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Obama’s Falling Popularity

July 22nd, 2009 by Myrhaf · 9 Comments · Politics

People are talking about a USA Today report that shows Obama’s poll numbers at this point in his presidency are 10th of the 12 post-WWII presidents.

Peter Wehner presents the case:

When Barack Obama assumed office, his supporters viewed him as a man of preternatural talents: highly intelligent and unusually reasonable, disciplined and competent, open to different points of view, committed to bipartisanship and to achieving common ground, an agent of reform and comity, cool and graceful, trans-ideological and groundbreaking. Governing is never easy, especially when facing an economic crisis — but Obama was extraordinary, we were told, a once-in-a-lifetime figure, wise beyond his years, compared to Lincoln and to God, destined for greatness, The One. Or so the story went.

Suddenly, six months into his presidency, Obama is beginning to look overmatched by events, on almost every front. More than 2.5 million Americans have lost their jobs since Obama took office. Unemployment is significantly worse than Obama told us it would be, and it’s going to get worse still. The deficit and debt are bursting like exploding stars, with no end in sight. The stimulus package was a three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar bust. The cap-and-trade legislation, ill-conceived and unpopular, will probably never become law — though House Democrats who voted for it may well pay a high political price for having done so. And Obama’s bailout and management of the auto industry looks increasingly unwise.

Here’s what I think is happening. Obama is a president unlike any we have seen: a New Leftist ideologue. This means he is consistently altruist-collectivist-statist; which means he is a socialist in domestic affairs and anti-American in foreign affairs.

Obama has shown no cracks in his ideology. He is utterly committed to his program because, by his premises, it is the right thing to do. Driven by the radical Alinsky ideas — of which he was not just a student, but also a teacher — he believes that only one thing matters: power. He does not care if his power grabs “work.” He does not care how much his power grabs will cost. He does not care if the lives our children’s grandchildren are mortgaged for the next 100 years. No practical concerns will impede his mission of expanding state power, a mission his ideology and morality demand. Nothing else matters but expanding state control over individuals and destroying capitalism.

There is one glaring problem with socialism and anti-Americanism: they don’t work. Obama doesn’t care, but most people do. The American people are not as radical as Obama. My guess is that not more than 30% of Americans are as far left as Obama. Americans values practical results, not just the “good” intentions of altruist morality. Americans have grown accustomed to a rising standard of living. They expect prosperity.

In Obama’s falling poll numbers we are seeing the clash of Obama’s morality and the practicality of the American people.

It will be interesting to see if Obama is strong enough to ram through his power grabs despite an economy in a tailspin. FDR managed to do it. If I were Obama I would have a team of political advisors studying every move, every pronouncement FDR made, to see how to pull off a massive expansion of the state that creates a depression while remaining popular. Maybe he should get one of those snappy cigarette holders.

A few months ago I thought socialized medicine and cap and trade would probably pass through the House and Senate and be signed into law. Obama’s fall in popularity has given us a glimmer of hope that one will fail. The hope is faint because the Republicans are still a joke. The Democrats will probably water down the provisions slightly and the stupid party will vote for them. Obama doesn’t need a pet Scottish terrier, as FDR had; he already has pragmatist Republicans to be his lap dogs.

9 Comments so far ↓

  • Benpercent

    “If I were Obama I would have a team of political advisors studying every move, every pronouncement FDR made, to see how to pull off a massive expansion of the state that creates a depression while remaining popular.”

    Don’t give him ideas!

  • TheFairlaner

    Indeed, the hardest part about watching is that it would likely come to an immediate halt if the Republican opposition was even a little reasoning and had even a little backbone. Sadly, they aren’t and they don’t.

  • madmax

    Is there any hope of anything approaching a Reagan or a Thatcher in 2012? This confuses somewhat. If Reagan and Thatcher were possible in the 80s but not now then that implies that Leftist dominance has grown since then which means that post-Kantian, post-modern philosophy is *stronger* now then it was back then. But with Rand more popular now then ever, shouldn’t we be seeing some reduction in the cultural dominance of post-Kantian thought? Or is still just too damn early?

  • Myrhaf

    The favorites to win the Republican nomination right now are Mitt Romney and Mike Huckleberry, or whatever his name is. Romney is responsible for the health care mess in Massachusetts and Huckleberry Finn thinks the federal government should outlaw cigarettes. It’s hopeless. Darkness falls.

  • Andrew Dalton

    The question is: at whose expense would either philosophy would be growing?

    I’d say that both could be growing at the expense of the Pragmatist, mixed economy, middle-of-the-road “consensus” that has been dominant for most of the past century. Rand understood that the natural endpoint of the mixed economy, if it is not challenged, is some form of consistent statism. That is what we are getting closer to now. (And it’s not just Obama or the Left; the 2008 presidential election offered a choice between a socialist-collectivist and a nationalist-collectivist.)

    On the other side, we may be seeing more people realizing that our present course can end only in disaster, and that better ideas are needed.

    I should caution that any trend of Ayn Rand being “more popular than ever” will likely be fragile and fleeting unless we can get people interested in issues deeper than politics.

  • Chuck

    “The American people are not as radical as Obama. My guess is that not more than 30% of Americans are as far left as Obama. ”

    I don’t think nearly that many are as leftist as Obama. I’d say it’s closer to 3%. But Democrats vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless.

    “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

  • Mike

    I don’t know, Myrhaf. Mitt Romney appears parallel in some respects to Hank Rearden. He has a track record of private-sector financial success, but he shackles himself to altruism. On some level, his subconscious deep-under-everything-else mind knows what exacting morality is necessary to produce commercial success, but he accepts a surface morality that contradicts it. I’d rather take my chances with a pre-Atlantis Rearden or Dagny in 2012 than continue with Thompson, Mouch, Boyle, Kinnan, and Ferris. That is, unless we take a long enough view that it’s better to let things strain all the way through the breaking point before rebuilding, which I accept as a plausible strategy.

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  • Richard

    Even the AP was reporting on Obama’s declining popularity. Although they spun it so that it seemed like it was simply the inevitable “idealism” having to come down to earth and meet with reality (which it is, in a way).

    If (when) Obama’s popularity continues to dwindle over the years I’ll be interested to see if he will increasingly rely on his religiousness as an image.