On major issues, 48% of voters say that the average Tea Party member is closer to their views than President Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 44% hold the opposite view and believe the president’s views are closer to their own.
Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly feel closer to the Tea Party and most Democrats say that their views are more like Obama’s. Among voters not affiliated with either major political party, 50% say they’re closer to the Tea Party while 38% side with the President.
To understand just how incredible this is, remember the tea party did not exist in 2008 at all, yet now holds a 4% lead over the most popular and charismatic political figure in America in decades, President Barack Obama. Apparently, the Democratic strategy to smear the tea party as racist, extremist terrorists has failed spectacularly, as noted by the tea party’s lead over President Obama reported today and even the favorable marks that the last ABC/WaPo poll showed for the tea party.
Last week, Rasmussen Reports released data showing that 47% of voters felt closer to the views of Tea Party members than to Congress. Only 26% felt closer to Congress.
The new polling found that just 33% believe their views are closer to the average member of a Labor Union than to Congress. In fact, a plurality of voters were undecided when asked about that comparison. While 48% of Democrats said their own views were closer to the average union member, most Republicans and unaffiliated voters could not choose between the two.
In a head-to-head comparison, 45% felt closer to the average Tea Party Member while 35% felt closer to the average union member.
Fifty-three percent (53%) believe their views are closer to the average school teacher than to Congress. Teachers scored six points higher than the Tea Party members when compared to Congress.
In a head-to-head match-up, 47% said they felt closer to the average school teacher while 41% said they felt closer to the average Tea Party member. Once again, the results betray a heavy partisan difference. Democrats prefer the school teachers, Republicans are closer to the Tea Party, and unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.
Earlier polling found that just 16% of voters nationwide consider themselves part of the Tea Party Movement. However, views of the Tea Party remain more positive than negative among voters. Just 11% believe Congress is doing a good or an excellent job.
All told, numbers such as these spell near-political doom for the Obama Administration. The main ally of the Obama Administration, big unions, is apparently disfavored by the American people right now, while the main political enemy of the Administration, the tea party, has been able to withstand a constant barrage of Democratic and establishment media criticism to remain popular with the American people. The “conventional wisdom” of the DC and media elites that passing Obamacare would strongly drive Obama and Dem popularity up has now been completely debunked, with only the sole Gallup one-day poll ever showing Obamacare as net approved and all other polls, including Gallup’s own later three-day poll, showing Obamacare actually continuing to sink in popularity after its historic passage.
The political toll that the partisan, acrimonious and essentially un-American means of passage of Obamacare takes on the “Obama Brand” and the Democrats as a whole may end up being higher than even some of Obama’s critics are now alleging, as governing against the will of the American people has apparently forced Obama and Democratic approval down towards American approval of Obamacare as a whole, and as long as Obamacare remains in the news, this dynamic appears set to continue. If the tea party can keep an edge on President Obama amongst likely voters up to and including the November 2010 election, America may see an unprecedented shift in power away from the Democrats for the 112th Congress starting in January 2011.
In a dramatic reversal late on Friday evening, the White House admitted that newly minted Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) US envoy, Rashad Hussain, made inappropriate comments in support of convicted terrorist supporter Sami Al-Arian. Politico notes the reversal:
President Barack Obama’s new Islamic envoy, Rashad Hussain, changed course Friday – admitting he made sharply critical statements about a U.S. terror prosecution against a Muslim professor after initially saying he had no recollection of making such comments.
“I made statements on that panel that I now recognize were ill-conceived or not well-formulated,” Hussain said, referring to a 2004 conference where he discussed the case.
Hussain’s reversal came after POLITICO obtained a recording of his presentation to a Muslim students’ conference in Chicago, where he can be heard portraying the government’s cases towards professor Sami Al-Arian, as well as other Muslim terrorism suspects, as “politically motivated persecutions.” Al-Arian later pled guilty to aiding terrorists.
The comments touched off criticism from conservative commentators, who questioned whether someone who held those views should represent the United States in the Muslim world.
Initially, Hussain, 31, said through a White House spokesman that he didn’t recall making the statements. Hussain also suggested that another speaker on the panel, Al-Arian’s daughter Laila, made the comments about her father.
As noted by Politico, the White House and Rashad Hussein before today claimed that newly appointed OIC envoy Hussain did not make statements in support of convicted terror supporter Al-Arian. Indeed, the White House and compliant journalists, like ABC’s Jake Tapper, went so far as to state as fact that the quotes by Hussain in a 2004 article were “misattributed” to him:
In 2006, Al-Arian, a Florida professor, entered into a plea agreement in which he admitted conspiring to help people associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group designated terrorist by the US government in 1995. Al-Arian admitted that he hid his associations with Palestinian Islamic Jihad by lying to some people, and that had been associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad during “the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s.”
Two years before that, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs reported that Hussain called Al-Arian’s case one from a series of “politically motivated persecutions” and that the case against Al-Arian was being “used politically to squash dissent.”
