Time: From man of the year to Mr. Unpopular in a year and a half.

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
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Here is a long Time magazine piece about how Obama become Mr. unpopular.

It should be read by all our left wing members who have yet to grasp the real reason why Obama is in the tank and why the Democrats are about to lose control of congress.

The second part, The Overreach, sums up Obama's problem nicely. American's wanted a president who would work on the economy and they got one who decided to work on his own political agenda. The results are bad for the country, bad for Democrats and in the long run most likely bad for Obama who will probably see all his programs repealed by the next congress and/or president.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2015629,00.html
The Barack Obama that most Hoosiers remember voting for can still be found on YouTube. He stands before a cheering Elkhart high school gymnasium in August 2008, tireless, aspirational, promising a new America of jobs and hope. "We can choose another future," says the newcomer with the funny name. "So I ask you to join me."

Today that view of Obama is harder to find in Indiana. A couple of weeks back and a dozen miles west of Elkhart, hundreds gathered in another school gym — except this time it was for a job fair. With the local unemployment rate above 12% and rising again this summer, about a third of the employer display tables stood empty. Julie Griffin, who voted for Obama in '08, sat down at the room's edge, well dressed and discouraged. After 23 years as a payroll administrator at a local RV plant, she got laid off 18 months ago. "Really, what has he been doing?" she said when I asked about Obama's efforts to help people like her. "I guess I don't know what he is doing."

Across the gym floor, Joe Donnelly, Elkhart's pro-life, pro-gun Democratic Congressman, worked the crowd. He was part of the moderate wave that won Congress for Nancy Pelosi in '06, and he was re-elected with 67% of the vote while campaigning for Obama in '08. The President has since returned to the region three times, but Donnelly is nonetheless fighting for his political life. In a recent television ad, an unflattering photo of Obama and Pelosi flashes while Donnelly condemns "the Washington crowd." This is basically a Democratic campaign slogan now: Don't blame me for Obama and Pelosi. "I'm not one of them," Donnelly told me when I caught up with him. "I'm one of us."

This shift in perception — from Obama as political savior to Obama as creature of Washington — can be seen elsewhere. When Obama arrived in office in January '09, his Gallup approval rating stood at 68%, a high for a newly elected leader not seen since John Kennedy in 1961. Today Obama's job approval has been hovering in the mid-40s, which means that at least 1 in 4 Americans has changed his or her mind. The plunge has been particularly dramatic among independents, whites and those under age 30. With midterm elections just nine weeks off, instead of the generational transformation some Democrats predicted after 2008, the President's party teeters on the brink of a broad setback in November, including the possible loss of both houses of Congress. By a 10-point margin, people say they will vote for Republicans over Democrats in Congress, the largest such gap ever recorded by Gallup.

White House aides explain this change as a largely inevitable reflection of the cycles of history. Midterms are almost always bad for first-term Presidents, and worse in hard times. "The public is rightly frustrated and angry with the economy," says Dan Pfeiffer, Obama's communications director, explaining the White House line. "There is no small tactical shift we could have made at any point that would have solved that problem." In more confiding moments, aides admit that the peak of Obama's popularity may have been inflated, a fleeting result of elation at the prospect of change and national pride in electing the first African-American President. As one White House aide puts it, "It was sort of fake."

But while these explanations may be valid, they are also incomplete. A sense of disappointment, bordering on betrayal, has been growing across the country, especially in moderate states like Indiana, where people now openly say they didn't quite understand the President they voted for in 2008. The fear most often expressed is that Obama is taking the country somewhere they don't want to go. "We bought what he said. He offered a lot of hope," says Fred Ferlic, an Obama voter and orthopedic surgeon in South Bend who has since soured on his choice. Ferlic talks about the messy compromises in health care reform, his sense of an inhospitable business climate and the growth of government spending under Obama. "He's trying to Europeanize us, and the Europeans are going the other way," continues Ferlic, a former Democratic campaign donor who plans to vote Republican this year. "The entire American spirit is being broken."

One explanation for Obama's steep decline is that his presidency rests on what Gallup's Frank Newport calls a "paradox" between Obama and the electorate. In 2008, Newport notes, trust in the federal government was at a historic low, dropping to around 25%, where it still remains. Yet Obama has offered government as the primary solution to most of the nation's woes, calling for big new investments in health care, education, infrastructure and energy. Some voters bucked at the incongruity, repeatedly telling pollsters that even programs that have clearly helped the economy, like the $787 billion stimulus, did no such thing. Meanwhile, the resulting spike in deficits, which has been greatly magnified by tax revenue lost to the economic downturn, has spooked a broad sweep of the country, which simply does not trust Washington to responsibly handle such a massive liability.

