Monday, September 01, 2014

Polls suggest tough times for our ‘worst’ president

7/5/2014

A new poll this week brought some not-so-startling news: Americans now view Barack Obama as the worst U.S. president since World War II.

The Quinnipiac University survey — which found 33 percent of voters polled named Obama as the worst leader, trailed most closely by George W. Bush (picked as the worst by 28 percent of respondents) — isn’t without its critics. Obama surrogates and knee-jerk defenders gave the obligatory denunciations of the poll as politically biased, deceptive and, of course, even racist.

A new poll this week brought some not-so-startling news: Americans now view Barack Obama as the worst U.S. president since World War II.

The Quinnipiac University survey — which found 33 percent of voters polled named Obama as the worst leader, trailed most closely by George W. Bush (picked as the worst by 28 percent of respondents) — isn’t without its critics. Obama surrogates and knee-jerk defenders gave the obligatory denunciations of the poll as politically biased, deceptive and, of course, even racist.

Those are good enough excuses for some, but how do they explain away all the other recent polls?

Obama’s approval rating has been plummeting for months. His foreign policy expertise, especially, had been a sore spot even before the debacle of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s swap for five terrorists at Gauntanamo Bay. And then came the invasion of Iraq by organized Islamic militants. By mid-June, 58 percent of Americans said they disapproved of his foreign policy in a New York Times and CBS News poll. That data solidified earlier disapproval figures found by a Washington Post and ABC News survey, as well as others.

Are all these pollsters suddenly out to get the man the mainstream media has admired and fawned over for the past seven years? The president who has gotten a free pass on numerous scandals? The leader who rarely has to worry about public relations because many members of the press happily forge their own propaganda and silence critics by themselves?

Maybe the American public just isn’t buying Obama’s snake oil anymore.

Why? Could it be his sudden, post-election changes of heart on using executive orders to bypass Congress, sending un-manned drones to assassinate terror suspects, embracing big-money corporate donors at every opportunity, and expanding covert domestic and international spying programs on Americans and allies alike?

Perhaps. But if he’s a failure — as the “worst president” label would suggest — why would Americans give him that rating?

Is it because his signature Affordable Care Act has made health care more expensive and more difficult to manage for many taxpayers and businesses?

Is it because he brought soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, but allowed the VA system that serves them to implode and the countries they defended to fall apart?

Is it because he’s railed against the oft-discussed income inequality in America while taking lavish vacations and earning his wife top spots on “best dressed” fashion lists?

Is it because he afforded more respect to the body of Osama bin Laden, the terror leader killed by Navy Seals, than he did to Margaret Thatcher, the late British prime minister whose funeral Obama refused to attend?

Is it because he golfs, shoots hoops and parties with celebrities while factories across the nation close and prices on groceries and fuel continue to rise?

Possibly. But, hey, at least he quit smoking.

Popular or not, Obama serves as president for another 2 1/2 years (and since the effort last year to remove presidential term limits failed to gain traction, his reign presumably will end there). What remains to be seen is whether Obama can regain control over the narrative and put the “worst” focus back on his favorite fall guy: George W. Bush.

Until then, will the president’s current popularity drought impact presumed 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s Oval Office ambitions?

Clinton has her own baggage (age, health and throngs of conservative detractors to name a few). But like Obama, she also commands a cult of personality with whom she seemingly can do no wrong. Of course, if that “cult” discovers its adoration is based far outside reality — as apparently has happened with the current White House occupant — they’ll turn on her faster than she can say “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Five years ago, calling Obama a “snake oil salesman” would’ve gotten a commentator tarred and feathered as disrespectful, un-American and probably racist.

Today, however, even some of the president’s most ardent supporters barely care to muster much of a coherent response. When they do, it typically comes with a half-hearted line like “Meh. You know, snake oil isn’t so bad” or “Bush sold it first.”

Just as Obama’s predecessor quickly learned, sometimes when you’re at the top, you’re also on the bottom.

Tommy Felts,

managing editor

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