So we had the fourth Democratic debate last night, and I suppose we should all be thankful that Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn't somehow manage to schedule it to compete with one of football's playoff games. I wouldn't be surprised if the debate had a pretty low viewership, appearing as it did on a Sunday night during a three-day weekend, but those who did manage to catch it saw a much more high-spirited contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton than we've previously seen.
Archive of Articles in the "2014 Elections" Category
We're going to begin today with a rather loaded question. How much attention do you think the media should be paying towards a presidential nominee who is right now getting 13 to 15 percent support in public opinion polls of their party's voters?
President Obama just finished a very good month in public opinion polling. Obama showed such notable improvement in January that it's tough to choose which metric he did best in. In improvement over the previous month, Obama just had the best month of his second term (so far). His January improvement was the fourth-best of his entire presidency. He hit numbers he hasn't seen since the summer of 2013 -- gaining back all the ground lost (and more) since the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website. NBC's Chuck Todd, during coverage of Obama's State Of The Union speech, came up with the best metaphor for what has been happening since the midterm elections last year: Obama stole the GOP's "honeymoon." After a big Republican political victory, Obama has been increasingly bold. As a result, Obama got the bump in polling, instead of the Republicans. January was indeed a very good month for President Obama.
Sammy Hagar, famously, couldn't drive 55. The double-nickel Hagar sang about was the national speed limit, in miles per hour. The Republican Party is about to find out that there's a new 55 limit in Washington, and it's going to cause some Hagar-level rage on its own. Because 55 senators is not the same as 60, or 67. This simple mathematical statement is about to confound the GOP's entire strategy for the next two years.
Listening to President Barack Obama's State Of The Union speech tonight, I couldn't help but think that he's been waiting a long time to give such a speech, and he was happy to finally be giving it. Finally he could speak of the economy without having to hedge his language. Finally, he could unleash his inner optimism once again.
This was a busy week in politics, as the Republicans in the new Congress began a bout of legislating and President Obama ramped up his agenda in preparation for next Tuesday's big speech to Congress and the country. So let's just dive in to the week that was, shall we?
In less than a week, President Obama will give his State Of The Union speech to Congress and the nation. Sitting presidents usually get a bump in the polls immediately afterwards, since it is always the most-watched political speech of the entire year. But what's interesting to note, one week out, is that Obama is already enjoying somewhat of a bounce in his job approval polling. What's more, Obama seems poised to rise even higher in public approval, since the next issue teed up for a major political battle is one where Obama's stance is a lot more popular than the Republican position: immigration reform. All in all, ever since his forceful response to the midterm elections, Obama seems to be getting more and more popular.
President Obama is doing the preparatory work for his upcoming State Of The Union speech this week, by visiting three states to tout his successes and also to build support for the proposals he's likely to make in the big speech. This is all standard politics, really. But Democrats should really join in a loud chorus right now to help Obama achieve the first of those goals -- claiming credit for turning the American economy around. This is important for two reasons. The first is that Democrats (and Obama), up until now, have been too timid to claim much of any credit for the economy, out of fears that it could take a turn for the worse and they'd end up looking like Pollyannas (Obama already got his fingers burnt on this previously, with the supposed summer of "green shoots," quite a while back). The second reason it behooves Democrats to claim some credit right now is that if they don't, Republicans are already chomping at the bit to claim all that credit for themselves.
Welcome back to our annual year-end awards column!
As we do every year, we are pre-empting our "Friday Talking Points" columns for the next two weeks, to bring you our best and worst of 2014. And, yes, we are going to continue our supercilious and no-doubt-annoying habit of using the editorial "we" throughout these two columns, so thanks for asking! Heh.