The Overreach
Rather than address these concerns as the economic crisis grew, Obama made a conscious choice to go big with government reforms of health care and energy. The bailouts of the auto companies, the rescue of Wall Street and the new regulation of banks and the financial industry only deepened the public's skepticism, especially among independent voters. Rather than dwell on the political problems, the President pushed his team forward, believing, in the words of top adviser David Axelrod, that "ultimately the best politics was to do that which he thought was right."

It wasn't long before deep cracks in Obama's coalition began to appear. This past June, Peter Brodnitz of the Benenson Strategy Group, a firm that also polls for the White House, asked voters which they preferred: "new government investments" or "cutting taxes for business" as the better approach to jump-start job creation. Even among those who voted for Obama, nearly 38% preferred tax cuts. When Brodnitz offered a choice between tax cuts to reduce the deficit and investments in "research, innovation and new technologies," one-third of Obama voters chose the cuts. The evidence throughout the poll, commissioned by the think tank Third Way, was unmistakable: roughly 1 in 3 of the President's 2008 supporters had serious questions about government spending solutions for the economy. In Nevada, a state Obama won with 55% of the vote, only 29% of likely voters this year think the President's actions have helped the economy, according to a recent poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. "A lot of this was really inevitable, or at least pretty predictable," says Indiana Senator and former governor Evan Bayh, a Democratic expert at getting elected in the Rust Belt. "We have a lot of government activism at a time when skepticism of government efficiency is at an all-time high." (See pictures of Obama's first year in the White House.)

It's not as if the White House didn't see this coming. After a meeting in December 2008 about the severity of the economic crisis, Axelrod pulled Obama aside. He recalls saying, "Enjoy these great poll numbers you have, because two years from now, they are not going to look anything like this." But even as Obama aides were aware of a growing disconnect, it didn't seem to worry their boss. Instead, the ambitious legislative goals usually trumped other priorities. Both in the original stimulus package and then in the health care and energy measures, the White House ceded most of its clout to the liberal lions who controlled the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. That maneuver helped assure passage of reforms, but it also confirmed some of the worst fears about how Washington works. "I'd rather be a one-term President and do big things than a two-term President and just do small things," he told his team after Republican Scott Brown was elected Senator in liberal Massachusetts and some in the Administration suggested pulling back on health reform.

For Democrats in conservative districts, like Representative Jason Altmire in western Pennsylvania, the President's approach always spelled trouble. "Even though the leaders in Congress understood that a lot of these things are not going to be popular, they were at a point in their careers where they realized that this is what they have been waiting for," says Altmire, who is favored to win this year, in part because he voted against most of the President's agenda, including health reform. "It was true overreach."

For someone who so carefully read the political mood as a candidate, Obama has been unexpectedly passive at moments as President. Whereas other Democrats had hoped to spend the late summer talking about two things — jobs and the unpopularity of many Republican policies — the White House has been distracted by a string of unrelated issues, from immigration reform to a mishandled dismissal of a longtime USDA official to the furor over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. On Aug. 31, Obama gave a prime-time speech about the partial troop pullout from Iraq, touching on jobs only tangentially, before spending the following day in an intensive effort to restart the Middle East peace process. "It is inconceivable that a team so disciplined during the presidential campaign can't carry a message with the bully pulpit of the White House," says one Democratic strategist working on the midterm elections. "It's politically irresponsible, and Americans have little patience for it."

As his poll numbers fell, Obama responded with his perpetual cool. His appeals to the grass-roots army that he started, through online videos for Organizing for America, took on a formal, emotionless tone. He acted less like an action-oriented President than a Prime Minister overseeing some vast but balky legislative machinery. When challenged about his declining popularity, the President tended to deflect the blame — to the state of the economy, the ferocity of the news cycle and right-wing misinformation campaigns. Aides treated the problem as a communications concern more than a policy matter. They increased his travel schedule to key states and limited his prime-time addresses. They struggled to explain large, unpopular legislative packages to the American people, who opposed the measures despite supporting many of the component parts, like extending health insurance to patients with pre-existing conditions or preventing teacher layoffs. "When you package it all together, it can be too big to succeed as a public-relations matter," says Axelrod.

