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Presidency

Obama At Year One

National Journal Poll shows 50% would probably or definitely vote for someone else, if they could vote now. According to the poll, fully 37% say they would definitely cast a ballot against Obama. Meanwhile, just 39% would vote to re-elect the pres. to a 2nd term, and only 23% say they definitely would do so.  How the President Obama lost his authority one year into his term probably merits a long conversation.  I can't do that but I can say a sentence or two (you guys do the rest, as you please).

I would say that his rather un-political disposition has been revealed.  Hillary may have been right about him.  He doesn't understand politics, especially American politics (he reminds me of Edmund Morris the guy that wrote the bad biography of Reagan, yet could write a great one of the young Teddy Roosevelt).  He thinks he is cool and collected and very smart.  Maybe he is.  But folks also want a little eros and a little spiritedness, depending.  He is either unwilling, or unable to deliver.  His insistence on moving along on a health care bill (of any kind) when people either question it or are opposed to it, has cost him dearly.  Perhaps if the context was not a bank crisis, then a huge expenditure of almost $800 billion, then running GM, all the high unemployment not getting better, never mind being reminded that there are bad guys out there....perhaps then he could have gotten away with it.  Even if he gets a bill passed, it will do him no political good.  The fact that he hasn't been able to persuade the people reveals that there is more to persuasion than intelligence.  He has lost the trust of the people (if he ever really had it); even progressives don't really trust him  It is possible the he will regain it, but that is unlikely.  The good good news for him is that he can only uphill from here. Maybe.

Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 5 Comments

The trouble with the McCain ads about "rock star" Obama was that, though true, they were the kind of thing that--if not already obvious to the voter--required about a year to sink in unassisted by argument (which could have been but was not offered by McCain). Maybe McCain rightly sensed that he would be taken as too negative or mean in pointing out Obama's nakedness . . . But once that jolting alternative perception of him was presented as a possibility, it was almost impossible not to accept it as your conclusion over time and in the face of the evidence Obama, himself, offered. Michael Medved--in what was perhaps not in his most generous but was, nonetheless, a very observant moment--noted yesterday that even in his speech about the tragedy in Haiti, Obama could not resist the temptation to make himself the focus of the mind's activity . . . it was all "I" am going to do this and "my administration" will do that . . . But is it really "my" administration, Mr. President? How do you do anything without the backing and good will of the American people?

If you want to be big daddy, at some point people will expect you to prove your bonifides. And further, it is very unlikely that people will be inspired to help you in that effort. This isn't a country that takes kindly to big daddies--especially not to ones who are keen to demonstrate how impressed we ought to be with them but not very capable at giving us reasons to feel impressed.

The McCain celebrity ad worked pretty well until McCain's reaction to the financial crisis showed McCain to be at least as shallow as Obama on domestic policy

I think Peter's analysis underestimates both the degree to which the rise in unemployment in the last year has hurt Obama's popularity and Obama's latent strengths in taking advantage of even a mild recovery (say unemployment going down to 7%). Obama still has a very sympathetic media, and especially that part of the media that apolitical people tend to watch, a demographic playing field that tilts to his advantage in 2012 and his own real political skills in organizing, fundraising, and speaking.

The current situation is obscuring these strengths, but even in this optimistic moment for conservatives, I can see danger signs.

Scott Brown's strong campaign in Massachusetts is heartening, but even the PPP poll that showed Brown up by a point showed ominous signs. Here is the link
http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_MA_45398436.pdf

Check out the crosstabs on race and ethnicity. If this election had been taking place with the racial and gender demographics of Massachusetts in 1980 (still a very liberal and Democratic state), Brown would be crushing Coakley. The problem is that he is losing African Americans by about 5 to 1 an Latinos by about 9 to 1 and those groups are much bigger than they were in 1980.

That doesn't mean Brown is doomed. A high turnout by suburban whites and a low turnout in Boston and the mid-sized cities like Lowell, Lawrence and New Bedford could throw the election to Brown, but those margins among the two largest nonwhite groups should give conservatives pause about what could happen when the environment is less unfriendly to Democrats.

In the fifth paragraph, I meant ethnic instead of gender. Sorry.

In a sense I'm beginning to see the logic of Hillary's move -- demurring on VP and going for Secretary of State.

A VP can't easily challenge an incumbent president between terms 1 and 2. But a rebellious SecState sure can.

Hillary is probably doing as little as possible in her post right now. Two reasons -- 1) doing nothing to aid the failing president, and 2) maintaining distance to disassociate herself from his administration. That probably explains her being so out of the news lately.

Clinton let's the ship take on more and more water and then come along about end of next year she starts preparing her assault.

The SS can only rebel and look justified if she is given something worth rebelling over. Daniel Henninger said this week (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB30001424052748704362004575000950327038326.html)

National security, however, is another matter.

The Afghanistan decision was a big deal; if it went wrong, we were cooked on national security. It didn't. Mr. Obama's decision to support Gen. Stanley McCrystal's counterinsurgency plan in Afghanistan was a procedural mess but arrived at the right result. Surely this happened because his national-security team pushed hard for that.

What emerged from the Afghan decision is that unlike the Congress or Cabinet, the Obama national security team has serious people on it. Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who served George Bush for two years, has re-upped for another. Leon Panetta is at CIA, Denny Blair is the national intelligence director, Adm. Mike Mullen is chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Mr. Obama retained Doug Lute, Mr. Bush's adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan. His top Army generals are David Petraeus, Stan McCrystal and Ray Odierno. The Marines are solid. By most accounts, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a factor in getting the Afghan decision to the right place.
....

The right has to find a way to separate the daily anti-Obama domestic policy wars (the front on which the 2010 election should be fought) from the hard complexities of the war on terror. Those two holiday horrors were a cold shower. I don't care what they call this war if they start pushing antiterror policy in the right direction.

He goes on to suggest that the right must support the president in doing the right things on terror because the left won't.

The president's approval numbers are not good and he does propose some stupid stuff (If the banks are taxed, where are they going to get the money to pay the tax?)
but we do have him as president for at least the next three years and longer if the Republicans can't field a credible candidate, which looks possible at this point. The right is desperate enough that I am already hearing people propose Brown of Mass. if he just wins this election. "If he can make there, he'll make it anywhere."

Of the pres., Peggy Noonan says " And we don't really need presidents to move us, when you think about it. We need them to lead, and in the right direction. " whic would be nice, but leading people includes moving them, or you can lead all you want and find no one following. Is that GWB did with the war? She is talking about a disconnect between Obama and the people and discusses that matter of "cool" , and Julie, you will like it as she talks about father-of-the-countrying.

Cool, collected and smart: even people like that come with prejudices which hamper how they respond to problems. If hennigner is right, Obama's prejudices about the war are being corrected by events and he may overcome them. Maybe other things will happen or maybe he will be hurt enough by events to rethink all sorts of his prejudices. Then he might be a good president, which we desperately need, or at least a fairly competent president, which means we might survive.

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