Someone – I’ve been looking but haven’t been able to find exactly who, a political luminary though – once said that “the election of a president is nothing more than deciding who will get the blame.” It should perhaps be amended to read, “except when his sincere and earnest – though sometimes flawed – efforts at compromise have been repeatedly rebuffed, rejected, and ignored over the course of several years by a radical and obstructionist Republican congress – then we blame the Republican congress.”
A new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll released yesterday evening has congressional Republicans receiving the majority of the blame if we as a country are to, I suppose, fall off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year (26 days and counting) – or whatever the active, present-tense nomenclature of this scenario actually happening would be. The American people are set to blame the GOP at almost 2-to-1 over President Obama, with a minority blaming both equally. What I find most fitting is that not only do those numbers sound about right, percentage-wise, to what I would expect, but that this ratio of 53/26 also seems like the right way to distribute the blame, should we actually…tumble over the precipice. I, for one, would tend to find both parties partially at fault, but in different amounts – something this poll didn’t leave much room for. If this comes to pass, and all recession breaks loose, I think the GOP deserves the lion’s share of the blame, and Obama, though far from blameless, should receive about half as much, rather than assigning complete fault to one or the other (here we are of course accepting as plausible the idea that blame is a quantifiable factor that can be measured).
The original Washington Post article and chart can be found here.
So the 53/26 polling results are particularly appropriate and useful. If we go over the cliff, I will be saving the majority of my anger for the GOP, and about half that amount for the President. And unless someone does something particularly bold, drastic, or stupid to bridge the giant fiscal canyon that separates the two parties, this isn’t likely to change.