Rachel Maddow Missed The Boat On This One

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In Rachel's opening segment last night, she compared and contrasted the Democrats' message of compromise with the Republicans "hell no" stance and took the Dems to task for not noticing that there was no one to compromise with. In her analysis, she missed the true message of the "we'll compromise" message.

In the NYTimes/CBS News Poll released this week, respondents were asked the following question:

Which do you think the Republicans in Congress SHOULD do -- compromise some of their positions in order to get things done, or stick to their positions even if it means not getting as much done?

Their answer was pretty emphatic: 78% of respondents said they thought Republicans should compromise, while 15% thought they should stick to their positions. That 78% is up from 74% two weeks earlier. When the same question is asked about Democrats, 76% say they should compromise with 17% saying they should stick to their guns.

This is where Rachel misses the boat. When 78% of poll respondents answer that Republicans should compromise and Republicans respond with "Hell, no!", there's a clear advantage for Democrats to say they're open to compromise.

This seems like Politics 101 to me, and I'm a little surprised Rachel took aim at Democrats for smart messaging. Usually they're dumb about it, but they got this one right.

Andrew Sullivan notes that Rush has given 'no compromise' marching orders, laying out a strategy where President Obama vetoes all of their his initiatives, should Republicans actually win the House and Senate, including balanced budget amendments, repealing 'Obamacare', and all the other teabag goodies we've been hearing over and over.

Of course, even if all these things were desirable, they're wildly implausible. But he knows that: "Obama's gonna veto all this," Limbaugh says. "So be it! Let him veto it! That helps us. We come back for it all again -- and he vetoes it again, and he calls us mean-spirited, extreme."

I wonder if Limbaugh is aware of that the latest NYT poll revealed that massive majorities want the main parties to compromise in the new Congress rather than stick to their positions. But when asked who would be more likely to compromise, 72 percent said that Obama, while only 46 percent said the Republicans. Limbaugh's nihilism and talk-radio conservatism is one sure way to bring independents back to the president. Advantage: Obama.

(I'm not sure where his numbers come from, but the poll numbers I have are the latest).


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