Instead of shifting course, Obama spoke dismissively about Republican efforts to play "short-term politics." He continued the near weekly visits to new green energy manufacturing plants, repeating promises of an economic rebirth that remains, for many, months or years away. And he missed opportunities to strengthen his connections with his supporters: local political capos complained privately that Obama had a tendency to touch down in their backyards, give a speech and scoot after less than an hour. By the end of the summer, the disconnect had grown so severe that only 1 in 3 Americans in a Pew poll accurately identified him as a Christian, down from 51% in October 2008. At the same time, the base voters Obama had energized so well in '08 went back into hibernation. They were nowhere to be found in the '09 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, tracking instead with pre-Obama historical patterns. While liberals attacked him from the left on cable television, many of his core supporters weren't paying attention. In a rich irony, many of the same groups Obama turned out for the first time in record numbers had suffered the most from the recession and were the most likely to tune politics out. "One of the challenges on the Democratic side is, it's been very hard for [voters] to make connections between what is happening in Washington and what is happening in their lives," says Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster.

Can He Rebalance?
At the White House, advisers take comfort in the fact that at this point in their presidencies, both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton scored slightly lower approval ratings than Obama. And the dominant analogy for the past few months has focused not on 1994, when Clinton lost a Democratic Congress in a huge Republican wave, but on '82, when Reagan lost just 26 seats in the House. Like Obama, Reagan was facing rising discontent at the midterm, driven by huge unemployment numbers that peaked at 10.8% at year's end. But as the economy rebounded, Reagan's governing philosophy, "Stay the course," was vindicated. He won re-election by an enormous margin.

Outside the White House, only a few of the President's Democratic allies take much solace in this history, in part because the current economic slump appears far more lasting than the one Reagan faced. Most experts from both parties say Obama will have to rebalance his politics in 2011 to be re-elected in '12. That's partly because of the growing belief that the Republicans will win the House in November and, if their stars align, have a good shot at taking the Senate as well. Elsewhere, in state houses and in governors' races, Republicans are poised for a broad comeback. Regardless of the exact outcome, it is clear that Obama's brief window of one-party rule has closed. That outcome alone may vindicate Obama's decision to make the massive reforms while he still had the votes. It will never be known for certain just how much a more centrist legislative strategy would have improved the Democrats' midterm outlook.

But two years is the equivalent of multiple lifetimes in politics, and there are signs that Obama is already pivoting away from plans to engineer massive reforms in energy policy, global-warming response and immigration law to less-stirring, more-popular challenges like reducing the deficit and reforming taxation and entitlements. What little margins Obama does have to push major reforms through are sure to shrink away in the coming months. "I think the next couple of years, we've got to focus on debt and deficits," Obama told NBC News after his summer vacation. "We've got to focus on making sure that we make the recovery stronger. And a lot of that is attracting private investment."

Back in Indiana, the evidence of Obama's political failure is particularly glaring. During his early, heady days in office, the President decided to make Elkhart a personal cause. A once thriving manufacturing center of 50,000 on the Michigan-Indiana border, famous for its musical instruments and recreational vehicles, the Elkhart region saw the steepest jump in unemployment of any metropolitan area in the nation during the economic crisis. That helped Obama win Donnelly's district by 9 points, nearly George W. Bush's margin in 2004, and Obama returned to Elkhart just weeks after taking office. "I promised you back then that if elected President, I would do everything I could to help this community recover," he announced. "And that's why I've come back today."

Since then, he has been back twice more, once to speak at Notre Dame and once to herald a new electric-vehicle plant that would be built with federal support. In the southern end of the district, thousands of jobs at parts plants were saved when Obama decided to bail out the auto companies.

Yet all of Obama's personal and financial appeals have been swamped by the depth of the recession and have had little visible effect. Donnelly, who flies home every weekend to work in his district, felt obliged to run against Obama to save his job. And his Republican opponent, Jackie Walorski, says she is often approached by Obama voters who want to vent. "This has burned people," she says. "Their words, not mine: 'Betrayed by the health care vote.' 'What are they thinking when it comes to spending?' 'Broken promises when it comes to jobs.' " At one recent Walorski house party, held at dusk beside a cornfield, two attendees, Matthew and Frances Napieralski, identified themselves as former supporters of the President. "He's not what I voted for," said Matthew, who runs a plastic-injection-molding shop in town. "It's a shame that they led us to believe one thing," said Frances, "and then everything changes."

For now, Obama's aides hope that the controversial reforms in health care and financial rules will produce benefits felt by voters, if not by November 2010, then two years later. That would vindicate the President's vision of government as a solution and not just a problem. Even in Indiana, the disappointment is matched by a real yearning for a leader who can make a difference. "I think he's trying," says Griffin, the laid-off payroll administrator who said she didn't know what Obama had done for her. "Nobody can turn it around overnight."
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
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If the US manages to revert to its former ways, there is potential for hope. If not, the American age will have really come to an end.
Isn't that what Obama and a lot of his friends want though?
 

