Obama’s honeymoon may be over

The Teflon on President Barack Obama may be wearing thin as public trust in his ability to deal with the nation’s struggling economy drops and he faces increasing opposition on his often radical policies.

Even members of the President’s own party now question some of his actions as the nation slides deeper and deeper into an economic black hole.

A new poll shows a seven-point drop of public trust in the President’s expensive, and deficit-laden, economic stimulus plan and mounting concerns about his centerpiece public health insurance plan threaten any chance of passage before the August congressional recess.

While public approval of Obama the man remains strong the warning signs suggest the honeymoon is over for the young, inexperienced President and serious political trouble looms.

Some say the bill is coming due and no one can pay it.

Reports The Washington Post:

Barely half of Americans are now confident that President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus measure will boost the economy, and the rapid rise in optimism about the state of the nation that followed the 2008 election has abated, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Overall, 52 percent now say the stimulus package has succeeded or will succeed in restoring the economy, compared with 59 percent two months ago. The falloff in confidence has been sharpest in the hard-hit Midwest, where fewer than half now see the government spending as succeeding. In April, six in 10 Midwesterners said the federal program had worked or would do so.

The tempered public outlook has not significantly affected Obama’s overall approval rating, which at 65 percent in the new survey outpaces the ratings of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at similar points in their tenures. But new questions about the stimulus package’s effectiveness underscore the stakes for the Obama administration in the months ahead as it pushes for big reforms in health care and energy at the same time it attempts to revive the nation’s flagging economy.

Obama maintains leverage on these issues in part because of the continuing weakness of his opposition. The survey found the favorability ratings of congressional Republicans at their lowest point in more than a decade. Obama also has significant advantages over GOP lawmakers in terms of public trust on dealing with the economy, health care, the deficit and the threat of terrorism, despite broad-based Republican criticism of his early actions on these fronts.

With unemployment projected to continue rising and fears that the big run-up in stock prices since February may have been a temporary trend, fixing the economy remains the most critical issue of Obama’s presidency — and retaining public confidence in his policies is an important element of his recovery strategy.

The shift in public assessments of the stimulus package has clear political ramifications: At the 100-day mark of Obama’s presidency, 63 percent of people in states that were decided by fewer than 10 percentage points in November said the stimulus act had or would boost the economy. Today, in the telephone poll of 1,001 Americans conducted Thursday through Sunday, the number has plummeted to 50 percent in those closely contested states, with nearly as many now saying the stimulus program will not help the national economy.

Across the pond, Tom Baldwin of The Times of London, is more to-the-point:

President Obama is trying to halt a slow descent of his once sky-high political fortunes amid signs that Congress may balk at the price of health care reforms and voters want more him to focus more on cutting federal deficits.

Today he will hold a Rose Garden press conference at the White House where warning lights have flashed in recent days over polls that indicate his long honeymoon with the American public could be nearing its end.

By any measure Mr Obama remains hugely popular, but his approval ratings have slipped over the past three months from the mid-60s to an average of 58.7 per cent. A survey by Rasmussen yesterday found just 54 per cent of voters say he is doing a good job, the lowest proportion since his inauguration.

Although other polling organisations suggest he is doing better than that, they also show a sharp drop in support among independent voters and growing doubts about the Administration’s high-spending policies.

And the news doesn’t get any better on the health care front. The Associated Press reports:

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a Republican seeking a bipartisan health deal, spoke Sunday of "dialing down" expectations, while one of President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies questioned whether the White House had the votes necessary for a such a costly and comprehensive plan during a recession.

Obama’s proposal to provide health insurance for some 50 million Americans who lack it has become a contentious point for a Democratic-controlled House and Senate struggling to reach a consensus.

Much of the concern came after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the plan would cost $1 trillion over 10 years but cover only about one-third of those now lacking health insurance.

Democrats protested that the estimate overlooked important money-savers to be added later. But Republicans seized on the costly projection and the bill’s half-finished nature, throwing Democratic leaders on the defensive.

Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said officials would have to rethink their best-case scenario for overhauling the health care system at a relatively low price.

"So we’re in the position of dialing down some of our expectations to get the costs down so that it’s affordable and, most importantly, so that it’s paid for," Grassley said. He added that "we anticipate paying for it through some savings and Medicare, and from some increases in revenue."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she wasn’t certain there were enough votes in the president’s own party to support the proposal.


  1. AustinRanter

    Honeymoon…what Honeymoon?

