By Doug Porter
Bad things come in threes, so the saying goes, and the Republican Party just got a triple whammy of disastrous poll results. How bad is it?
It’s so bad even a “safe” Republican like Congressman Darrell Issa’s numbers have tanked. You know it’s bad when the local Democratic Party sends out fundraising emails talking about unseating Brian Bilbray in the last election and saying Issa’s next.
A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of 650 voters in the 49th Congressional district taken October 15 & 16 shows Rep. Issa with a 49-43 disapproval margin (9% undecided). For the first time ever, voters preferred a generic Democratic opponent in a theoretical match up, if only by 1%, well within the margin of error. And his constituents opposed the GOP’s “shut ‘er down” strategy by 62-32%.
Of course Congressman Issa’s so invincible that nobody would dare run against him, right? After all, he’d probably convene hearings and issue subpoenas leading nowhere, like he’s done on the IRS and Benghazi. Currently Issa’s even trying to figure out why the government shut down in early October.
Today’s Voice of San Diego Morning Report mentions a UT-San Diego story saying Issa has already raised $2.7 million for his re-election effort. And writer Randy Dotinga says it’s “funny” as he buys into the
UT line o’ crap saying Issa has no opponent.
That’s not true. Democrat Dave Peiser declared months ago and is raising money through the Act Blue web site. He’s even been written up repeatedly at the progressive Dem site, Daily Kos, so it’s not like Peiser’s in hiding.
I’m just saying that’s how bad the Republicans have screwed up. And if they keep up the “good work” by blocking immigration reform and cutting Social Security, who knows?
I’m not saying Issa’s beatable. I’m not saying Peiser’s a credible candidate. Yet.
UPDATE: UT story now includes mention of Peiser:
Issa’s tenure as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ends in 2014 and he has not announced whether he will seek an eighth term. But if he does, he has more than $2.7 million in his campaign account to help stave off any challengers, such as Encinitas Democrat Dave Peiser, who says he intends to challenge Issa next year.
The 52-year-old Peiser owns an information technology consulting firm and plans to make an official announcement of his first-ever political office candidacy with the next two weeks.
“I feel I am a compelling candidate with a lot of deep connections in the community and I don’t feel that he really represents the interests of our district,” Peiser said.
On the National Scene
Looking beyond the PPP poll, there are two other polls worth noting.
Via Mother Jones:
Today’s ABC/Washington Post poll is the worst horror show yet for the Republican Party. Of the respondents:
- 81 percent disapprove of the government shutdown.
- 53 percent think Republicans are solely to blame (compared to only 29 percent blaming Obama).
- 77 percent believe that Republicans only care about doing what’s best for themselves, not what’s best for the country.
Then there’s the USA Today/ Princeton Survey Research Poll. A mere 4% of the 1001 adults surveyed over the weekend say Congress would be changed for the worse if nearly every member was replaced next year.
In the aftermath of the shutdown, though, Republicans clearly are bearing the brunt of the blame. By 2-to-1, 39%-19%, those surveyed say Republicans deserve more blame, not Democrats. Thirty-six percent say the two parties share the blame equally.
Even Republicans, presumably inclined to blame the other side, are divided about whether responsibility belongs to the Democrats are to both parties equally. That’s not true among Democrats: Eight in 10 say the GOP is largely to blame.
Democrats by 2-1, 22%-11%, have a more favorable opinion of their party in the aftermath of the shutdown.
The ObamaCare Website Blues
The President went on TV yesterday to tell everybody he’s angry about the problems with the Fed’s website that serves as a portal to insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
The UT-San Diego gave nearly all of its “over the fold” front page today to graphic calling attention to the problems at HealthCare.gov. And if you read their nearly daily sermons, you’d think the end of the world was coming—this from an organization that runs a horribly dysfunctional internet site that freezes regularly, can’t search worth a damn and obviously has nobody supervising.
No doubt about it– there are issues with signing up for ObamaCare. Just how bad they are is just a matter of who’s telling the story. And, as is true with the actual health insurance coverage at the end of that bumpy internet experience, there’s mucho spin coming from the people who want to preserve the current system.
After all, dying from breast cancer due to lack of health insurance caused by “pre-existing condition” corporate policies can’t possibly be worse than a bad internet experience.
Reality vs. Hyped Horror Stories
The Pew Research Center surveyed Americans about signing up for health insurance this month and found, while there are generally negative impressions of the website comparable to what’s being reported in the news media, 56% of those who’d actually used it “say they personally found the site to be very or fairly easy to use”.
