President, Rebounding, Gives Opponents Pause
Suddenly, Republicans face an unanticipated problem: less than three months after their midterm triumphs, President Obama has regained political momentum.
As Mr. Obama approaches the State of the Union address on Tuesday, various polls show him rising toward or beyond 50 percent approval of his job performance. Before his first 2011 clash with Republican adversaries who now share governing responsibility, those surveys also show that Americans credit Mr. Obama with greater commitment to finding common ground.
Analysts in both parties agree on the elements of Mr. Obama’s rebound. Most Americans never turned on him personally, even as they shouted their disappointment in the November elections.
Postelection compromises with Republicans on tax cuts showed the White House breaking Washington gridlock on the economic issues Americans care about most. That, along with signs of accelerating growth, increased confidence.
Notice anything missing? How about some specifics? Which polls are we talking about? What were his numbers before and exactly how far has he risen?
It’s not surprising that his numbers have gone up recently. In December he got lots of positive press and then he went on vacation. He was mostly out of the news until the Tucson tragedy and then he got lots of positive press because of the speech he gave at the memorial service.
After a couple months like that it would be surprising if his numbers didn’t go up.
Now I don’t know about you but I haven’t been seeing any accelerating growth or feeling increased confidence. So I would say it’s a little soon for Kevin Drum to make this statement:
And while we’re on the subject of why not a single Republican has announced a presidential candidacy yet — yep, that’s the subject — isn’t the answer obvious? It’s because they all know Barack Obama is as good as a shoo-in in 2012. Unless something cataclysmic happens, the only reason for any Republican to run is either as a vanity candidate or to get practice for 2016.
Let’s see how things go when Obama starts knocking heads with the new Republican-led House and a narrowed Democratic majority in the Senate. Especially on this topic:
Obama won’t endorse raising retirement age or reducing Social Security benefits
President Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission’s recommendation to raise the retirement age, and otherwise reduce Social Security benefits, in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, cheering liberals and drawing a stark line between the White House and key Republicans in Congress.
Think about that for a second. Obama is gonna reject the recommendations of his hand-picked Catfood Commission. He stocked that sucker with guys who have been trying to gut Social Security for years. Their conclusions were entirely predictable and scheduled to come in AFTER the last election.
Does Obama think he’s going to sucker the GOP into going after Social Security benefits so he can veto the legislation and claim the mantle of Protector of the Old?
If he’s trying to use the Big Dawg’s script from 1994-96 he’s making a mistake. John Boehner is not Newt Gingrinch and doesn’t seem to suffer from hubris. The Republicans show no indication they want to repeat their previous mistakes.
But what do I know? I’m just a petulant clown, not a master of eleventy-dimensional checkers.
Filed under: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Politics | Tagged: Barack Obama, Catfood Commission, Republicans in Congress | 56 Comments »