I was going to premise at least part of my rationale for that post on the idea that playing into these kinds of antics is no way to win over the ever important independents and build a lasting coalition for positive change in the country. Sadly, I can’t write that post because the facts don’t support it (stubborn as they are). [...] Democrats having been losing ground with independents to Republicans in a fairly steady manner since Obama took office, during which time just the types of antics about which I have been wagging my finger have been employed. [...] What I’m left thinking is that it is a sad state of affairs when “death panels” and “the GOP wants you to die quickly” are the rallying cries that animate independently-minded voters in the country and that we have a good deal of work remaining in reinvesting a sense of intellectual rigourousness into our political discourse.
For goodness' sake. I don't interpret these numbers as a dramatic endorsement of the tea-party antics at all. I think most Americans view the expansion of government as worrying. So do I. I think we had little choice this past year to do what we did, and Obama's solid ratings suggest many understand that. The GOP, of course, is far more fiscally reckless than Obama - and supporting the current crew because of a desire to return to balanced budgets is absurd. What the Democrats need to do is reinforce this fact relentlessly - but, alas, too many of them find attacking the right on fiscal grounds too much of an ideological strain.