Can Election 2014 Put the Nation Back on Track?
The latest Rasmussen poll, released on Monday, April 14, indicates that more than half of Americans (52%) disapprove of President Obama’s job performance; worse, 58 percent view ObamaCare unfavorably (the highest level of disapproval in several months). Congress, too, comes in for censure with only nine percent of voters thinking that the country will be better off if incumbents are reelected. This new poll reveals continued pessimism about the economy, direction of the country and disappointment with Mr. Obama’s presidency. In February, a CBS poll showed that almost 60 percent of Americans (59%) are disappointed in the Obama presidency, an increase primarily among independents. There is the predictable dismay over the economy, ObamaCare, and foreign policy, but the most troubling -- and revealing -- area of concern is that Americans, by a wide margin, think that the country is on the wrong track (63%, wrong direction to 32%, right direction).
One of the most difficult challenges officeholders face is a voting public that thinks the country is on the wrong track. It’s hard for politicians and pundits alike to accurately assess the origins of such judgments. Is it because of specific policy positions? Or, because Americans don’t like what they see happening around them? Or, is it because people feel worse off than they did before? Too many friends out of work? Or is it because they see too many changes coming at them too fast, and they fear for their future prospects given ever more government regulation and intrusion along with the government’s massive budget deficits adding daily to the ballooning national debt?
I think the public’s reactions can be explained pretty simply with three statements: (1) The current administration is very divisive and controlling. Anyone who disagrees with the prevailing, doctrinaire pronouncements of the reigning elite is slurred as bigoted, extremist, and/or ignorant and stupid. (2) Americans’ freedoms have been abridged in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. (3) Further, this administration has consistently politicized government in unprecedented ways. The situation involving CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson illustrates all three points. Attkisson recently resigned from CBS because of how the Obama Administration squelches journalists. She told Howard Kurtz of “Media Buzz” that the “chilling” manipulation of the Obama Administration interferes “in ways that have never come to bear before.” Attkisson reports that the “pressure on journalists for just doing their jobs” by this administration is the “strongest and most forceful in her 20 years on air.” She says they are “particularly aggressive,” “secretive,” and “manipulative” in going over the heads of reporters to their bosses and that the president’s “interference is unprecedented.”
Even Politico, an influential leftist website, acknowledges that coming days will reveal whether 2014 will turn out to be “simply a good year for the GOP or a rout.” There is no question that the public is angry and disgusted with “politics as usual” and there is deep disappointment with President Obama, even among those who did not vote for him but hoped that the first black president would do well.
As Politico points out, this summer will be pivotal. The Supreme Court will issue its decision on the contraception mandate and religious liberty, probably in June. That decision will be a rallying cry for both the left and right in the days leading up to the 2014 elections. As Politico put it: “Upholding the mandate would incense social conservatives” and “striking it down would give Democrats an issue to galvanize women’s groups.”
Obama swept into office as the reincarnation of FDR, an aura that is long gone; all the luster of a conquering hero was eroded in short order. The man whose charisma and persuasive abilities drew record votes from youth and minorities simply blew it -- even while he presided over an entrenched liberal power base on the Hill (whose approval ratings are even more dismal than the president’s). The president’s cool demeanor became oblivious detachment from the political climate; his oratorical skills degenerated into wooden reading of the teleprompter screens; his “yes we can” attitude devolved into tribalism and race baiting. Everything that the “progressives” thought they had “won” is turning out to be like sandcastles crumbling before an onrushing tide of voter anger. Even worse, the administration and congressional leaders are responsible for the mountain of debt that is stifling economic growth and which will be an albatross around the necks of countless generations to come. The public is showing that they feel the sacrifice of individual freedom inherent in ObamaCare is too great a price to pay. Democrats have clearly over-reached in their frantic push to expand government control over the private sector.
Who could have predicted at the outset of the Obama Administration -- when the president rivaled John F. Kennedy in popularity -- that the mid-term elections would find the Republicans favored for massive wins, despite voter misgivings about them? Even more astonishing, who would have believed that Democrats and Independents would be distancing themselves from the president whose promise of national transformation would saddle our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with tens of trillions of dollars in debt from radical policies, reckless spending, and out-of-control government expansion -- the extent of which most of us still cannot comprehend?
For most of us, the election of 2014 is not a matter of campaigns, rhetoric, or local outcomes; instead, the results that determine who controls the Senate -- and thus supports or blocks the president’s radical destructive agenda -- boils down to a question of whether this nation will survive. Ultimately, the 2014 election will go a long way toward revealing whether we can take a step back from the brink.
Janice Shaw Crouse is a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.