    There’s never been a honeymoon with the Republicans. They’ve engaged in ankle-biting since the day of the election. And of course its escalated into going for the throat.

    It didn’t take too long before hard-left Democrats begin to peel away any allegiance from the president and join in on the knawing with the Republicans.

    Over the past years I’ve pretty much blasted every elected politician, regardless of party, as I can’t see our government system as an American institution for We the People (and hasn’t for many years), but rather a sanctuary for elite control freaks and greedy corporations…much like the heirarchy system in Iran:

    One Supreme Leader

    Twelve Guardian Counsel Members

    Eighty-Eight Social-Military Czar Members

    One President

    The rest of the government flunkies

    Seems like the only difference between our country and Iran is that our country has about 600 dictators (instead of about 100 dictators in Iran) who hold hostage 300 million people.

    I know, I know…that sounds so extreme to call our elected officials “dictators”. But is it really? Maybe Im being a tad bit over the top today, but if they keep going on course it won’t take that many more years before they deem their power as “supreme” over the people and ditch the Constitution.

    Perhaps the only solution to all of the gripes I see repeatedly voiced by those who have the balls to even gripe…do like in Iran, rise up against the government in a “peaceful protest”…and see how long it takes them to smother out the crowds with tear-gas, water cannons…but I do believe that they would beging with “rubber bullets” before resorting to real ones.

    There is apparently no government designed solutions to our societial problems of the day. There is a total lack of expertise, much less consensus among those who are charged with the responsibilites of managing our country’s best interest.

    There is not a single person in our government today that has offered to the American public a transparent outline of individual issue plans that contain any concrete facts and figures that will be used to deal with the most profound problems we’ve ever faced in our nations history. Instead, our elected officials simply make up solution theories and place a bogus price take on a fix-it price and well, “let’er rip tator chip” and flip a coin and see where it all goes.

    Our 600 dictators could care less about their so-called legislative actions as the consequences will be NONE even if all of their nonsensical 1000 page BS solutions that nobody reads doesn’t pay off. There will be no recessions for these people. There will be no depression for these people. There won’t be a lack of health care programs for these people. They don’t have to worry about gasoline prices, grocery prices…etc.

    Meanwhile…We the People are expected by the 600 dictators to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps or else…or else what? Well, as Mr. Thompson has stated in various rants and articles…there will be consequences imposed on Americans who don’t participate as the government mandates. Doesn’t that sound something like we are seeing in Iran?

    By the way…anybody seen any Campaign Funding Reform and/or Lobbyist Reform in the making since Nov. 2008?

    What are the 34,000 lobbyist who currently reside in Washington doing with their time and money?

    The Honeymoon between the U.S. Government and “We The People” have been over for many, many decades. Now the question is…”Who really is the public servant?”

    Seems to me that 300 million are the servants to about 600 people. What’s wrong with this picture?

  2. Route101

    Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and they are us” or words to that effect. The problem has been for years the impatience and distractedness of much of the US public. And these are the people who vote. If today’s citizens were colonists in the 1770s, the American Revolution would never have succeeded. Too many setbacks, too many years, not enough instant gratification.

    Obama said several times, during the campaign and after, that it wouldn’t be easy, he would make mistakes, it would take time, and things might get worse before they get better. Many probably expected the time frame of a TV reality (sic) series season.

    Forget flouride in the drinking water. They should add Ritalin instead.

  3. griff

    That’s right, we need to drug the entire population so the government can have their way with us unencumbered and unopposed. Great idea.

    In the 1770’s our revolutionary Founders studied history and philosophy, governments and human nature. They read books.

    We study baseball stats and American Idol. Reading or studying is frowned upon, while endless lies and misinformation spews from the television.

    If you like to be strung along with empty promises and disastrous decision-making, that is your prerogative. You somehow consider mindless obedience to Obama as being revolutionary?

    And how convenient that Obama was able to pre-program the talking points so we simply follow without question. Everything he is doing tells me that greater disaster looms.

  4. Route101

    I remember Jonestown. It wasn’t funny then and it isn’t now. But it’s easier for many to sloganize than to offer thoughtful suggestions. What are yours?

  5. almandine

    It won’t be to drug the water, either metaphorically or otherwise. Too many don’t get subtle.

    My suggestion(s) is to vote them all out. Abolish the Fed and the IRS. Void the so-called bailouts. Divest GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. Bring the troops home. Jobs too. Send the illegals back. Re-energize the Constitution. Kick Greenspan’s ass. Paulson’s and Bernanke’s too. Make The Big O produce his birth certificate. Actually debate the Fair Tax. Create sound money.