Generator

Senior member
Mar 4, 2005
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Obama is the most gifted politician in the game. The guy is so good at campaigning that he will easily make most voters forget what problems they ever had in the first place. The question of "Do you miss me yet?" referring to Bush cuts both ways. If you can forget that Bush was a liar, a moron, and the worst president ever...than chances are most will forget that Obama is a bastard because he gave people health care reform, financial reform, and staved off a great depression. Oh yeah he won the wars Bush lost to. By the time 2012 comes around the employment rate will have improved and the wars may very well be over. And as bad 10% unemployment is it could still be worse, it could be 12%, 20%, 30%.

But Obama will be alright. What about the country and I guess his party? Well they get fucked this year. But whats the difference between a Republican majority or a Democratic one? Nothing. Republicans been filerbustering the whole time. So while the Congress does nothing the country languishes. Obama's base wasn't going to vote this year anyway. No one gives a shit about the old white male politician no more. Pawns, interchangeable and replaceable.

Basically Obama has 12 months after elections to do what he knows he should have been doing. You can only give Goldman Sachs so much money. You can only be on the take so much. Eventually he has to give intelligent voters a reason to go to the polls. Hope and Change, naw, thats not going to work. Some righteous substance please.
 

speedy2

Golden Member
Nov 30, 2008
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Wonder how many "I told you so"s are going through peoples heads right now. lol It's so funny how so many didn't see it coming, yet the few that did saw it so clearly. You did it to yourself America. Enjoy.
 

Generator

Senior member
Mar 4, 2005
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I think Americans deserve a break on that one. I mean who could have guessed that the first black president was just another white guy? A black Bush. Just another dude taking bribes and looking to get paid.

If you saw that coming, then I guess go ahead and pat yourself on the back. That sort of cynicism is stupendous.
 

First

Lifer
Jun 3, 2002
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lmao. It's going to be funny watching you be wrong for a 3rd straight election. I especially like the part about how this admin's programs will be overturned. You're a true riot PJ.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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lmao. It's going to be funny watching you be wrong for a 3rd straight election. I especially like the part about how this admin's programs will be overturned. You're a true riot PJ.
What policies? Looking Presidential? Insisting on a lousy excuse for health care reform? How about the greatest threat to jobs, the mosque in ny? Being a partisan your understanding of just how disillusioned Americans are is limited, but the Reps are going to own a big chunk of Congress when the next election cycle is over. The Reps which aren't too bright either will take this as a mandate for whatever they want. It's as if you and they take turns shooting yourselves in the foot.
 

boomerang

Lifer
Jun 19, 2000
18,890
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Isn't that what Obama and a lot of his friends want though?
IMO, yes. He's told us so in nearly countless ways. From telling us of his intent to fundamental transform the United States of America, to the apology tour, bowing to kings and heads of state and everything in between. His beliefs are radical compared to those of mainstream America. What's sad is that it took him being elected and serving this much of his term for the average Joe to figure it out.

He couldn't have turned out any different. For those willing to explore his background (that which has not been hidden from our view) his upbringing could have created nothing less. His vision for our country has been formed by the political and social views he garnered from absentee parents, grandparents with Socialistic views, and family "friends" that by interpretation of his very own writings appear to have molested him as a child. A key time period in his life was spent in Indonesia where it was further hammered home that the U.S. is a bad country and needed to pay the price for it. There, he was further exposed to a religion whose tenants are buried so firmly in his psyche that he proclaimed to the world that we are a Muslim nation. Delusional thinking to put it mildly.

The smartest president ever is far from it. He thought that this country was ready for his vision of the U.S. as a second class country, ready to throw aside the religious tenants on which it was formed, that its people were ready to further reduce their standard of living to raise the standard in countries that wish us all dead and so on.

That's not intelligence, that's ignorance.

So the people have woken up and are ready to throw him out on his ear. I fear it may be too late to have any affect. He's the most dangerous man in America right now. Not the most powerful, the people still hold that position. Here's to hoping they follow through and wield it.
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
19,441
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He was just like the healthcare bill... as queen nancy said.. it mussed be passed before we can find out what is in it.

People knew nothing about him before he got elected. Now they know... hence the unpopularity.
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
19,441
85
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lmao. It's going to be funny watching you be wrong for a 3rd straight election. I especially like the part about how this admin's programs will be overturned. You're a true riot PJ.

