OK, kids… time for a little eduction. I seriously want this to be as unbiased as possible, so if the Obamanauts will refrain from blaming everything on Bush, Rush, Beck, or Sarahcuda, I’ll refrain from calling Barack Hussein Obama “Our Special-Needs-Student-In-Chief”.
This, kids, is an approval rating tracker, courtesy of the good folks over at USA Today. I’ve shamelessly pimped this thing before, as my only real criticism is that it only contains data from Gallup (which isn’t overly unreasonable, since Gallup’s been in the game longer than anyone, although today, I prefer Zogby and Rasmussen, as their numbers tend to be more accurate).
There are three lines on this chart. I could have selected a lot more, but these, I think, tell the story better than any of the others.
First, I want you to look closely at the bluey-purpley line that goes all the way across the image. That one, gents, is the approval rating of one James Earl Carter, widely thought to be the worst President of the 20th Century (although he occasionally comes in 2nd to Warren G. “Teapot Dome Scandal” Harding). To this day, most people can only think of one or two things to say positive about Carter’s Presidency – usually the Camp David accords, and most are content to say “he’s a nice guy”, which I believe he is. I also happen to think he’s a doddering fruitcake who’s showing signs of dementia, but this is supposed to be all unbiased and everything….
Now look at the other 2. The red one is none other than George W. Bush – again, widely agreed to be a failure by people from both sides of the tent – and usually for completely opposite reasons. I happen to think that history will smile on GWB in a way that’s similar to his dad, but it’ll take time. Heck – I don’t even smile on him right now. But the one thing that united the country behind him was the big, sharp uptick in his approval. Prior to this, ol’ George was lookin’ like a coin flip for being a 1-termer. His approval was below Carter’s, but the linear regression wasn’t as steep. Had there been no 9/11 or no Iraq War, I think GWB would have sunk to the high 40′s and been a 1-term President (and I don’t think Kerry would’ve been the nominee – a lack of war would’ve made for a very different Democrat field, and I think we would’ve seen a much more moderate Clintonite-style nominee than the mid-to-far-left Kerry).
But he didn’t. 9/11 gave Bush the highest approval rating of any President and even the Iraq War bumped him up a bit.
Now look at that short blue line. That belongs to Barack H. Obama, current President, and not only is it running in parallel with Carter (albeit about 3-5 points lower), but there’s more parallels than I believe Mr. Obama is comfortable with:
1. Both Obama and Carter are far-left statists. They may not be hard-and-true communists, but they’re as close as we get in the US (with the possible exception of the Wilson administration).
2. They were both elected after the end of a highly controversial administration. Obama was elected at the end of Bush’s Presidency. Carter came after the Nixon administration (as run by Gerald Ford for 2 years). Both Bush and Nixon started popular and then waned in popularity as scandal and mismangement took hold. This leads to my usual point that says “The American people did not elect Obama because of the bill of goods he sold them – they elected him because they didn’t want another 4 years of George Bush. 2008 was a referendum on the Bush Presidency, and Obama merely benefitted from that referendum.
3. Both Carter and Obama come into the Presidency facing “the worst economy since the great depression”. Our current economy sucks. So did the economy of the 1970′s, from about 1975 on to about 1983. Eight years. The Great Depression? Lasted about… 8 years before recovery started kicking in. The current economy? We’re about 2 1/2 to 3 years in.
4. Both Carter and Obama come in after the conclusion of an unpopular war, and both are facing Islamic radicals who are trying to use terror to influence the US into isolationism. The pullout from Iraq was OKed in October of 08, prior to the election. Carter faced off against Iran (among others) and failed miserably. Obama’s not doing much better in Afghanistan.
5. Korea. Obama gets to deal with The Poof. Carter had to deal with a coup, student uprising, and military Presidency in South Korea.