    Working on more.

  6. Route101

    Much of the population seems to have been drugged for a long time, either pharmaceutically or socially.

    Books, yes. Not texting or twittering or IM-ing, or whatever nonsense people use instead. Books and rare documents were what I used to study colonial American history 40+ years ago, including The Grand Convention 1787-1789, federalist papers, etc. Most people have no clue that we had 169 years of continuous colonial history before 1776. And naturalized citizens probably know more about our history and form of government than many of those born here.

    I don’t know where or how you mis-inferred that I like being “strung along with empty promises and disastrous decision-making” or that I “consider mindless obedience to Obama as being revolutionary.” You may have presumed those incorrect assumptions based on your own bias.

    I simply pointed out that it should be no surprise to anyone paying attention that Obama is doing much of what he said he would, like it or not.

    Greater disaster may loom, but would have been more certain if we continued as we had for the previous 8, 16, or 20 years, IMO.

    I have been financially screwed by things both this and previous administrations have done. When I criticize, I usually offer specific alternatives, ideas, or solutions that might be better, and also listen to or read others’. Anybody can just bitch and whine, but that just sucks up good air and space.

  7. griff

    Did you not suggest that we need to be drugged in order to acquiesce? Did you not suggest that we simply go with the flow and not question policies and legislation put forth by our new “leadership”? I think you did. If not, please elaborate.

    But you’re right. We have allowed the government to run roughshod for so many decades, but all of a sudden we should believe that Obama is going to change all that? Please, what planet do you live on?

    The only idea you seem to endorse is unquestioned obedience to a slick and sleazy scumbag hand-picked to sell us on servitude.

    Sorry, but I’m not buying. But you keep getting screwed and you keep rationalizing what’s happening.

  8. Route101

    Wrong again. I commented metaphorically that much of our population seems unable to pay attention to and focus on what is going on and actually think without being so easily distracted; I have thought so for many years. One of your replies seemed to concur: “We study baseball stats and American Idol. Reading or studying is frowned upon, while endless lies and misinformation spews from the television.” Perhaps the difference is you seem to blame others for controlling what we know and think, while I believe it’s our own fault – what I have called the dumbing down of America for years.

    I have never suggested not questioning policies or legislation or unquestioned obedience to anyone – you made that up. My point was and my position has been just the opposite. I think you’re just being deliberately obliquely cutesy in your posts.

    Where did I write that Obama is going to change all that? I think you are letting your own opinions influence what you read into what others write. That suggests not acute discernment, but rather blind bias. Either that or you are deliberately twisting what others write or say. Maybe you should work for Rupert Murdoch? You’re the one who seems to be rationalizing with slogans and phrases that complain and criticize others, without offering any alternative suggestions. Do you honestly believe that things should just continue as they have for decades while we just sit around wringing our hands and bitching and whining?

    Here’s one idea that won’t happen unless the public create a sustained demand: term limits for members of Congress. The founders envisioned a citizen legislature, not career office holders. I doubt that even Alexander Hamilton, a staunch federalist, could have foreseen or agreed with what we have today. Here’s another: a national referendum (which, given the seeming inability to accurately count votes is highly questionable). Here’s a third: appoint federal judges for a fixed term instead of for life. As long as we have people like Scalia, Thomas, Rhenquist, Burger, Douglas, etc. rewriting the law to fit their
    own philosophies, we continue to be held hostage. We could use more like Hugo Black, who said the Constitution says what it says; if you don’t like it then amend it.

    What are your ideas for alternatives? Until I see some, I conclude that I am “talking to the wall” and all we seem to have in common is that we are both carbon-based life forms on the third planet from the sun. Therefore, I see no point in continuing this thread. You of course, can do as you choose. Good luck.

  9. griff

    That’s funny, I didn’t see you offering any solution other than drugging the population and blaming the public for believing what they’re told by our government. But of course maybe I just don’t understand plain English.

    If you believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then stand up and say that you do. If not, then so be it, but don’t pretend that you do. Nothing Obama is doing has any constitutional legitimacy, so therefore I have no reason to support any of it, nor should anyone that has seriously studied the philosophy behind our nation’s founding and the system of government we were entrusted with.

    That’s not to say that we don’t have similar ideals, but I can just go by what you’ve written.