Unfortunately.. it will be hard to undo the damage of obamacare and the regulation likely will not be overturned. We can only hope that it can be nullified by underfunding it.
 

nick1985

Lifer
Dec 29, 2002
27,158
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If you can forget that Bush was a liar, a moron, and the worst president ever...than chances are most will forget that Obama is a bastard because he gave people health care reform, financial reform, and staved off a great depression.

You are aware that healthcare is wildly unpopular, right? Staved off a great depression...according to who?




Oh yeah he won the wars Bush lost to.

He voted against the winning strategy in Iraq, now you are saying he won the war because that strategy was successful?

lol what?


By the time 2012 comes around the employment rate will have improved and the wars may very well be over. And as bad 10% unemployment is it could still be worse, it could be 12%, 20%, 30%.



If unemployment was 95% you would still be making the same silly arguemnt. "Could be worse, could be 100%!".

Fact is we were promised unemployment wouldn't top 8% with the stimulus, now we are at 9.5%. It was a failure. And this Summer Recovery Tour that Biden is on is a massive failure. This is NOT a summer of recovery whatsoever, economic growth is falling.
 

Carmen813

Diamond Member
May 18, 2007
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His major policies have largely mirrored what he campaigned on. In fact the only substantial difference in Healthcare reform is that it has an individual mandate, and he was strongly against it during the Democrat primaries. He almost never pushed the public option during his campaign appearances, though it did show up on his website.

On economic matters, he oversold his positions. If they had been advertised as stabilizing the economy, instead of as job creators, he probably would have been fine. While the economy is still fragile, it's a damn sight better than it was in January 2009.

He has focused the war on terror back in Afghanistan, which is consistent with what he said during the campaign. Those thinking he wanted to totally end it immediately weren't listening.

To be honest, he has had to deal with a great deal of demagoguery and outright lies about his policies and positions. Every President does, and he hasn't been particularly effective at countering it. In part, it's because his positions require nuance and for people to actually spend time to think about them. It's a lot easier to just scream "DEATH PANELS! SOCIALISM! MUSLIM!" at the top of your lungs and bombard the air waves with that nonsense, eventually that shit sinks in. It's especially easy to believe when the economy is bad and people are angry, afraid, and uncertain about the future. It doesn't help that he has a "Muslim sounding" middle name and is black, both of which factor in whether people want to admit it or not.

It'll be a bad cycle for Democrats. I don't think it will be 1994 bad, but it maybe. For 2012, the only candidate I see as a threat in the general election is Mitt Romney, and he won't win the primary.
 
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FerrelGeek

Diamond Member
Jan 22, 2009
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Unless the reps take over 2/3 of congress, nothing will be repealed. You can talk about defunding things, but unless the new congress has a serious bent towards frugality, that aint gonna happen either. A friend and I were discussing this the other day. Here's a comment he made.

I was telling someone earlier today that it's like watching a married couple fight about finances. He bitches about her collection of Manolos and she bitches about his fly fishing equipment, and both of them blame each other while refusing to rein in their own spending.

Of course, in this case we get to pay their credit card bills.

Neither side has the wherewithall to drastically cut spending. We're screwed.
 

Pens1566

Lifer
Oct 11, 2005
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The phrases "obamacare" and "health reform" have negative responses, when people are actually informed what was in the health reform legislation they are in favor of it around 60%.
 

hal2kilo

Lifer
Feb 24, 2009
23,398
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The phrases "obamacare" and "health reform" have negative responses, when people are actually informed what was in the health reform legislation they are in favor of it around 60%.

It's called propaganda.
 

cubby1223

Lifer
May 24, 2004
13,518
42
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The phrases "obamacare" and "health reform" have negative responses, when people are actually informed what was in the health reform legislation they are in favor of it around 60%.

Obamacare does little to lower costs of healthcare, but much to shift the costs of healthcare from one person to another. So, say if 60% of Americans have their costs shift onto the other 40%, then...

Like Obama goes around beating his chest over how children can stay on their parents' plan until they are 26. Well, that's free health care now for 25 & 26 year olds, but the other side of the story is their parents' plan is now more expensive to compensate. So where did we save money? We're just shuffling it around, probably hoping certain groups of people don't realize what's going on.

Call it propaganda if you want, I don't care :p
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
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The phrases "obamacare" and "health reform" have negative responses, when people are actually informed what was in the health reform legislation they are in favor of it around 60%.

Why don't you tell us how this will improve the care the provider can give the patient?
 

ayabe

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2005
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Why? What insight/experience are you using as the basis for this opinion?

Nick knows all about the '94 takeover, it was THE hot topic in the sandbox in elementary school.

Did the OP get his $8000 check yet? Obama should still be the man of year in his eyes.