Watch the Republicans, not the polls

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Editor's Blog | 7 comments

Here’s a message to Democrats: Quit looking at poll numbers and start watching Republicans. The polls today aren’t telling you anything substantive about what’s going to happen next November, but the GOP’s twin debacles of a government shutdown and an unpopular and inept impeachment inquiry may set the tone of the election as we move into the 2024 cycle. Besides, these Republicans are entertaining in a Keystone Kops way. 

As for polls, we don’t know what’s going to be driving the electorate a year from now. Any head-to-head is a worthless measure. Something is amiss with favorability ratings. Despite what seem to be abysmal approval ratings for Joe Biden, Democrats continue to win big in special elections. Clearly, voters aren’t connecting their thoughts about the president with other offices. Or maybe they are just so sour on politics that anybody in that office would have approval ratings in the gutter. I don’t think they are predictive of how people will vote next November.

The GOP has spent the week putting their ineptitude on display. The Republican House caucus is being held hostage again by their right flank. The wing nuts are demanding dramatic cuts to the budget that aren’t palatable even to most Republicans. They are probably going to shut down government to make their point. Speaker Kevin McCarthy could put out a bill, like the one the Senate passed, that would require bipartisan support, but that would probably cost him the Speakership. He may lose it anyway.

Republicans have shut down the government several times over the past 30 years and, as Mitch McConnell noted, it never works out well for them. They don’t learn, though. They will get the blame for the shutdown this time and probably get blamed for any other economic problems as a result. It’s not good politics. 

The really funny show, though, is the impeachment inquiry. Republicans are showcasing all of their stupidity. One Congressman held a news conference with a blown up poster of texts from 2017 that supposedly proved Biden had done something nefarious. A reporter pointed out the Biden wasn’t in office at the time and asked how the texts indicated political influence. The question flummoxed the Congressman who could not explain his own point, saying that he’s not an expert on timelines. 

In the first day of hearings, Republicans own witnesses debunked the rationale for the hearing. The very first witness, attorney Jonathan Turley, said that the evidence did not justify articles of impeachment. Republicans were shocked. One Republican staffer said, “Picking witnesses that refute House Republican arguments for impeachment is mind blowing. This is an unmitigated disaster.” The sentiment was shared by a number of Republican Members of Congress. 

Democrats, on the other hand, were prepared. They ridiculed the hearings and questioned the rules. Rep. Jamie Raskin asked for a ruling that Margorie Taylor Greene refrain from introducing pornography as evidence since she once shared a nude photo of Hunter Biden. Rep. Jared Moskowitz said, “What a day we are having. As a former director of emergency management, I know a disaster when I see one.” Rep. Jasmine Crockett slammed Republicans for not providing any evidence that Joe Biden has committed crimes while ignoring that there’s plenty of evidence that Donald Trump has. They used their time to expose the folly of the hearings and make Republicans look even more bumbling than they made themselves look. The clips are worth a look if just for the laughs.

And while Republicans were highlighting their inability to govern and the fantasies of impeachment, Joe Biden was giving a serious speech about threats to democracy at a ceremony honoring the late Senator John McCain. He argued that protecting our institutions and traditions should be bipartisan. It was quite a contrast to clown show in the House. 

So, quit looking at polls that have no meaning. Start watching what our leaders are actually doing. The House Republicans are in the process of shooting themselves in the foot. The President of the United States looks like the adult in the room. Voters usually want electd officials who are competent. Right now, those are Democrats. 


  1. Charles Oldham

    Wish I could agree, Mr. Mills, but if 2/3 (or even close to 2/3) of Democrats now believe Biden is too old to run again, it’s not a meaningless poll. That statistic has nothing to do with how nutty or incompetent the Republicans are (and they ARE). People are simply — and justifiably — reluctant to elect an 82-year-old to another 4-year term. Also, if Biden is now running even at best with Trump in the polls, that is not meaningless. At this stage in the 2016 and 2020 races, Hillary and Biden were running comfortably AHEAD of Trump, and we know how close those elections turned out to be. We can’t assume that, a year from now, voters will suddenly recover their senses and choose the 82-year-old over the wannabe dictator. If we stick with Biden and Kamala, we are stumbling into a race where the odds are even AT BEST, with the stakes being the very future of constitutional government in this country. We need a new ticket.

    • JB

      Don’t buy into the narrative that Biden’s too old and therefore unelectable. (They called somebody else unelectable a few years ago, and look how that turned out). But the media has to push that narrative because there is such a MOUNTAIN of evidence proving what anyone who’s been paying attention for the past 40 years has known for a long time — Donald Trump is a crook. He’s a swindler, and a cheat, and a fraud. And had he stayed in the private sector he would still be all those things, but they would probably be ignored because a crooked blowhard on Wall Street is dog bites man. A crooked blowhard on Pennsylvania Ave, is a whole other thing. But because the mind-blowing collection of fuckery that Fat Donny Two-Times drags around with him is massive enough to have its own gravity, the press feel a need to “balance” that with “but Biden…” and the best they can do is point out this age. It’s all they have. And their own witnesses are testifying (presumably under oath) that they got nothing impeachable that they can support with even a fig leaf’s worth of evidence. He is old, there’s no denying that. There is also no denying the litany of good he has done for working class America, that Fat Donny can’t even pretend to match. Real wage growth is actually outpacing inflation for the first time since I was in elementary school back in the 60s. Jobs that were offshored have come home again — especially in manufacturing. the UAW has increased its size by better than 20%. More jobs have been added in his first 2+ years than either of his immediate predecessors could claim in twice that time. Well over half of the inflation he gets the blame for actually lies at the doorstep of the rich and shameless who don’t even bother to deny that they used inflation caused by a global supply chain slowdown and materials shortage to jack up prices and leave them there.

      I’ll take the old man that’s got the back of the worker over the crook who is only 3 years younger any day.

      • Laura Reich

        I’m with you JB!

      • Greg

        JB is right and I learned a new word about Fat Donny two times.

      • Mike L

        Absolutely correct. The Trump Crime Family could easily have stayed in Manhattan and run their scams and swindles until hell froze over. But their greed got the better of them and Fat Bastard decided 40 years ago it was his destiny to be dictator, just like his pal Putin.

      • cocodog

        The primary issue as to who should be president is not age in this race. Trump is clearly looking less qualified, moreover he is only three years younger than Biden. Granted if both candidates were equally qualified, then age may play a role. But Trump’s erratic behavior, coupled with his current criminal and civil legal problems present doubt he would be able to discharge the office with any degree of competency.

    • ctw

      JB is correct. I see no reason to pay attention to a poll of people who have landlines and answer calls from people they don’t know during dinner. National polls during this part of the election are nothing more than promotion.

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