Obama doesn't need to back away from investment to appease conservatives
Conservative pollster Frank Luntz takes to the pages of the L.A. Times to share the news that everyone loves infrastructure:
Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment …
The survey’s findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education — they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.
Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation’s infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.
This demonstrates yet another reason why Obama’s attempt to appease conservatives by bumping transit infrastructure investments to make room for tax cuts is pointless. The people want infrastructure, they want stimulus, and those two happen to be the same thing, so who gives a f*ck what Republicans want?
Nate Silver follows up with this excellent point:
I’m not sure why Obama isn’t doing more to highlight the green portions of the stimulus bill. The public seems to tolerate the spending on bridges and highways — but they also see it, perhaps not wholly improperly, as make-work. The long-run benefits of the alternative energy programs, on the other hand, are far more intuitively appealing. If the central critique of the stimulus is that the debt we’re creating will be burdensome to future generations, that concern could be mitigated if the spending in question is portrayed as a down payment made on behalf of those future generations toward cleaning up the environment and mitigating dependence on fossil fuels. It also provides for some sense of purpose to the stimulus: we’ll come out of this, Obama can say, with the greenest, most energy-independent major industrial economy in the world, etc. etc.
Exactly. I really don’t see why Obama has to trim his sails one bit on this stuff. It’s overwhelmingly popular and substantively correct policy, a combo that doesn’t come along very often.