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People Vs. The Polls

Josh Green is confused by Republican Party's radical embrace of direct democracy:

I just returned from Capitol Hill, where the new health care law is still the preoccupying issue, and the Republican talking point du jour, which seems to have been issued with stage directions instructing that it be delivered in a tone of gravest concern, is that Democrats and President Obama have perpetrated a breathtaking assault on the body politic by passing a law that did not have widespread public support. I agree that Democrats have taken a political risk, though most polls I've seen show people about equally divided on the issue. What lent such a surreal quality to my morning is that several of these folks have held an abiding interest in the intersection of governing and public opinion--only they used to hold the opposite view. It seems like only yesterday that a certain prominent Republican was vowing to govern "based upon principles and not polls or focus groups"...

It's actually quite simple. When your own party does something unpopular, they're ignoring polls and focus groups, which is the definition of leadership. When the other party does it, they're "overriding the popular will," threatening the very foundations of democracy.

You see the difference? One is ignoring the people, and the other is ignoring polls. Everybody hates polls. The only thing worse than a poll is a focus group. But everybody loves the American people.