Pumas 4 Palin

Wisdom from Michael Barone

Posted on: August 18, 2009

A Star is Born

A Star is Born

“A Star is Born” is how he described Sarah Palin after the GOP convention last year.

Michael Barone  is a leading legend amongst the nation’s opinion shapers. He is well-educated, well-read, wealthy, and wise. His column about Obama voters of last year, Dear Young Obama Voter, is something of a political commentary classic. It will be recalled years hence.

Barone writes opinion columns, appears on talk shows, edits the Almanac of American Politics, and is published in dozens of publications world-wide. It is noted that he has traveled to all 50 states and all the 435 Congressional districts. So, it’s worth listening when Barone speaks.

Recently he wrote in the New York Post WHY THE PUBLIC ISN’T BUYING IT – The Liberals overplayed their hand

Here are some excerpts:

THERE are more conservatives than Republicans and more Democrats than liberals. That’s one of the asymmetries between the parties that helps to explain the particular political spot we’re in.

The result is that the two parties have offsetting political advantages. Democrats tend to win on party identification. Republicans tend to win on ideology. Democrats don’t have to appeal to as many independents as Republicans do. Republicans don’t have to appeal to as many moderates as Democrats do.

But the Democrats have a problem here. … Of the 21 top leadership members and chairmen, five come from districts carried by John McCain, but the average vote in the other 16 districts was 71 percent to 27 percent for Obama.

All these Democratic leaders understand that their home turf  tilts far left of the rest of the nation. …. most of these leaders — though Obama obfuscated this in his campaign — have strong, long-held convictions that are well on the left of the American political spectrum.

These are the people — the House leaders more than Obama, surprisingly — who have shaped the Democrats’ stimulus package, cap-and-trade legislation and health-care bills. The rules of the House allow a skillful leader like Pelosi to jam legislation through on the floor, although she’s had more trouble than expected on health care. But their policies have been meeting resistance from the three-quarters of Americans who don’t describe themselves as liberals.

Republican leaders tend to come from mostly suburban districts closer to the national political average. Of the 19 lawmakers who are in the GOP’s House leadership or who are ranking committee members, four come from districts carried by Obama. The average vote in the other 15 districts was a less-than-landslide 57 percent to 41 percent for McCain.

…. Republicans have been winning the battle for public opinion and, more important, for public enthusiasm — in sharp contrast to 2008.

The exit poll showed that though the GOP label had lost support since 2004, conservatives didn’t lose their edge over liberals.

“I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking,” Barack Obama said on a campaign stop in Virginia on Aug. 6. “I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.” When a politician tries to stop debate, it’s a sign he’s losing the argument.

Elsewhere, Barone said:

“John McCain and Sarah Palin were ahead in September, but the responses of the presidential candidates to the financial crisis was telling.”

“The 2008 numbers are not etched in stone. The ground is unsteady. The numbers are in sand.”

“Young people like Obama, but the issue for the GOP to emphasize is choice. Young people like choice. On health care, Obama is offering less choice.”

“In Russia in 1989, if you had heart trouble, care for that was on the fifth floor. There was no elevator. That was one way to reduce costs.”

“Yelling ‘lower taxes’ will not bring everyone to the GOP’s side. The key is to relate to people’s lives. Either we can choose our own future or the government chooses.”

“Polling shows that people have not shifted away from markets to government. The changes have been marginal, not major.”



“The 1930s and 1970s were political inflections because the next decade after these periods provided positive results. The 1940s validated the 1930s government intervention. The 1980s validated markets, which led to Morning in America and winning the Cold War.”

“We are not at an inflection period yet. We are at an earlier stage in the process.”

“We are now in a period of open politics. The main thing the GOP must do in making the case is by finding and running good candidates.”

(Emphasis added in above excerpts)

Leave it to Michael Barone to parse the polls and read the pulse.

All of which begs the question:


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