • i’m sorry that you lost some friends, wken, but if they can’t handle a little disagreement, i guess they were never friends that you could really count on.

  7. jeb

    What baffles me is the impatience of their masters to try and push for so much so hard. Usually people in big business have some sort of business model and you don’t get everything you want by running in and burning down the house immediately. They had to know that extreme over reach would alienate the middle voters who lined up for their fiscal kool-aid.

    The biggest concern is how much more damage these skid-marks will cause before November 2012.

    • cwhig

      It’s the echo chamber effect. The only people they listen to are each other, so they are incapable of grasping how their actions will play in the outside world. In fact, they try as hard as they can to hermetically seal it out. Remember the travel instructions for Dick Cheney that leaked out? He required every television set in his hotel suites to be on, and tuned to Fox, when he arrived. It reminds me of the comment the Frenchman made when witnessing the British self-immolation of the Charge of the Light Brigade: “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.” “It’s magnificent, but it’s not war.” I’m not sure how magnificent the current Republicans are, but it’s not politics.

      • excellent point, cwhig. if congresscritters were forced to live as regular people for a few weeks, they’d see the world in a totally different way. that would make an interesting reality show.

    • i guess they figure that, if people were stupid enough to vote for chimpy twice, then they’ll buy just about anything.

      • jeb

        That belief can only carry them so far as we see people becoming more outraged and their unwavering extremist views. As Winston Churchill once said, “You can trust the Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else.”

  8. rick snyder? chris christie? rick perry? jan brewer? nicki haley? there are just too many douchebag governors to get them all

    • i don’t know if i can make a poster big enough to include all the rethuglican douchebags. it would take a massive mural, and paul lepage would make sure that that gets taken down.