If you decide to tune in this evening, and subject yourself to another Republican primary debate; you will no doubt witness a continuation of the same vitriol and partisan pettiness that has permeated previous contests. The President’s State of the Union address has provided the Republican candidates with red meat on which to feast. Both Romney and Gingrich have already launched their attacks; and tonight will certainly provide a continuation of their “Obama is a big government, anti-free enterprise, socialist whose policies are destroying the country” mantra. The problem with this message is that the American people, by ever increasing numbers, totally disagree.
In a CBSNEWS Poll taken immediately after the President’s SOTU address; 91% of those polled said they were in favor of the proposals the President laid out in his address.
In a NBCNEWS/Wall Street Journal Poll released today, the President received a 48% approval rating; marking the first time in seven months that he has not been upside down in the poll. The same poll said that 45% of Americans approve of the way the President is handling the economy; up six points from December. Given the state of the economy these numbers are extraordinary.
We understand that these polls are just snap shots that can change in the blink of an eye. But they tell us that in spite of the financial difficulties voters are facing, they like this guy and they approve of the direction he is taking the country.
It is no coincidence that the rise in the President’s poll numbers coincides with the caustic clown show that has been on display in these debates. While the President has been talking about creating jobs, education and infrastructure his Republican opponents have been either attacking his success or gutting each other with nonsense about lobbying for Freddie Mac, 15% tax rates and who among them is more like Reagan. The contrast in seriousness and substance is startling; and the American people are watching.
This campaign is just beginning. The President’s SOTU address was just the first real salvo in what is certain to be a long and protracted war. He enters the fight with a battleship full of money to sustain him. He is armed with the knowledge that his policies are working and the American people generally like and support him. Caustic quips and petty name calling may serve the Republicans well when moored within the safe harbor of the Republican primary.
But when they enter the rough seas of the general election, they’re "gonna’ need a bigger boat.”