Traditionally, the public likes to see bipartisan cooperation in Washington. So, the perception that the GOP isn't reaching across the aisle may be holding the party back in its efforts to capitalize on discontent with the Democratic track record so far."As someone who spends a fair amount of time with young people, I rather doubt that most 20-somethings are on twitter right now saying "OMG, Obama MUST work harder at bipartisanship!" As a trained sociologist, let me suggest that this interpretation of the data is complete and utter nonsense. As Benjamin Disraeli pointed out long ago,
There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics."The problems with statistics are many. The results are in what we ask, how we ask it, whom we ask, and most importantly, how we interpret it. If we ask voters "Do you think Obama should be doing more to cooperate with Republicans in Congress" they will often say "yes" and then we interpret that as the cause for the loss of popularity among the Dems. But if we asked voters "Do you think Obama's policies are significantly different than Bush's" and people said "no" then we could use that to explain the drop in the Dems' popularity. The truth is, if the new administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress do not take this moment to create a radical break with the former administration- end the wars, stop giving wealth to the banks rather than the people, hold the Bushies accountable, etc.- then, statistically speaking, a growing percentage of Americans will not see change, but more of the same. And it's very difficult to get excited about more of the same, especially since it has led to a diminshed sense of security - econonmic, physical, health, food, etc.- for most of us. It would be, statistically speaking, most probable that the Dems could reverse this downward trend in poularity if they stopped listening to scoundrels, liars and statisticians and took the words of Gore Vidal, a writer, more seriously. Vidal once said that
America is not the only country with a one party system, but the only country with two right wings."Obama and the Dems better stop acting like a Center Right party and actually begin real progressive change. Otherwise, the People will feel apathy, at best, but statistically speaking, the most likely result will be disdain and disgust for a party that promised change and delivered the status quo.