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Meanwhile, How is Obama Doing?

by | Jan 18, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

The two may or may not be related (my money is on the former).

On the one hand, what ABC News’ Amy Walter describes as three new national polls  that “show a very vulnerable president who is serious danger of losing re-election.”

On the other hand, what POLITICO describes as the “broken” relationship between Obama and Republican lawmakers, “the victim,” write Carrie Budoff Brown and Jonathan Allen, “of grand expectations and hardball political tactics, irreconcilable policy differences and perceived personal snubs.”

Let’s take the latter first (http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=33791452-366A-47C7-9523-DABD75464CB6).

As you would expect, “To his senior aides, the president had no other choice,” write Brown and Allen. All the usual excuses are trotted out, all variations of the “they never wanted to work with him,” but rebuttals are provided in a curiously even-handed way. (The POLITICO has not been hard on Obama.)

“Republicans counter that Obama never tried hard enough to understand Congress or build a relationship with its leaders, not during the first two years when his party controlled both chambers and not beyond the first six months of the 112th Congress with the House in GOP hands,” Brown and Allen write. “The tales of perceived insults are legion.”

More importantly just a few paragraphs in, the story provides a very important truth about Obama that has shaped and conditioned everything that’s happened:

“Obama issued the divorce papers to Congress this month when, in an unprecedented institutional snub, he unilaterally installed a new consumer watchdog and new appointees to the National Labor Relations Board over the objections of Senate Republicans. Obama already had decided to lash Congress from the campaign trail for the next year, and his aides made clear that the president has essentially given up on wringing any major legislation out of the place until after the election.”

To be sure the last half of the story is much harder on Republicans. “He  [Obama] shoulders none of the blame,” said Thomas Mann, a “congressional scholar” who has carried the Democrats’ water for decades. But the penultimate paragraph is very harsh on Obama:

“Obama has frayed nerves and relationships by seizing power from a Congress unwilling or unable to stop him: a Libya operation for which he neither sought nor waited for congressional approval, an endless stream of ‘We Can’t Wait’ executive orders and the president’s relentless criticism of Republicans on jobs.”

The three polls Amy Walter is referring to are (1) an ABC/Washington Post polling that shows Obama’s approval rating at 48%; (2) a Monday Gallup poll of which Lydia Saad writes, “Obama’s job approval rating has averaged 44 percent in Gallup Daily tracking since the start of January. That is below the approval rating of seven out of eight previous incumbents at a comparable point in their presidencies”; (3) a CNN/ORC poll asked voters who they saw as best able to “get the economy moving.”  53% picked Mitt Romney to only 40% for Obama.

Saad put it well when she begins by writing, “The U.S. political and economic environment at the start of 2012 is a challenging one for President Barack Obama as he seeks re-election,” and ends by observing “Americans’ current evaluation of the president’s job performance, their satisfaction with the direction of the country, and their ratings of the economy are all on the lower end of what Gallup has found at or near the start of previous years when an incumbent president sought re-election.”

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Categories: Obama