Millions of Americans with homes “underwater” may relate easily these days to President Barack Obama. Poll after poll discloses that Obama is up to his neck and sinking in what looks like pickle juice while his favorability percentages may soon take him to the bottom of that “vat.” It’s unfortunate for this nation that his greatest strength has turned out to be his rhetoric.
For years, Obama’s personal favorability ratings helped to protect him from the fires of partisanship that dominate life in D.C. nowadays. He was generally favored through the economic recession with all its fits and starts, ongoing fisticuffs with the Congress, and his re-election challenge.
However, favorability has sunk for the commander-in-chief rather significantly. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, Obama’s low point was reached at 38 percent in mid-October 2013, from a high of 69 percent in January 2009. The prognosticators believe that he may not have bottomed-out yet and it’s unlikely he’ll recover.
So what? Amendment 22 of the U.S. Constitution forbids a third term; nevertheless, he needs to remain relevant with the public in order to rally his fellow Americans around his proposals. Hence, it’s surmised that he would probably not prefer to be a lame duck but may have become one.
Scan what has happened to lead his favorability south. His drop follows the 16-day government shutdown washout, the tidal wave of problems during his health care law’s rollout, and another flood of revelations about U.S. government spying. Another recent poll last month found about half of Americans think Obama is neither honest nor likeable.
When looked at from the standpoint of the reasons behind his manifold problems, they mainly have to do with what’s believed to be his inability to deal with his own weaknesses and what it takes to self-correct. The view from outside the White House is that Obama is staffed by lock-step loyalists and obsessed by secrecy; it’s thought that he’s only able to handle what he wants to hear while his advisors are “yes” men and women.
Nevertheless, no credence here is given to Kenya-born, socialism-seeking theories about Obama: it’s believed he’s an American tried and true and a good family man. Apparently, though, he’s a fairly inept executive and a man who’d rather spend time in the White House upstairs than mingle in Washington and a person who poorly manages personnel and projects.
One example has to do with the Affordability Care Act (ACA) implementation. It’s reported that Obama rejected pleas from outside experts to deal with its mammoth tasks. Instead, he left the project in the care of his in-house loyalists whose success has been elusive. Obama, it is reported, ignored all advice from outside his inner circle and has remained insulated against all but his clique of favorites.
When Obama’s second term as president ends in a couple of years, the American people will have endured three two-term presidents whose personalities and character weaknesses have overshadowed their ability to serve effectively. What’s hoped for in our next chief executive is an American who’s not only academically gifted but able to work and interact effectively with more members of Congress and the U.S. public in general.
In the final analysis, with Obama we have a president who appears to have lost his way with promises made: a man who can’t stand by what he said were his convictions. After all, for just a couple of examples, he’s now supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that, like NAFTA, will send tens of thousands-more American jobs overseas while he’s rumored ready to give up on support of Social Security, Medicare and most other social programs. It’s really unfortunate for millions of us that he can’t walk like he talks.
(Gene H. McIntyre live in Keizer.)