Monday, March 16, 2009

President Obama: Cooling As The Weather Is Warming

As the temperature begins to get warmer with spring just a week away, President Barack Obama's approval ratings are heading in the other direction. Yes, the American public is cooling to the 44th president of the United States and he could use some global warming right about now. The president's approval rating has fallen to 56% in the latest Rasmussen poll after being 65% on innauguration day. However what's more striking for President Obama is that his disapproval rating has surged to 43% in Rasmussen and 34% in the more left-leaning CNN/Opinion Research poll. So why has "the annointed one" fallen from such favor?

Clive Crook in the Financial Times states that the president has lost the center of the country who supported him over John McCain in the election. He states that the American people though they were getting a centrist, but instead have received an ideological liberal. He even states that President Obama's attacks on Rush Limbaugh made him look "silly" and the public thought with the economy the way it is that this was no time to play politics. Simply put, the American people thought they were getting a president who was above petty Washington partisanship, but instead they received a guy who revels in it.
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David P. Gushee in USA Today makes the central point that evangelicals who voted for Obama thought he would bridge the divide brought forth by the culture wars, but instead those barriers have held firm. Gushee had hoped that the Democratic Party platform of trying to limit abortions meant that they were attempting to move to the center on that issue. Instead, the president's reversal of the Mexico City Policy, his appointment of strong abortion advocate Kathleen Sebelius, and his allowing of embryonic stem cell research has alienated social conservatives and even moderates. President Obama has launched an attack on life in favor of groups such as planned parenthood

However, his biggest source of disapproval comes from his managing of the economy through massive government spending that has yet to generate any sort of economic recovery. President Obama knows that if his stimulus package fails that he will be a very unpopular president and for the first time in over two years he is not receiving overwhelming admiration from the public.

Adam Nagourney in a front page piece in today's New York Times states that the administration is "Bracing For a Backlash On Wall Street Bailouts." They are worried that people could start to show their anger over the bailing out CEO's and executives and that ultimately a populist uprising could breakout. They are also fearful that since Obama was a Harvard Law School professor and a Hyde Park resident in Chicago, that he can be easily tied to elitist Wall Street types who are benefitting from his policies. If this turns out to be true, Obama could lose a lot of support in states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana that were crucial to his presidential victory. That would put the party in tough shape for the 2010 midterm election and maybe even make the president vulnerable for reelection in 2012

The worst news for President Obama is that he can no longer blame this bad economy on Bush, because the public is no longer buying it. Carter also got a pass for a while because of Nixon and Ford, but eventually his horrid policies proved to be his undoing. The Republicans have a great chance to gain seats in Congress as long as they stand on their principles of individualism and personal responsibiilty. The public is getting a taste of what America will be if both don't exist anymore and they are starting to get a bitter taste in their mouth. The Revolution has begin and the president must adjust or deal with the consequences. It is crucial for Republicans to stay on message and give the American people an alternative. It is what the party needs to gain strength and once again have major role in formulating policy in Washington, D.C.

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