September 3, 2010
Obama: Mr. Unpopular? - It's the People's Fault!
In Time Magazine this week, Michael Sherer examines "How Barack Obama Became Mr. Unpopular". Could it possibly be due to a string of broken promises and lies? Unprecedented spending? Government overreach? The ramming through of unpopular legislation? Nope - it's all the people's fault.
... 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.
Yes that's right: Obama has called for "investments" and programs that have "clearly helped the economy." But those people, ungrateful lot, just cannot get past their perceived "incongruity." Come on people, don't you remember?! Hope and change? The One we've been waiting for?
Not to worry, for the One is not one to wait around for the people.
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."
But his team...oh, how they have dragged him down.
"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."
So, in reality, the American people lack patience...with Obama's team. Their challenge, according to Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, is to get the voters "to make connections between what is happening in Washington and what is happening in their lives." Hmm... actually it seems that voters are making the connections just fine, thank you. But take heart!
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.
We people are slow, so it might take us a couple years to catch up to the One. I mean, we're only human.