Thursday, July 3, 2014

Obama rolls up his sleeves

It seems Barack Obama has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Presidents as respondents to a Quinnipiac poll rated him the worst president since WWII.  Not that many of those surveyed could even name the presidents since WWII, but the media has run with the story, and Romney was spotted in New Hampshire campaigning for the intrepid Scott Brown after many in the same survey felt the country would be better off with him as president.

Yep, that is the fickle nature of Americans, never satisfied with who they have in office.  But, once out of office you can be rehabilitated pretty quickly.  Bill Clinton is at an all time high in popularity and even George Bush has enjoyed a big uptick in popularity since leaving the White House, even though most of the woes that continue to dog us can be traced back to his administration.  As Harry Truman famously said, "the buck stops here," meaning the Oval Office.

Emotions seem to trump reason  All this bad press Obama has been getting has given his approval rating a big hit, slumping to 40 per cent while his disapproval rating has climbed to 54 per cent, according to Gallup Daily.  Events appear to have conspired against him with the bad news coming out of Iraq, the various House "investigations" and the lawsuit the House has threatened to file against him for not carrying out the laws they see fit.

A lot of this angst seems to come from Obama exercising more executive privilege than many think he should.  He has been dubbed the "imperial president" by the outgoing House Majority Leader.  Lame duck Eric Cantor feels the President has issued way too many executive orders, including a raise in the minimum wage for federal employees and most recently calling for stricter enforcement of carbon emission laws, while ignoring the prerogatives of the House.  As a result, the House is seeking ways to defund his efforts.

What's a president to do?  Obama seems determined to make this a year of action despite the reaction he has been getting in the press.  He has taken to the stump to promote his initiatives, even when they come in sharp contrast to other Democrats' electoral ambitions.  With two years left in his tenure, the President wants to leave a positive legacy after a highly fractious four years with a belligerent Congress.  Unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily translate very well in the polls.  I guess he can take up painting when he leaves the White House.

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