S&P also changed its assumption that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush would expire by the end of 2012, “because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.”
Democratic strategist Bill Carrick said Republicans shouldn’t view themselves as not also being in harm’s way from the repercussions in the deficit dispute.
“The danger zone here for the Republicans is instead of being free to bash the president, now they are sort of part of the problem,” said Carrick, who is based in Los Angeles. Republicans are vulnerable to criticism that they have an “unwillingness to compromise,” he added.
More than four out of five people surveyed in the New York Times/CBS Poll said the debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than doing what is best for the country. Republicans in Congress get more of the blame for the difficulties in reaching an agreement than the Democrats, according to the poll, conducted Aug. 2-3.
The survey showed that 72 percent disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the talks, while 66 percent disapproved of the conduct by Democrats. The poll of 960 adults has an error margin of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Washington-based Rothenberg Political Report, said S&P’s skepticism over the capacity of Congress and the administration to leverage its agreement into a broader plan to address the debt should be “a kick in the behind for both parties.”
Still, Bonjean, the Republican strategist based in Washington, said Obama will bear the brunt of the fallout from the downgrade.
“The attack ads will be cut instantly, because he’s the president who was in charge when our country’s downgraded for the first time in history,” he said.
Referring to a trip Obama has scheduled Aug. 15-17, Bonjean also said, “I would not want to be President Obama on a bus tour through the Midwest listening to Americans who are out of work or had interest rates raised on their loans, or are fearful of economic instability.”
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