Antony Ambinder of The Atlantic set out to praise Obama and instead buried him. Ambinder set out to answer the fake and loaded question Why Is Obama So Frackin Popular? [The New York Post also has an assessment of Obama’s first 100 mistakes days.]
In his article Ambinder does not mention Obama’s penchant to distract and bamboozle – just like any ordinary con man three-card monte flim-flam man. For instance n this day 97 of the first 100 days of torment and torture Obama is busy golfing to distract Big Media boys while swine flu is declared a national emergency.
To his credit Ambinder does note “old guard” caveats that Big Media does not hold Obama to the same standards as Republicans (imagine if Bush went golfing while swine flu spread) and that Obama is basically as popular as most presidents in the first 100 days. The “old guard” also explains that the media and the political culture are treating the new president with too much respect…
Ambinder’s 5 reasons for why Obama is so frackin popular include the sensible notion that Democrats are providing most of the uplift (95%) with overwhelming support, just like Republicans did for George W. Bush. Ambinder is wrong when he expresses that Obama’s policy and personality are “perfect for moderate Democrats”. Ambinder is fluffing when he states that Obama is loved and trusted by independents. That is utter nonsense as polls show independents slipping away and worried about deficits and Obama’s spend, spend, spend philosophy.
Ambinder is on safer ground by saying that Republicans have not “begun to recover” from the past three to four years. But do Republicans really need to recover that much or do they simply have to wait for reality to set in with the American electorate? Ambinder fluffs again when he writes Obama’s figured out a way to appear bipartisan without getting Republican votes.
Ambinder eventually stumbles into Obama’s fresh dug grave and why spend, spend, spend makes for temporary popularity:
The first 100 days, the government created trillions of dollars out of thin air, has cut taxes, has given billions and billions to client groups, state governments and corporations. Give, give, give. Not much has been asked in return. Obama’s toughest call — whether to send troops to Afghanistan — is going to cost him politically when there’s a spike in violence — or when Pakistan explodes — but this hasn’t happened yet.
All grifting big spenders are popular, until they stop spending and leave unpaid bills and broken hearts. The drifter uncle with the “hot tip” on the race horse that will make everyone rich fools the kids as he spends, spends, spends… but wise parents know the money will dry up and they and the kids will wind up paying for the flashy, fast-talkin’, relative who will soon move on to scam others out of their money and pride.
And Obama is not that frakin popular. Obama ain’t all that. Obama ain’t that special. Obama should be kicked to the curb.
Obama isn’t that special. As Thomas Mann notes, the doubling of the the rate of disapproval among Republicans and the resulting pattern in the numbers suggests that Obama isn’t all that different from other, ideologically polarizing presidents. But, as Mann notes, it is one thing to remain popular when crisis aren’t pervasive; it is quite another to keep the numbers up when you’re forced to sell unpopular economic policies (TARP, bailouts) as a means towards keeping those numbers up.
Obama ain’t all that. Ambinder cites Thomas Mann of the Brookings institute and concludes:
He’s not terribly confident that this state of affairs will last forever, and he thinks that Obama will someone have to force the Republicans to cooperate with him at some point in the near future. And he thinks that, at some point, a receipt for the public’s veneration of Obama and the institution of the presidency will come due.
Conservative Reihan Salam thinks Republicans might not have to do anything to defeat Obama. Sure, he’s got 65 percent approval ratings now, but there are already signs of an economic calamity that could hand the next election to the GOP. Whether he is right or wrong about a sit and watch posture for Republicans, Salam thinks Obama will run out of luck by the next presidential election because of the seeds Obama is planting now .
At 65 percent, the president’s approval rating is nowhere near the bizarrely high 83 percent Ronald Reagan reached after his first 100 days. Granted, Obama has the added advantage of facing a self-immolating opposition party. It’s extremely hard to imagine the Republicans getting their act together in the near future, and by the near future I mean “the next decade.” Yet Republicans don’t actually need to get their act together to defeat Obama in 2012. The coming economic apocalypse will do the job for them.
