The recent Pew poll clearly states two things - independents want Democrats to confront Republicans and Democrats are unhappy with Democratic leadership. The latest AP poll confirms this result, but also points to the fact that the public still blames the republicans for the Great Recession.
Essentially the Republicans are practicing a slow motion shutdown of the US government in order to prevent Obama from being able to claim any success as President. Yet even while holding the government hostage and shutting down as many government functions as they can get away with, the Republicans are trying to blame Obama for not getting things done.
The slow motion shutdown of government is an effort by the Republicans to conduct a political coup and retake the Presidency in 2012 even though the voters don't like them and disapprove of what they propose government does. Following the creation of a false crisis over the government debt that has damaged the financial markets worldwide while tying up the Congress and preventing it from acting to ameliorate the real jobs crisis. The Republicans will not permit the government they don't run to function. That is the message presented by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor When he told Brian Beutler that when Hurricane Irene hit his own Virginia Congressional District that he would hold the disaster relief that the government needs to provide hostage to force an equal amount of spending cuts from the rest of the federal budget.
So what does this have to do with the polls that show that the Republicans are unpopular but that Obama needs to lead? We know the Republicans are unpopular. THEY know they are unpopular. Why are they going out of their way to show why they are so unpopular? And why isn't Obama stepping up and leading America anyway?
It's a high-stakes gamble by the Republicans that the American voters will vote in 2012 based on the economic conditions in 2012 and blame Obama because he is the face of the federal government. The Republican leadership is betting that we voters will on average forget the crap the Republicans are pulling to prevent government from functioning and instead blame the guy who is in charge for the previous three years.
The Republicans can (possibly) make this work because the Constitution created a Presidential system with shared powers. The President can tell Congress what he wants to do, but nothing gets into the budget that does not have the approval of the leadership of House of Representatives - currently John Boehner (R - OH.) And John Boehner is currently be led by the nose by the extremist social conservatives who call themselves the tea party who were elected in the 2010 election. Hey! American voters can't blame the Republicans if they are being forced to cater to extremist crazies, can they? No, the Republicans are betting that the American voters in 2012 will blame the bad economic conditions (caused by Bush and the Republicans) on the man who cannot get the House of Representatives (under Republican leadership) to pass a budget that includes programs that will actually increase employment in America.
This Republican high-stakes gamble is based on the idea that the (illegitimate foreign-born Muslim Black) President Barak Obama has failed to make things better for the average Americans in spite of the total obstruction he faces from the Republican Party, FOX News, and Rush Limbaugh.
Why do I call it a high-stakes gamble for the Republicans? Because they are betting the future of their party on the ignorance, stupidity and short memory of the average American voter. The Republican Party is already at low levels of disapproval never before reached by an American national party in the history of approval/Disapproval polls. But they have 14 months until the 2012 election and they have control of an amazing propaganda machine here in America (centered on FOX and on the right-wing talk shows of the Limbaugh type.)
The Republicans are also depending on the fact that Obama's polls are not that great right now, either. Again, they think that their efforts to neuter the effectiveness of government between now and the election and their propaganda machine can together drive those polls much lower by the time of the election.
At lot of liberals/progressives/Democrats probably agree with the Republicans about how low Obama's polls are and will be at the time of the election. But what is happening is that the Obama White House is doing two things. First, they are not having Obama stand up, present major policies that he has to have passed, and draw the automatic fire that will come from the Republicans. Obama simply cannot champion any program because it will automatically be vetoed by the Republicans, even if it was one they previously championed themselves. Second, Obama is doing his job as President, especially in foreign policy. The death of Osama bin Laden (which Bush found so difficult that he publicly abandoned the effort) and the overthrow of Ghadaffi based on a NATO coalition that Obama put together have clearly demonstrated that Obama is doing his job extremely well when no obstructed by the Republicans.
There will be no jobs bills or anything else of significance getting through the Republicans in Congress before the 2102 election. The Republicans cannot afford to let Obama succeed in anything. As I have said, this is high-stakes for the Republicans. They are going to have to respond to Obama by getting even more extreme right-wing.
Obama's high-stakes gamble is that the voters will recognize that the Republicans are the source of American failure. Obama has been and continues to let them prove that.
So we see a pair of political high-stakes gambles being played out between now and the 2012 election. The Republicans are doing everything they can do both legislatively and propaganda-wise to stop Obama from succeeding as President and then blaming his for his failure, while Obama is doing everything he can do to govern effectively in spite of Republican obstruction and working to force the Republicans to expose their anti-American anti-governance policies to the voters.
If this were a high-stakes poker game being played on TV it would be fun to watch. As it is the results in 2012 may well determine if America continues as a major industrial and political power in the world in the 21st century or is reduced to a secondary nation run by self-centered wealthy corporate and banking thugs who finance a proto-fascist political system.