Poll of Republican Beliefs Shows Vulnerability

The 2010 election season is about to begin. Due to some crafty manipulation by the conservatives, there is a huge enthusiasm gap between the parties. Although this is the same playbook they used to stop reforms in the mid 90s, this time it could backfire.

The Republican playbook in 1993-1994 is virtually identical to today:

1. Avoid responsibility for failures of previous Republican administration(s)
2. Jack up the negativity to create apathy with everyone except an energized base
3. Start a whisper campaign to ‘throw the bums out’ and call for term limits
4. Make a grandiose list of pledges to supposedly fulfill if they are elected
5. Retake congress and hamstring reformer president

They are currently working on steps 2-4 simultaneously. They will continue their record number of filibusters, as part of an obstruction plan highlighted by the leaked instruction manual on procedural methods to stop the legislative process. The GOP and their propaganda wing at Fox ‘News’ are going to continue to run misleading ads as part of their scare tactics based on disinformation.

The goal of this is two-fold. First, it turns the public off towards their hope for change and reform. Voter turnout dropped from 55% in 1992 to 39% in 1994, the year the GOP swept congress, so they think they can do the same thing again. Second, and equally as important it motivates the conservative base to stop what it perceives as an anti-American red menace. The current effectiveness of this part of their plan is evident.

Fear leads to anger and this anger leads to hate, all 3 of which are very powerful motivators, regardless of their truthfulness. These have been spread with Fox ‘News’ propaganda, and has stirred up Tea Party protests in various parts of the country. Though these events started out as libertarian, they have been taken over by corporate front groups and the very same Republicans whose policies caused so many problems in the first place. Never the less, the illusion continues that the GOP and Tea Parties are separate. According to a recent NBC poll, the public perception of the Tea Parties is more favorable than either party:

Regardless, there are two central problems to the Republican playbook this time around. First off, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to hide behind the libertarian banner. There is already a purge of libertarians going on, contributing to an increasing rift between the two. The public’s misconception that they are separate entities will continue to diminish over 2010 if progressives push the media to accurately report on this.

Second, and more importantly, there has been a generational shift in the American electorate, a paradigm shift of sorts that no longer accepts the failed conservative philosophies as fact. Their views are out of step with mainstream America, and this is punctuated by the release of the second Contract on America. This purity test will demonstrate that the Tea Parties are GOP partisan hate fests in the coming year, and that the views of Republican candidates is the exact same as the those who supported the failed Bush regime.

This is the reason why the conservative game plan might fail this time around. Their actual views on matters are so far right that they will have trouble defending them. For instance, look at the following poll numbers on their views:

Real Wingnut Views

57% of Republicans either believe or are not sure that health care reform is a diabolical government plot to create death panels http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/8/17/768438/-Republicans-More-Likely-To-Believe-Obama-Creating-Death-Panels

91% of conservative Republicans call Obama a socialist, marxist, communist, or fascist http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/stunning-91-of-conservatives-call-obama.html

72% of Republicans either think or haven’t made up their minds about whether Obama was born in the USA. 42% are solid birthers http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/31/21947/1488

Domestic Issues

70% of Republicans oppose ending the prohibition of cannabis http://www.gallup.com/poll/123728/U.S.-Support-Legalizing-Marijuana-Reaches-New-High.aspx

50% of Republicans oppose a path to citizenship for immigrants: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1421/where-the-public-stands-on-immigration-reform

80% of Republicans support extending the Patriot Act http://abcnews.go.com/US/PollVault/story?id=833703

67% of Republicans oppose the choice of a public health insurance option (only 40% of all Americans oppose) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0210977220091203?rpc=64

70% of Republicans oppose a woman’s right to chose having an abortion http://www.gallup.com/poll/118399/more-americans-pro-life-than-pro-choice-first-time.aspx

60% of Republicans oppose making it easier for workers to organize http://www.gallup.com/poll/116863/Majority-Receptive-Law-Making-Union-Organizing-Easier.aspx


60% of Republicans are creationists http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=darwin-on-the-right

Only 6% of scientists are Republican http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1549

68% of Republicans are not at all concerned about Climate Change http://ecopolitology.org/2009/12/15/68-of-republicans-not-at-all-concerned-about-climate-change/

Only 23% of Republicans believe in natural evolution http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1550

Only 38% of Republicans support funding embryonic stem cell research http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1550

What the Country thinks of Republicans

GOP Congressional approval at 9% http://www.gallup.com/poll/123491/Approval-Congress-Falls-21-Driven-Democrats.aspx?CSTS=tagrss

75% of Americans dislike the Republican Party http://firedoglake.com/2009/10/28/the-republican-brand-in-ruins-75-of-americans-dislike-republicans-over-70-think-palins-not-qualified-to-be-president/

The Republicans and their powerful corporate backers are masters at spin and propaganda, and despite how out of touch their party is and how they are becoming increasingly extreme, they always find a way to dodge the blame and reframe each campaign into something more advantageous for them.  For instance, the campaign to fill the US Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy (D-MA) should have been a lock for Democrats.  Yet somehow the polls currently show a Bush Republican with a slight lead going into Tuesdays election.

If progressive candidates and organizations can continue to highlight how out of step the conservatives are with modern day America, they have a real chance of turning the enthusiasm gap around and making solid gains in 2010, despite the historical pattern of the party in the White House losing seats during the midterms. They key is to draw sharp contrasts with conservatives and Republicans and fight for a real change.

With the likely failure of a strong, robust public health insurance option hurting enthusiasm in the progressive realm, it is more important than ever to put things into perspective. The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. The evil here is not the conservatives, it is apathy. If progressives want to win in 2010, they need to reengage, get involved, network, volunteer, donate, organize, and start pushing for real change and reform.

Editor’s Note: Please follow Ole Ole Olson on Twitter, and visit this author’s archive on News Junkie Post.


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