So what does this all mean? Well…
Obama’s in trouble, approval-wise. No President has ever been re-elected with an approval rating of less than 53%, and Obama’s right now – according to Gallup – is at 48%. According to Rasmussen, it’s at 44%, with 55% disapproving – and it’s trending downwards. Into the septic tank.
Worse yet, rather than uniting the nation behind him (as Bush did with 9/11), Obama has exposed an electorate that is more divided than ever. Most Presidents have a 5-10 point “flex” between their approval and disapproval – Obama has little. See… and this is why I like Rasmussen… most of the approval polls are polls of “Adults” or “Registered Voters”. Rasmussen is “Likely Voters” – people more likely to go into a voting booth and tick their favorite candidate… and right now, Obama’s running 44-55.
Worse yet for him, Rasmussen’s numbers include “strong” and “weak” approval and disapproval… and that’s even worse. While his approval numbers are typical, with 24/44 saying “strongly approve” and 20/44 saying “approve”, the disapprove numbers are VERY atypical. 42/55 say “Strongly Disapprove” with only 13/55 saying a mere “disapprove”.
Them’s some bad numbers for Bamy, because it shows that there is a solidified base against Obama. Back in the election, the “strong disapprove” was closer to 30, and the inauguration saw strong numbers dip into the 15′s. They were in the steady 20′s and low 30′s right after the stimulus, but didn’t move sharply up until the health care bill became a focus. THEN, his negative numbers flew up – with those who were mere “disapprove” moving into the “strong” column, only to be replaced with middle-ground and former supporters.
And that’s bad for him.
Is it great news for conservatives? Maybe. I’ve said for a while that if Healthzilla gets passed, it’ll be a bloodbath in the 2010 elections for the Democrats, and I stand by it. The American people do NOT want government-run health care – 56% to 40%. They want “reform”, but not what the Democrats are pushing. If it gets passed, I’m guessing that there will be a changeover of at least one house of Congress and that Obama’s 2nd term chances will sink to about nil.
So… what can he do? Well, Barry, I’m glad you asked…
1. Humble yourself. Obama needs to do something he’s been incapable of doing to date: he needs to meet the conservatives halfway. The one thing he’s never figured out is that in the American system of Government, the President is NOT the king – is NOT the emperor. He is, in many ways, a negotiator for both parties in the legislature. A successful President will work both sides to everyone’s advantage. Reagan mastered this. Clinton figured it out after 1994 (and then forgot again after 1998). Bush nailed it for the 1st 2-3 years and then became the capitulator in chief. No one likes a Capitulator.
2. Shut up. There is an inverse correlation between the gap between Barry’s top and bottom teeth and his approval rating. As good of a public teleprompter reader as you may be, Barry… you suck at actually saying stuff.
3. Remember why you were elected… it wasn’t because you had great ideas or great plans… it was because you weren’t George W. Bush with a 24% approval rating. But you can be.
4. Americans like it when their leaders present their country as a strong nation, internationally. Even if you’re not threatening to nuke North Korea, you can still project strength. You can’t project strength when you’re trying to touch your toes with your ample forehead.
5. Stop accusing Americans who disagree with you of being evil, stupid, clueless, mean, etc. It only serves to make you look like a total hole. There’s millions upon millions of Americans who think you’re an amateur who couldn’t manage your way out of a wet paper sack. The reason for this is because you can’t. Instead, try listening to what they say and then provide reasonable arguments as to why your ideas are better. At least if you tried to meet them halfway, you wouldn’t look like a oligarch… but calling them names just makes you seem like the snotty little kid with the new toy that won’t share, and this only makes the American people think you’re an arrogant a-hole.
6. Stop cooking your numbers. Americans may not like the fact that you blew a ton of cash on stupid programs. They’ll like that you’re lying about it even less. Be a man, come out and say, “We screwed up”. Then, stop spending.
7. Resign. Seriously, this is probably the one thing you could do that would be the best, most successful way to actually save America from your stupidity. See if you can convince Biden, Pelosi, Reid, and a few other idiots to go along with you.
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