I keep hearing President Obama’s popularity ratings are plummeting. My question is why?
On a macro scale, he’s done just about everything he promised to in the 2007-08 campaign: push healthcare reform and Wall Street regulation; restore America’s diplomatic standing in the world; take a hard line on security; jump start renewable energy; work to close Gitmo and wind down the Iraq War; rebuild the electrical grid and get economy back on its feet.
To one degree or another, all of this is happening. As someone who writes about technology, I see billions of federal dollars flowing to utilities in matching grants to rebuild the nation’s electrical grid. Battery makers and electric auto projects are also being backed. Such funding is critical to national security, weaning ourselves off oil imports (does anyone care anymore?) and making the U.S. more competitive.
If he’s made political miscalculations, why would we sour on him when it’s politics and Belthway insider-ism we complain about? Bottom line: President Obama is not doing a good job. He’s doing a great job in incredibly challenging times. But he’s still learning. Did anyone honestly think the country would turn around in a year under a rookie president? Progress has been made and the country is on the right track.
People have short memories about where we were heading under the last president. Check your 401k statements from where they were a year ago. Why would anyone be for allowing insurance companies to drop sick people from their rolls? We’re still losing jobs every month, but the number is far fewer: 598,000 in January, 2009 versus 11,000 in November and 85,000 in December.
The Jan. 19 issue of Time takes stock in the Obama Presidency on the eve of his second State of Union speech and it’s quite favorable. More than anything, it faults him for not giving up sooner on courting most Republicans. Besides healthcare reform bogging down, “he’s done a great many other things very well.” Author Joe Klein’s biggest criticism is saved for Republicans, accusing them of “nihilism.”
They [Republicans] demagogued nonexistent provisions of the [healthcare reform] bill.” Klein writes.
How is that working for us?
Obama told Klein that when he’d go to meet the Republican caucus to get their ideas on the stimulus package, minority leader John Boehner would release statements that the GOP would vote against such a measure before the exchange took place. The Republican leadership acts like petulant children.
A friend told me Obama’s timing is off. When Wall Street was cratering our 401ks a year ago, Obama should have gone after the banks and brokerage firms instead of pursing healthcare reform. That’s a good point. Wall St. was enemy number one, but we voters have short and selective memories.
The far right preaches morality, harps about taxes and if they don’t say so outright hopes President Obama goes down in flames. The Republican strategy is to say “no” until they are back in power. Certainly, they win on being the loudest and most vitriolic. Washington politics are so nasty that “survival is as good as it gets,” Klein writes.
The rest of us – moderate Republicans , Democrats and Independents – want to see the president succeed. And if you’re unsure about President Obama, remember what it was like under the last president.
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