But that report was apparently erroneous. Hussein denies being the one who made the comments, and the editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Delinda Hanley, later edited the quotes out of the story because, she says, Al-Arian’s daughter, Laila Al-Arian, actually made the comments attributed to Hussain.
ABC’s Jake Tapper, seen by many as the most independent and objective reporter in the White House News Corps, strongly pushed the Obama Administration’s talking points that the attribution of the damaging, terror sympathizer supporting comments to Hussain “was apparently erroneous” as the 2004 Washington Report article reporting them had been “edited” to remove the Hussain quotes. Sadly, Tapper, and the rest of the mainstream media, tonight failed to clearly correct their prior, false reporting but instead just edit out the offending passages, as Tapper’s article linked above no longer includes the phrase “apparently erroneous.” Prior to this evening, the left wing new media, as epitomized by Media Matters, a site that is funded by Democratic partisans, actually smeared other media sources who were questioning Hussain’s prior denials by trumpeting the White House and Tapper’s false claim that the Hussain quotes were “apparently erroneous.”
The only reason it appears Hussain, the mainstream media and the White House reversed course on the “misattribution” talking point is the surfacing of the transcript. It is troubling to this observer that the White House would so overwhelmingly push a clearly false storyline that “controversial remarks defending Al-Arian two years earlier were made by his daughter — not by Hussain” for several days and only cease such fraudulent activity when being presented with a transcript of the remarks as made by Hussain. A highly disturbing revelation from tonight’s Politico report is that Hussain himself made the call to the Washington Report last year to demand his quotes be removed from the 2004 article, despite the fact that Hussain admits making the statements:
Hussain also answered another question surrounding his comments – why they were removed from the website of a magazine on Middle East issues that published a brief account of the panel back in 2004, attributing the statement about “politically motivated persecutions” to Hussain.
It was Hussain himself, he said Friday, who contacted the publication to complain about the story.
“When I saw the article that attributed comments to me without context, leaving a misimpression, I contacted the publication to raise concerns about it. Eventually, of their own accord, they modified the article,” Hussain said of the article in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs.
Obviously, as Hussain himself was calling the Washington Report last year regarding his quotes in a 2004 article, Hussain, and the White House, were well aware that Hussain made the controversial comments at the Muslim Students Association conference in 2004, and not Al-Arian’s daughter as the White House has been claiming since this story broke early this week until tonight’s reversal.
Many conservatives and moderates are pointing out that the Obama Administration cannot not have key officials, like new OIC envoy Hussain, espousing such radical views of U.S. terror prosecutions. This is especially so in a case like Al-Arain’s, which, despite Hussain’s claims that the case against Al-Arain was one of many “political motivated persecutions” by Bush-era anti-terror prosecutors, resulted in a conviction of Al-Arain via guilty plea for material support of terrorism, specifically support of the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad. The Obama Administration apparently has no plans to jettison Hussain:
The White House declined to say Friday whether the statements or the controversy affected Obama’s confidence in Hussain.
Perhaps the most disturbing revelation in tonight’s reporting on Hussain involves a deeper, personal link that Hussain revealed in the newly unearthed transcript of the 2004 comments made at an Muslim Students Association conference at Yale Law School. As noted above, one of the “politically motivated persecutions” railed against by Hussain in 2004 was the case of Professor Sami Al-Arian. Thereafter, Professor Al-Arian plead guilty to a charge of supporting terrorist activity, admitting that he conspired to help Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group, and was closely associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad during “the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s.”
In his speech, Hussain revealed another link that may have left him sympathetic for Al-Arian. Hussain indicated he was acquainted with Al-Arian’s son Abdullah, while both were college students in North Carolina.
Hussain told the audience that he was on hand when Abdullah Al-Arian was abruptly removed by the Secret Service from a White House meeting in June 2001, prompting a walkout by Muslim leaders. President George W. Bush later apologized for the incident, which a spokesman called “wrong and inappropriate.”
The extent of the relationship between Hussain and the Al-Arian family is sure to come under close scrutiny in the days to come as Hussain attempts to ride out this embarrassing, forced admission and keep his job as Obama’s top Islamic advisor in the years to come. Convicted terrorism supporter Professor Al-Arian’s family appears to have fantastic connections with the left wing media and Democrat Party, as son Abdullah Al-Arian interned for Democrat House Member David Bonior in 2001 while daughter Laila Al-Arian works for Al-Jezerra in DC and is warmly embraced by left wing new media.
The fervor over the flip-flop by the Obama Administration on whether Hussain made the 2004 comments, as well as over the extent of Hussain’s relationship with the Al-Arian family (as such family includes one convicted terror supporter, Sami Al-Arian), could continue into next week. The political heat on this matter may end up costing Hussain his new job as the chief Islamic envoy as many conservatives and moderates could object to the concept of a convicted Islamic terrorism supporter’s family friend being the United States’ chief Islamic envoy and call upon Obama to fire Hussain or at least ask him to resign.
UPDATE: Powerline links over, thanks for the link guys, welcome to Powerline readers. By way of substantive update, go here for Politico’s audio tape of Hussain’s 2004 comments in support of Al-Arian