Democrats’ timidity has not paid off

I respect a politician who sticks by principles when they’re unpopular.

I understand a politician who does the popular thing even if it goes against principles.

What I don’t understand or respect are politicians who abandon their principles even when those principles have public support.

Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans would rather have government spending to create jobs than cutbacks in spending to reduce the budget deficit.

They show that a majority of Americans would be happy to allow the upper-bracket tax cuts to expire on schedule.

And they show that a majority of Americans favor tough regulation of the big banks and Wall Street investment firms.

All these are things that President Obama and the other national Democratic leaders say they want. What, then, is the problem?  Why do they hesitate?  Why are they so timid in what they propose?

The Gallup poll in the chart above is just one poll.  Other polls show a more nearly even race, but none of them are encouraging for the Democrats.  But after all, if the Democrats don’t believe in their own platform, why should anybody else?

[Update 9/8/10]  Here’s a new poll with different results.  It shows how volatile public opinion is, or how voters distrust both parties, or maybe what a large margin for error Gallup has.  But my original argument still stands.

Click on The Gallup Generic Ballot Gives G.O.P. 10-Point Lead for analysis of recent political polls by Nate Silver in the New York Times.  He says the Democratic position probably isn’t that bad, but it’s pretty bad.

Click on How Did Democrats Get Here? for Silver’s analysis.  As he sees it, there are a whole lot of reasons, not just one, as to why the Democrats are in the position they are.  He’s probably right, but I don’t think the Democrats would be in better shape than they are now, and could not be in any worse shape than they are now, if they’d had the courage to stand up what they say they stand for.

Click on Smart Policy, Smart Politics for analysis of Newsweek public opinion polls showing Americans favor government spending to create jobs over spending reductions to cut the deficit.

Click on Americans Back More Stimulus Spending to Create Jobs for a report on a Gallup poll showing a majority of Americans favor increased government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Click on Fighting With Public Backing on Taxes for analysis of a CNN poll showing most Americans favor allowing the upper-bracket income tax cuts to expire.

Click on Americans’ distrust of federal government is deepening for a McClatchy Newspapers article which reports that even though Americans deeply distrust the federal government, they distrust Wall Street even more, and want stronger regulation of the financial industry.

Click on Most back stricter financial reform for a report on a Washington Post/ABC poll showing most Americans favor stricter regulations on how banks and other financial institutions do business.

Click on Health Care Reform’s Popularity Gets Another Boost for analysis of a Gallup poll showing a narrow majority of Americans favor the Affordable Care Act.

Click on Poll shows negative ratings for BP, federal government for a report on a Washington Post/ABC poll showing a majority of Americans favor criminal charges against BP in the Gulf oil spill.

Click on Support plunges for offshore drilling for a report on a Washington Post/ABC poll showing a majority of Americans blame inadequate federal regulation for the Gulf oil spill.

Click on Most Americans say regulate greenhouse gasses for a report on a Washington Post/ABC poll on regulation of greenhouse gasses to stop global warming.

Now it is true there are many polls and they don’t all indicate the same thing.  But if you believe in these things anyway, they are enough to show you have a fighting chance.  Why not fight?  Why give up before you’ve begun?

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