Obama’s approval rating plummets to all-time-low — 2015 shaping up to be another 2010 election
I loved this column in today’s Wall Street Journal:
Talkin’ Obama Blues
Obama’s words can move factions, but not a people.
By Daniel Henninger, WALL STREET JOURNAL, Aug. 6, 2014
“We tortured some folks.” — President Barack Obama
And then he said: “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had.”
In short, our “folks” tortured their “folks.”
One would not go so far as to call this moral equivalence. But as a statement of the presidential mind, it’s awfully confusing.
This week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC poll recorded its lowest approval rating to date for Mr. Obama — 40%. Even recent, positive numbers on the economy produced no presidential lift; most respondents think the U.S. has become another dead-in-the-water Japan.
Why the long downhill slide for the Obama presidency?
Short answer: He has talked his way into it.
How could it be otherwise? Can there have been another president from whom has poured forth more words while standing at a public podium?
After what Mr. Obama himself might call a whole lot of listening, the American people are pulling back from a president they don’t fully understand. They’ve learned they can’t ever be sure of what exactly he’s asking them to sign on to. And so they are signing off from the Obama presidency.
In a speech last year, Mr. Obama announced the war on terror is over, and that he would adjust our antiterror policies to reflect that reality. Then he said in the same speech that the U.S. “is at war with al Qaeda” and the Taliban. Press reports on the speech said even the president’s own people weren’t sure what the new policy was.
ObamaCare, whatever it is now, isn’t what Mr. Obama’s public comments said it would be.
He says what the U.S. did to its captured 9/11 terrorists was “torture,” but our torturers are basically good guys.
Barack Obama has been talking like this for a lifetime.
Just before the freshman Illinois senator announced his candidacy for the presidency in February 2007, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor wrote what remains an essential piece to understanding the Obama political persona.
The article was about Mr. Obama’s years in the 1990s at Harvard Law School, where he became president of the Law Review. “Mr. Obama cast himself as an eager listener,” Ms. Kantor wrote, “sometimes giving warring classmates the impression that he agreed with all of them at once.”
She described an incident involving a bitter dispute among students and faculty over the notion of critical-race theory, which was taught at Harvard Law. This is the idea that the law — and much else — is perpetually biased against blacks.
When Mr. Obama finished addressing both angry sides, according to law professor Charles Ogletree, “Everyone was nodding, Oh, he agrees with me.”
This facility is what Mr. Obama described to Harry Reid as his “gift.” But is it?
At the end of the Times article was a comment that was worth filing about the aborning Obama candidacy. Ron Klain, who preceded Mr. Obama at Harvard Law by several years and later was chief of staff for both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, remarked: “The interesting caveat is that is a style of leadership more effective running a law review than running a country.” Or the world.
If you were Angela Merkel, the Ukrainians or even Wall Street Democrats, there was a time when you had to be thinking, “Oh, he agrees with me.” Until they and others figured out they were on their own, because Mr. Obama wasn’t actually agreeing with them on anything recognizable.
The Obama gift is, or was, empathy. Every politician since Julius Caesar has known how to do empathy. Bill Clinton summited empathy’s Everest with, “I feel your pain.” But the Obama style of empathy hasn’t matched the office he achieved.
What is worse, Mr. Obama has used his empathy gift only in one direction — to animate his base against opponents. It worked for him. He won re-election.
But the way Mr. Obama talks, and talks, has diminished his authority and credibility. The U.S. has a president who is capable of moving factions with words, but not a people. This is a president without a presidential vocabulary.
The 44th president in Kansas City last week: “Stop bein’ mad all the time. Stop just hatin’ all the time.” He is a politician talking his way to an approval rating in the presidential red zone that lies below 40.
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I can’t wait for November — it’s gonna be a wave election just like 2010. It’s very exciting.
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