Then there are the horror stories, and there’s no better place than Fox News to find them. Sean Hannity had six people on his show recently to share their tales of woe about “the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck.”
Viewers saw and heard about canceled policies, premium hikes, restrictions on the freedom to see a doctor of their choice, financial burdens upon their small businesses and so on.
Eric Stern smelled a rat. As a former senior advisor to Montana’s Gov. Brian Schweitzer the stories didn’t match up with the facts as Stern had learned them about the Affordable Care Act. He tracked down Hannity’s guests and asked a few simple questions.
A Real Life Story
Another Fox news contributor did go to a government web site to sign up for insurance, and didn’t get the results her editors no doubt expected. Freelancer Sally Kohn went to the New York state exchange website and encountered the much ballyhooed glitches…
BUT she found fifty plans with lower costs and better coverage than her current plan. And ten plans with a higher premium than her current insurance, but with lower deductibles.
Her total time spent was four hours. She saved $5400 in premiums and deductables for next year and got better coverage out of the deal.
The Politics Behind the Web Site
NPR reporter Julie Rovner looked into the back story on the development of the federal government’s website. I don’t think you’ll be too surprised at what she found.
Since the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges launched to a long series of error messages Oct. 1, most of the “what went wrong” fingers have been pointing at software developers.
But some say there’s more to it than that — that politics has played a role as well.
“It is a mess and there’s no sugarcoating it, and people shouldn’t sugarcoat that,” says Jay Angoff, who formerly ran the health exchange program for the Department of Health and Human Services. “On the other hand, people should remember that those who are in charge of the money HHS needs to implement the federal exchange are dedicated to the destruction of the federal exchange, and the destruction of the Affordable Care Act.”
Speaking of Crashing Web Sites…
Those of us that have kids getting ready to make the big leap to college can take small comfort in knowing that it’s not just the feds who are having a problem with web-based sign up sites.
From The Washington Post:
A cascade of glitches in a major online college application program has frustrated prospective students across the country and prompted several universities to push back their fall deadlines, exposing vulnerabilities in the nation’s college admissions system.
More than 515 colleges and universities, including the entire Ivy League and public flagships such as the University of Virginia, use the Common Application to help choose their incoming classes. The program, which handles millions of applications annually, was retooled this year in an attempt to make an inherently stressful teenage ritual a little easier. But the fourth online version of the Common App, which went live Aug. 1, has compounded the angst of many college-bound students.
Software troubles and other technical difficulties have left students staring at frozen screens or led them to pay multiple fees for a single application. Others reported being shut out of their accounts entirely.
Papa Doug Manchester’s Reader? Not!
City Beat’s Kelly Davis posted a story yesterday about an offer by higher ups at the UT-San Diego to buy the San Diego Reader.
She starts out by quoting an email from CEO John Lynch to staffers in Mission Valley:
Apparently, rumors are rampant that the UT is acquiring the Reader. Although there has been communication between the two ownerships, there is no transaction complete or forthcoming with the Reader.
This all started with an email exchange between Lynch and Reader publisher Jim Holman triggered by Don Bauder’s Aug. 21 story, “Papa Doug Manchester picks Siberian bride-to-be.” (Tee-hee, read the story!)
Davis emailed Holman. Here’s her account:
“After the story went online there was a lively exchange of email between John Lynch and me about Don’s story,” Holman wrote, “including what I interpreted as a threat.”
A week later, Lynch emailed Holman again, this time asking about buying the Reader.
“I responded that I was not interested,” Holman said.
Caring About North Park
The people behind the opposition to notorious Jack-in-the-Box’s project at 30th and Upas are going one step further. In addition to a lawsuit winding its way through the courts, they’re coming together to work on a new kind of community alliance with one focus: empowering neighborhoods to demand that land use laws be enforced.
They’ve launched the Care About North Park website to keep people informed and have reached out to connect with a citizens group called Care About Clairemont. The group says they’re “eager to collaborate with other San Diegans who want our city government to uphold its laws and respect its communities.”
Here’s the video they produced explaining in simple language what got them started on the road to community activism:
On This Day: 1844 - This day is recognized as “The Great Disappointment” among those who practiced Millerism. The world was expected to come to an end according to the followers of William Miller. 1961 - Chubby Checker appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and performed “The Twist.” 1975 - Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich was discharged after publicly declaring his homosexuality. His tombstone reads ” “A gay Vietnam Veteran. When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
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