Although as arguments go, this one was pretty much a lob to the president. After all, the shutdown was a Republican idea that has been a cause celebre among certain party celebrities (looking at you, Sen. Ted Cruz). You can’t exactly call for a shutdown, high-five one another when it happens, and then blame someone else for it when it turns out to be horribly unpopular.
The Republican talking point all last week was that the minority in the House that kneecapped the federal government is perfectly willing to open the United States for business if only President Obama would sit down and negotiate. Indeed, Sen. Rand Paul was caught in an awkward hot mic moment, saying “I don’t think they’ve poll tested, ‘We won’t negotiate.’” Obama has countered that he is happy to negotiate—but only after Republicans agree to fund the government.
Thus the impasse that is keeping 9 million poor babies from getting proper nutrition.
Americans aren’t buying it, according to two polls reported by Political Wire. A Pew poll conducted during the first week of October shows fewer people blaming the president for the shutdown, while only 19 percent blame both the Obama administration and Republicans. A new ABC News poll shows Obama holding steady, while Republicans have suffered a nine-point swing in the last week:
In another way to look at the results, Obama’s gone from 41-50 percent approve-disapprove last week to 45-51 percent now – a 9-point negative margin then, a similar 6-point negative margin today. The Democrats likewise show little change overall (from a 22- to a 26-point negative gap). But the Republicans have gone from 26-63 percent approve-disapprove to 24-70 percent, an initial 37-point difference widening now to a 46-point negative result.
Most of the changes for both parties come from previously undecided Americans coming to a negative opinion of their work. But a challenge for the Republicans in particular is that their disapproval ratings for handling the situation have increased numerically across the partisan board, among Republicans (+7 points), independents (+5) and Democrats (+9) alike.
A shuttered government does no one any favors and it shouldn’t be a partisan sentiment to want elected officials to handle the people’s business. Whom to blame is really beside the point, unless it forces one side to cut its losses and capitulate. Then maybe we can get those infants the formula their parents can’t afford.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer
White House/Pete Souza