Well done, folks:
When it comes to pursuing federal largess, most of the states that oppose the 2010 health care law have refused to let either principle or politics block their paths to the trough. If Washington is doling out dollars, Republican governors and legislators typically figure they might as well get their share.
Then there is Florida. Despite having the country’s fourth-highest unemployment rate, its second-highest rate of people without insurance and a $3.7 billion budget gap this year, the state has turned away scores of millions of dollars in grants made available under the Affordable Care Act. And it is not pursuing grants worth many millions more.
In recent months, either Gov. Rick Scott’s administration or the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature has rejected grants aimed at moving long-term care patients into their homes, curbing child abuse through in-home counseling and strengthening state regulation of health premiums. They have shunned money to help sign up eligible recipients for Medicare, educate teenagers on preventing pregnancy and plan for the health insurance exchanges that the law requires by 2014.
Lost in all the debate about Obama allegedly capitulating (or, if you agree with Glenn, wanting to give in), is what he has to work with. I really don’t understand how we are going to achieve progressive nirvana when half the country identifies as wingnut. And I’m not making that up:
Americans’ political ideology at the midyear point of 2011 looks similar to 2009 and 2010, with 41% self-identifying as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.
If this pattern continues, 2011 will be the third straight year that conservatives significantly outnumber moderates — the next largest ideological bloc. Liberalism has been holding steady for the past six years, averaging either 21% or 22%, although notably higher than the 17% average seen in Gallup polling during the early to middle ’90s.
That means that 77% of the country identifies with the politics of Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and everyone to the right of them. Now, other polling shows that people genuinely support “liberal” policies, only if they are not labeled liberal. Hell, the majority of the public wanted tax increases in the debt deal, but we know what happened there. Will any Republicans be punished by the public for refusing to raise taxes? Of course not. Will Obama be punished for violating the beliefs of 21% of the public? I’ve got a blogroll ready to crucify him right now.
I don’t know how to turn this around. We’ve got crazy people running things, and a public that keeps electing them. Right now, Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham are both screaming about the compromise, because serious people have some magical way to balance the budget without touching defense spending or raising taxes. One of these days they will tell us what that plan is.