Salam thinks the Establishment is so invested in Obama that when Obama fails a whole system will go down with him. Additionally Salem believes the economic crisis “is actually accelerating”.
When FDR took office in 1933, the economy had already been in a spiral of decline for years, and his first term saw a fairly dramatic fall in the unemployment rate. [snip]
Chances are that the sharp increase in unemployment has just begun. [snip]
Few observers doubt that the unemployment rate will soon reach double digits, and there’s reason to believe that it won’t stop there. FDR could honestly tell his battered and bruised Republican rivals that the unemployment rate was never as high as it was when he took office. Obama, in contrast, might be placed in the awkward position of acknowledging that the unemployment rate has never been as low as it was when he first took office.
Obama is planting his own Seeds Of Destruction and will take down the newly minted Dimocratic Party:
If the nation’s biggest banks face the prospect of going under, they’ll be bailed out. The same goes for the Big Three automakers, and the list will go on. There may well be good reasons for Obama’s itchy intervention finger, but there’s a real danger that we’ll be left with zombie banks, zombie industries, and a zombie economy that limps along, bleeding jobs and growth for years. Think of this as removing a Band-Aid really, really, really slowly.
What happens next? Honestly, what happens next is even scarier. The Establishment—the academic and policy elite, Wall Street, famous sexy people—are more invested in Obama than they’ve been in any president in decades. If Obama fails, a whole system will go down with him.
The Democratic Party will have to be rebuilt. The senseless Republicans will have learned nothing. The United States will continue to circle the drain.
The Republicans will win by default, and they’ll have learned nothing from over a decade of borderline-imbecilic unforced errors.
* * * * *
Hopium addled addicts will scoff. Things are not so bad they will say. But the view of America, Big Media Obama fawning, and Obama hypocrisy, from across the sea is bleak:
As the White House prepares to reach the 100 days milestone since President Obama’s inauguration, it is being true to the form shown over the preceding 99: to exploit ruthlessly American politics while simultaneously asking that the President be judged by a different standard. [snip]
His approval ratings, hovering in the low 60s, are almost identical to those of George Bush eight years ago. Aides say that Mr Obama’s popularity is neither unique nor permanent. One described how he no longer sits in meetings thinking: “Wow!, we’ve got this amazing black President!” Instead, Mr Obama is a politician grappling with enormous problems and making a slow descent to earth.
Even the Washington Post is waking up to the resistant, poignant, Hopium addled victims and addicts Going From ‘Fired Up’ to Tired Out:
Across the dark living room, one of Childs’s favorite pictures is displayed on a worn coffee table. It shows Childs with her arms wrapped around Barack Obama, his hand on her back, her eyes glowing. [snip]
But now, as Obama nears the 100-day milestone of his presidency, Childs suffers from constant exhaustion. In a conservative Southern state that bolstered Obama’s candidacy by supporting him early in the Democratic primaries, she awakens at 2:30 a.m. with stress headaches and remains awake mulling all that’s befallen Greenwood since Obama’s swearing-in.
On Day 4 of his presidency, the Solutia textile plant laid off 101 workers. On Day 23, the food bank set a record for meals served. On Day 50, the hospital fired 200 employees and warned of further job cuts. On Day 71, the school superintendent called a staff meeting and told his principals: “We’re losing 10 percent of our budget. That means some of us won’t have jobs next year, and the rest should expect job changes and pay cuts.” On Day 78, the town’s newly elected Democratic mayor, whose campaign was inspired partly by his admiration for Obama, summarized Greenwood’s accelerating fragility. “This is crippling us, and there’s no sign of it turning around,” Welborn Adams said.
On Day 88, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that South Carolina had set a record for its highest unemployment rate in state history, at 11.4 percent. Greenwood’s unemployment is 13 percent — more than twice what it was when Childs first started chanting.
