In politics, controlling the conversation seems important, so an analysis of two separate-yet-related conversations on Twitter—one about the government shutdown and the other about Obamacare, the legislation which led to a Congressional impasse triggering the shutdown -- by researchers at the PEW Research Center's Journalism Project which showed great frustrations between September 27-30 is also important.
According to the recent PEWresearch report, written by Paul Hitlin and Nancy Vogt both researchers at the Pew Research Center's Journalism Project, the analysis of about 600,000 tweets that directly referred to the government shutdown and 900,000 Twitter conversations in the same time period on Obamacare, led to this:
"Opinions about the shutdown in the run-up to the deadline were dominated by those opposed to it and who largely blamed Republicans. But there was more conversation on Twitter about the ACA than the shutdown in those three days, and views there were driven by opponents of the program and were largely critical of the president."
On the healthcare issue, the writers stated in the story:
"Of the Twitter conversation that included opinions, 71% opposed the health care law while 29% either supported the measure or opposed the Republican efforts to defund it."
On the shutdown conversation, this was stated:
"Almost a quarter of the conversation about the shutdown (23%) focused on who was to blame. And, by more than a 3:1 margin, the verdict was clear: In the discussion focused on finding fault, 77% of the assertions on Twitter blamed Republicans in Congress while 23% blamed Democrats in Congress or Obama."
Cruz blames Harry Reid and President Obama
A new video from ABCnews, in which the senator debates ABC News' Jon Karl about the government shutdown and public opinion highlights the issue:
Jon Karl: "People hated this shutdown. They hated this impasse, and this was seen as the Ted Cruz shutdown. You, more than any single individual, were seen as the one that triggered this crisis to begin with."
Ted Cruz: "Jon, I agree that a lot of DC politicians tried to call it that, and a lot of media did too. But ... look, let me be very clear, I said throughout this, 'we shouldn't have a shutdown, I don't want a shutdown,' I repeatedly voted to open the government..."
Jon Karl (interrupting): "But there never would have been a shutdown if you hadn't gone with this strategy of saying 'we are not even going to fund the government for six weeks unless we can defund Obamacare.'"
Cruz: "There never would have been a shutdown if Harry Reid and President Obama hadn't said 'we will not compromise, we will not negotiate shut the government down.'"
The snarky media comments have been hitting Cruz for a long while it seems.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, after colleague Jennifer Rubin said that Senator Ted Cruz should quit being "a jerk," remarked, per mediabistro:
“If there’s bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill it’s that Senator Cruz is a bit of a jerk. Well, maybe not a bit of a jerk. He is a jerk. Democrats don’t like him and Republicans can’t stand him.”
And the HuffingtonPost reported on a David Brooks comment about Cruz in April:
"If you mention the name Ted Cruz to other senators, you just get titanic oceans of eye rolling. Because you're a freshman, you don't go in and take over hearings, you, like, hang around and learn how it's done. And it's like the most unconservative act to come in, two weeks into the job, and decide that the Senate exists for you to take it over. And so I think he's made a lot of enemies. It doesn't help that he has a face that looks a little like Joe McCarthy, actually."
So what does Cruz hope for, drawing the ire of many around him?
A Ted Cruz tweet that Obamacare will cause layoffs and a reluctance to hire new employees, cites a March 2013 report from the Federal Reserve.
Note this, please: a federal reserve item from 2012 also mentions Obamacare concerns on the economy:
"Members report reluctance on the part of business managers to commit to long-term capital improvements or hiring with the extraordinary number of unknowns they face. Tax policy, the “fiscal cliff,” and the unknown full impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (so-called “Obamacare”) have all resulted in so much uncertainty among businesses that capital spending and hiring have been put on the back burner until the fog begins to lift. Specifically, some members report that revolving loan utilization rates remain quite low despite the seasonal upswing that would usually be seen at this time of year. Commercial borrowers who rely on federal contract work are being especially cautious, as the resolution to the “fiscal cliff” may well include substantial reductions in the amount of contract work available. Those doing business on the private side report razor thin or even negative margins in a highly competitive marketplace."
During August, Cruz had a radio script on his website stressing the "broken promises" of the healthcare law:
"'If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.' That was one of the many promises that President Obama made about his health care law. And it’s just not true. According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, under Obamacare, seven million people will lose their employer-sponsored insurance."
Obamacare and 'dumping' workers onto the federal dole
The survey bothering Cruz, and mentioned on his website, was the 2011 McKinsey & Company finding that thirty percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering employer-sponsored insurance in the years after 2014. The survey of private sector employers seemed to be just a sampling of attitudes suggesting that the shift away from employer-provided health insurance could be greater than expected, and thus, as Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, states in a Forbes opinion:
"McKinsey’s numbers jibe with those of the progressive Urban Institute, which recently published a study fearing that “droves of employees—potentially tens of millions—are likely to shift out of employer-provided health insurance over the next decade or two, especially as newer firms and their employees find it more profitable [to do so].”
"The problem is that, under Obamacare, a huge chunk of the country will be eligible for government subsidies, if they buy insurance on their own. If more people attempt to take advantage of those subsidies than the government projects, and employers recognize they will save money by dumping their workers onto the federal dole, the Congressional Budget Office has underestimated Obamacare’s costs by trillions of dollars."