Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Crazy Days, Calm President

The stock market plunges, a monstrous oil spill threatens coastlines, terrorism comes to Times Square, even the Grand Ole Opry is underwater, but the man in the White House is not pushing any panic buttons.

"Obama," David Brooks opines, "is handling his role, which ranges from the marginal to the significant, in these events with calm professionalism. He’s active yet not annoying. He’s not taking credit for everything. He’s not creating friction by making any missteps. He is calm, cool and collected."

In the face of such competence, along with signs that the economy is slowly improving, why is the President's approval rating still falling along with public trust in Congress, corporations, banks and other American institutions?

Republican obstructionism and Tea Party temper tantrums are not enough to explain a dark national mood that shows no signs of lightening. Even some bipartisan cooperation on reining in Wall Street seems to be making no difference.

We may be in Great Depression territory here, when FDR was the object of unremitting hatred by a segment of the population even as he was elected four times while leading the country out of economic chaos and winning a World War.

A friend who grew up in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl back then had one plausible explanation. "When you pride yourself on being independent," he recalled, "it's hard to forgive someone whose existence reminds you that there was a time when you would have gone under without outside help."

From that point of view, Barack Obama, who is far from being another FDR to this point, may be another potential victim of that old axiom, "No good deed goes unpunished."

But that probably won't faze him, either.

3 comments:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Well, obviously the entire nation is RAAAAACIST, that's the only possible explanation for his falling numbers. (snark alert)

Anonymous said...

I think that there's probably a "silent" majority that actually approve of Obama but whose opinions never get polled. I'd also bet that there's a bunch of people who would never approve of Obama no matter what he does even if he does something they keep screeching about e.g., lower taxes.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

@ Anonymous, I suggest you do a little reading about polls. You clearly have no idea how they work . . . or do you honestly imagine that all 300+ million people are (or need to be) polled?

And you're right, there are a lot of people who will never approve of BO because of his ideology (these are the same people who didn't approve of Clinton, Carter, et al.). Oddly, this same thing applies to republican presidents. I don't recall a huge surge in support for President Bush when he was playing fast and loose with taxpayer money and pushing for amnesty for illegals. Maybe some on the left would do well to follow their own advice (if they had, amnesty would have passed handily, no?).