“We have a lot of people who live in cold houses, with no jobs and no food,” Childs says.
Childs should have read our many articles on how Obama treated his constituents in Chicago in the freezing winter cold to understand that Obama can’t be trusted. Childs finds her enthusiasm has faded into a wary optimism.
“I never used to get tired, but I’m running out of energy,” she says. “It’s stressful. Maybe one problem gets fixed, but it’s not fixed for long, and while you’ve been doing that, four other people have called asking for help.”
Another Obama supporter, Hackett, lies to herself about Obama:
“There are no jobs in all of Greenwood,” she says. “I think we’re going to become a ghost town, or maybe some kind of town for rich, retired people.”
She voted for Obama and still holds out hope for the man she calls a “people’s president,” but she’s not interested in hearing his stories about flying to Europe or fighting pirates. “I guess he’s just working his way down the list, and he’ll get to us,” she says.
The Antoin “Tony” Rezko rich friends are first on the list but the Hopium is strong and Obama supporters will Hope themselves into oblivion and ignore the reality of Obama’s history.
During the final stages of the presidential campaign, Hackett obsessively tracked Obama on CNN and spent Election Day driving her neighbors to the polls so they could vote for him, but now she avoids watching the news. It puts her in “a dark mood,” she says. [snip]
“If I don’t distract myself, it starts getting depressing,” she says. “Every day is long, and I’m just looking for ways to pass them. It’s hard not to let my mind start thinking, ‘Am I ever going to get myself out of this?’ “
It is sad and painful to watch the Hopium addled. At the end of the Post story the valiant and struggling, hopeful, Childs discovers Tea Parties, continues to defend Obama and regurgitates Dimocratic propaganda against those rotton Republicans and white people – but there is no denying the echo of the Tea Parties and the calls on her answering machine:
Just before 1 p.m., she pulls into Greenwood’s normally deserted downtown for a few more errands and notices a large crowd gathered in front of the courthouse. More than 200 people are dressed in red, white and blue and are waving miniature American flags. Childs asks a friend for details and learns that it is a “tea party” to protest Obama’s economic policies, one of about 1,000 similar events coordinated on Tax Day across the country.
“Of course it’s going to be a lot of white Republicans, and mostly men,” Childs says as she walks through the crowd and finds a spot alone at the rear of the plaza. “I want to see this, but I’m keeping my distance.”
In a state that voted 54 percent for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Childs has heard plenty of anti-Obama rhetoric. “Most people around here know where I stand and let me be,” she says. “People are too polite to be nasty.” So she shakes her head in disbelief as she reads the angry messages scrawled on the poster boards in front of her.
“Say NO to Obama and Socialism!”
“Who cares what Obama says? America IS a Christian nation.”
Childs puckers her lips and listens as Greenwood residents take turns stepping to the podium and shouting through a megaphone. Their speeches revolve around the same themes Childs hears in her phone messages, except what she identified as the solution to Greenwood’s problems is what these speakers now disparage as the cause.
“We all know this president is the major problem,” David O. Davis III says. “I’ve got friends with families who are losing their jobs, getting laid off.”
“We’re struggling to pay our bills and get by,” Cathy Heitzenrater says. “We’re feeling disenfranchised from our own country and disappointed about who’s running it.”
“Vote the bum out,” R.J. Fife says.
After each speaker finishes, Childs retreats a few steps farther from the crowd. A part of her would like to go grab the bullhorn and tell these people to “keep their mouths shut and give Obama a little time,” she says. But she woke up at 3 a.m. again this morning, and she can’t go home for a nap until she pays $100 on a constituent’s bill at the water company and stops by a city office to inquire about possible job openings for Hackett.
“Let them have their tea party,” Childs says. “They’re just looking for somebody to blame. My ears are full.”
She walks away from the courthouse as the crowd joins into chorus to sing the national anthem.