How will Democrats play their good hand?

Given that all my favorite bloggers have touted the latest polls on what Americans really think about cutting the deficit, I would be remiss in not sharing this as well.  Ezra Klein seems to have the greatest value-added by putting it into two handy charts:

programcutspoll.jpg

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Whereas Jon Chait has my favorite commentary:

Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, says these results are a “cautionary sign” for a Republican Party pursuing deep budget cuts.

He points out that the Americans who are most concerned about spending cuts are core Republicans and Tea Party supporters, not independents and swing voters.

“It may be hard to understand why a person might jump off a cliff, unless you understand they’re being chased by a tiger,” he said. “That tiger is the Tea Party.”

By the standards of these things, those are extremely sharp comments from McInturff. Leaders are usually more worried about internal threats than external threats. Boehner needs to make sure he doesn’t get deposed as speaker before he worries about winning a showdown with Democrats.

The specifics of the fight — Republicans promising to cut overwhelmingly popular programs, being willing to shut down the government, and pushing a plan that private analysts predict will reduce jobs — put them in a very tough position. Republicans are working really hard to buck each other up and ignore data about public opinion. Democrats have the upper hand here. President Obama may decide to cut a deficit deal, but both the politics and the policy say he should hand the Republicans their head first.

Sounds good, but honestly, I don’t have a lot of faith in Democrats being able to play the advantages that they have.  If they were good at that, we still would not have all the Bush tax cuts in effect.

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