It is unwise to discount the intelligence of the American people - a trait more endemic among liberals than conservatives. The latest Gallup generic poll is striking - because it suggests that voters in the end may vote on substance not spin and ideology:
Maybe this is a blip. Here's Pollster's poll of polls (sans Rasmussen):
Of course, removing Rasmussen removes the one advantage Rasmussen has - of accounting for the enthusiasm of the older, whiter, Republican voter. And on that score, we have a real triumph for the anger chorus of FNC:
If we are to remain a polity that is actually interested in addressing pressing problems (which the GOP plainly isn't), then the Democrats need to start generating reasons for their base to show up this fall. The Clinton model is simple: you begin to turn the insurgents into a potential government.
You provide a choice: immigration reform or mass deportation? a peace process in Israel/Palestine or a civilizational war with Islam?; abandoning the long-term unemployed or finding a way to keep them afloat?; war with Iran or containment?; more settlements on the West Bank or a negotiation to get rid of them?; repeal or keep health insurance reform?; repeal or keep financial re-regulation; tackle climate change or deny it's happening? ratchet up the war on drugs or relax laws against pot? continue to demonize gay couples or find a better way to integrate them into society? propose some serious long-term tax-and-cut compromises to deal with the debt - or keep playing the partisan blame-game?
These are real questions. When it comes to a choice - as opposed to a mere protest - things can shift. The momentum in an era of high unemployment, weak growth and massive debt is with the opposition. The reasonable case, in my view, is with the imperfect Democrats and the presidency of Obama.
What, in my view, Obama needs to do is remind people more and more that the policies the GOP are proposing are indistinguishable from the Bush-Cheney era: on taxes, on spending (the tea party still can't say what it will cut), on the wars, on religiously-dominated politics, on debt, on immigration, and so on. And he should remind people that this Congress, by any measure, has been the most substantive in recent memory.
They got things done.