it ain’t O-ver …
Yes, I still believe in the president. Yes, I think he’s made some awful mistakes and miscalculations. No, I’m not convinced blinking on tax cuts for the super-rich was one of them.
I keep flashing back to 1994-95, when no one was villifying President Clinton more loudly than my progressive friends (which is most of my friends), and most of them, and most of everyone else, were predicting one Clinton term. For some perspective on that, see yesterday’s post on historical midterm approvals from CNN:
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, the public is split on how Obama has handled his duties, with 48 percent saying they approve and an equal amount saying they disapprove.
President George W. Bush had an approval rating of 63 percent in December of 2002 – the end of his second year in office – as did his father, President George H.W. Bush, in 1990. The elder Bush lost his re-election bid two years later while his son was successfully re-elected in 2004 to a second term.
President Bill Clinton, whose party lost control of both houses of Congress in the first midterm election of his presidency, stood at 54 percent at the end of his second year in office at the end of 1994. Clinton went on to win re-election two years later.
Ronald Reagan, whose party also suffered major losses in his first midterm, had an approval rating of just 41 percent at the end of 1982, two years into his first term. Reagan rebounded to win a landslide re-election in 1984.
“An approval rating is a pretty unreliable indicator of the president’s chances of getting re-elected, at least this far out from the next election,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
On the New Deal 2.0 site, economist Bo Cutter said, “I think the President was correct on this call, on the politics, and on the substance, given his choices. This is an adult decision. He gets himself out of a fight he couldn’t win, and he can pick his own fighting ground now.” And the public appears to agree.
And no, I don’t think a president should put polls ahead of principle as a blueprint for governing. In this perhaps I stand with President George W. Bush, who famously called the massive Iraq war protests a focus group. Or with Bill Clinton, who shut down the government after his midterm shellacking, and said in an interview that if the people didn’t like it they could get themselves another president.
I can’t predict if Obama will get re-elected. I believe he will though, barring another 6 months of poorly-sold pragmatism.
Do I still think our hemorrhaging disparity of wealth is appalling and a national security risk? Yes. And can we do more about it than Obama has done yet? Yes, we can.