The Year of Our Nation’s Partisan Madness Demands a Year of Optimism and Solutions to Problems

by johndavis, December 18, 2013

The Year of Our Nation’s Partisan Madness Demands a Year of Optimism and Solutions to Problems December 18, 2013        Vol. VI, No. 24          7:13 am We are a negative-weary electorate. We yearn for economic recovery, full employment, affordable healthcare and a correction of unsustainable government programs that undermine our financial integrity. Yet we know that
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The Year of Our Nation's Partisan Madness Demands a Year of Optimism and Solutions to Problems


December 18, 2013        Vol. VI, No. 24          7:13 am

We are a negative-weary electorate. We yearn for economic recovery, full employment, affordable healthcare and a correction of unsustainable government programs that undermine our financial integrity. Yet we know that our hopes for solutions to national and state governmental problems are dashed by uncompromising and strident Republicans and Democrats.

That’s why I am persuaded that the candidates in 2014 who focus on optimism and offer constructive plans to solve national and state problems will have an advantage over those who rely on negative attacks aimed at destroying the plans of their opponents.

Attack ads are about winning the blame game. The politics of the blame game will be rejected in 2014 because there is near-universal agreement that everyone in Washington, DC is to blame. That includes the Congress and a distant President reluctant to build and maintain personal relationships with members of the legislative branch; a President lacking in management skills.

The 113th Congress is among the least productive (1% of bills filed were enacted) and lowest rated since Gallup began measuring congressional job approval in 1974 (14% average job approval in 2013).  As for President Obama, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released December 16, 2013 shows the President’s job approval lower than all two-term presidents (except for Nixon) since WWII at the same time in their administrations.

Americans no longer trust the leaders in either party to do what’s in the best interest of the country; they rate the standards of honesty and ethics for politicians lowest of all professions.

On December 16, 2013, Gallup released its annual survey on honesty and ethical standards in the professions. The top five professions are Nurses (highest rating 82%), followed by Pharmacists, Grade School Teachers, Medical Doctors and Military Officers; all professions dealing with healing, teaching and public safety. The bottom five are Advertising Practitioners, State Officeholders, Car Salespeople, Members of Congress, and Lobbyists (lowest rated at 6%), with four of the five professions dealing with politics and government.

The #1 issue on Gallup’s monthly “most important problem facing the country” list released December 12, 2013, is “Dissatisfaction with government” (21%); not the “Economy in general” (19%), or “Healthcare” (17%), “Unemployment” (12%) or the “Federal Budget Deficit” (9%).

Why is “Dissatisfaction with government” at the top of Gallup’s most important problems list?  Because uncompromising and strident leaders in both parties are not willing to work together to solve problems with the other four big issues: “Economy in general,” “Healthcare,” “Unemployment,” and the “Federal Budget Deficit.”

For emphasis: We are a negative-weary electorate. We yearn for economic recovery, full employment, affordable healthcare and a correction of unsustainable government programs that undermine our financial integrity. Yet we know that our hopes for solutions to national and state governmental problems are dashed by uncompromising and strident Republicans and Democrats.

For these reasons, I am persuaded that the candidates in 2014 who focus on optimism and offer constructive solutions to national and state problems will have an advantage over those who rely on negative attacks aimed at destroying the plans of their opponents.

Will the Affordable Care Act be an Asset or Liability in 2014?

Those who think they are going to win a General Election race in 2014 with a message to repeal the Affordable Car Act are in for a big surprise.  By the time the November elections roll around, more voters will see the Affordable Care Act positively than negatively.

The reasons for my argument are twofold: First, President Obama owes Democrats an election cycle during which he is not a drag on their campaigns. Second, President Obama’s legacy depends on a positive perception of the Affordable Care Act. He will do whatever it takes.

No one was more responsible for the "good shellacking" the Democrats suffered in the last mid-term election year, 2010, than President Obama. He put his agenda ahead of that of the voters, including Democrats who were far more concerned about their jobs than his healthcare legislation.

Many Democrats stayed home on Election Day 2010 in protest of the ill-chosen priorities of their President and Congressional leaders. The result of their low protest turnout was Republican legislative majorities throughout America, giving the GOP the prized responsibility for the decennial re-mapping of legislative and congressional districts.

Obama knows that putting his priorities ahead of those of the voters was responsible for the 63-seat shift in the U.S. House favoring Republicans in 2010, the largest shift since 1948. He also knows that his legacy is at risk in 2014 because the majorities in the U.S. House and Senate could be lost to Republicans if the Affordable Care Act continues to be seen as a debacle.

The only way Obama can turn around the negative perception of the Affordable Care Act is to correct the rollout problems, work tirelessly every day until Election Day 2014 to resell its value, and defer any politically threatening elements until after 2014, a tactic already well-used.

Yesterday, December 17, 2013, the White House announced that former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will take over the task of correcting all of the glitches with the Healthcare.gov website. DelBene was with Microsoft for 20 years, and was in charge of the highly profitable (and complex) Microsoft Office Suite. This is clear evidence of President Obama’s commitment to correcting the rollout problems; clear evidence of his ability to attract the best talent for the job.

As to what can be deferred, over 1,000 waivers have already been approved. Further, the Obama administration has put off employer requirements for a year and allowed health insurers to extend coverage for an extra year to all of those whose policies were canceled during the rollout.

If politically necessary, the President may also delay the requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

President Obama will do whatever it takes in 2014 to rebrand the Affordable Care Act because he owes Democrats an election cycle during which he is not a drag on their campaigns and he knows his legacy depends on a positive perception of the Affordable Care Act.

The Year of Our Nation's Partisan Madness

Of course, conservative members of the U.S. House and Senate and their allied super PACs will also be attempting to mold the perception voters have of the Affordable Care Act. If they spend the typical 80% of their resources on attack ads, they will lose the argument. There is no way today’s Americans are going to allow any member of the least productive and lowest-rated Congress in history, conservative or liberal, to dictate the direction of this country.

Except for the hardliners on the left and the right, Americans are becoming more tolerant socially and more diverse demographically.  We are in the middle of a demographic revolution. We are becoming more urban, more progressive and more supportive of government programs that work.  If the Affordable Care Act begins to show signs of working, voters will grow to support it and the incumbents who voted for it … rather than those whose agenda is focused on destroying it.

We are a negative-weary electorate. We yearn for economic recovery, full employment, affordable healthcare and a correction of unsustainable government programs that undermine our financial integrity. Yet we have seen our hopes for solutions to national and state governmental problems dashed throughout 2013 by uncompromising Republicans and Democrats.

The year of our nation’s partisan madness demands candidates in 2014 who are optimistic and willing to collaborate on bipartisan plans to solve national and state problems. It will be the winning advantage.

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