It appears that a new CBS poll shows the public is unhappy with the shutdown and blames the GOP. Nationally 72% of the pubic disapproves of the shutdown and by a margin of 44-35, according to the poll, people blame Congress over the President. Of course what is most interesting is that 57% of self-identified Tea Party supporters are in favor of the shutdown.
It is that 57% that people like John Boehner and Congressional Republicans really care about. They are the ones who show up to vote primaries. The generic 72% don’t match the Tea Partiers enthusiasm and involvement.
This point is driven home by this Daily Beast article, in particular this exchange between Congressman Gregg Walden and big GOP donors:
“Listen,” Walden said, according to several people present. “We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”
Walden asked how many of those seated around the table were precinct captains. These were money men, though, not the types to spend night after night knocking on doors and slipping palm cards into mailboxes.
“A lot of the people there didn’t even know what a precinct captain was,” said one attendee.
Not a single hand went up.
“I hear this complaint all the time,” Walden said. “But no one gets involved at the local level. The Tea Party gets involved at the local level.”
That exchange explains everything the GOP is doing right now. There is one assumption that underpins this logic. It is the belief that the Walden was talking to won’t take their money elsewhere. If the fundraisers simply cut back on what they gave that might get the attention of a few folks at the RNC, NRCC, and NRSC. After all, it is hard to win any election without money.