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From Obama-mania to Obama-phobia – What Went Wrong?

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Just two years ago, Barack Obama swept into office on an unprecedented wave of optimism. The savior had arrived, and the country would be put back on track.

Realistically, no one could live up to these expectations. Some felt that he was set up to take a fall, and be the scapegoat for all the nation’s ills. He may not have fallen yet, but who can doubt that his presidency is on the ropes. His popularity is plummeting, and the mid-term results cast serious doubts on his ability to win a second term in office.

What happened to all the hopes and dreams that lead to his victory in 2008? The simple answer is lack of political savvy. The President seems to have a natural talent for doing and saying things without any insight into the political consequences.

Recently he made the rather astounding statement that he had underestimated the political consequences of health care reform. Did he seriously believe that those with a vested interest in the system would just forget about billions in profits, roll over and play dead? Could he really have thought that the right-wingers would suddenly decide that socialism is a great idea, and we should give it a chance? If he didn’t see this political storm coming, he is one of the most naive men to make it to the top office.

It is interesting that as Barack Obama’s popularity decreases, the belief that he is Muslim increases. Since taking office, he has made it his mission to improve relations with the Islamic world. This may be a worthy goal, but his unending praise of Islam, and his seeming ambivalence towards Christianity, can’t help but arouse negative feelings at a time when radical Muslims are a major threat to national security. In a country that still sees strong Christian values as important to leadership, any belief that the President may be Muslim (20% of Americans already think he is) will lessen his chances in 2012. If he is aware of this, he chooses to ignore the risk.

Perhaps the greatest indication that Mr. Obama is in real political trouble, is the rising credibility of Sarah Palin. In 2008 she was a major embarrassment for the Republicans.  Today she is a serious threat to the President’s future. Is it likely that she would be a real contender if we had a strong and popular leader in the White House? Her true appeal is that she is the polar opposite of the President. She is a right-wing, fundamentalist Christian, in contrast to Barack Obama’s socialist leanings, and Islamic sympathies. Rather than laying the groundwork for re-election by attacking Sarah Palin, he refuses to see her as a threat.

Barack Obama is determined to stick to his guns, and show himself to be a man of principle, no matter what the political fall-out. This may well be his undoing. Politics and principles are a lethal mix.

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About Ian Stevenson

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Is Obama in trouble? I really don’t think so. First of all, Reagan’s overall approval rating in 1982 was 43%…and Obama’s got far fewer advantages than Reagan had.

    Look at the advantages the Republicans had in the 2010 midterms:

    1 – it was a midterm, and the party in control of the White House normally loses a significant number of seats in the midterm.

    2 – it was at a time that we are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession…and any party in power during a recession is in big trouble regardless of the cause of the recession.

    3 – Obama is a black man with a funny name (with a Muslim middle name shared with the guy we defeated in (an illegal) war a few years ago). And yeah, all this IS a significant factor.

    Look back that the Republican victory in 1994 – the president was a WASP and the recession then didn’t come close to the Great Recession, but the Democrats still lost BOTH houses of Congress.

    This time, despite the big advantages the Republicans had, they only won the House of Representatives…and it appears that the much-ballyhooed Tea Party actually cost them the Senate (Miller, Angle, O’Donnell, and Buck). Furthermore, the Hispanics voted for the Democrats far more than for Republicans, thanks to what the Republicans pushed through in Arizona. Frankly, this last fact probably cost them the governorship and a senate seat in California, too.

    No, I’m not worried at all for Obama in 2012 except for the possibility of assassination thanks to the continuing vitriol pushed by the Right’s pundits like Glenn Beck and Limbaugh. The 2012 election won’t be a complete landslide like Nixon over McGovern, but I do anticipate a victory at least as strong as the 2008 election, and probably greater if the Right nominates Ms. Palin for their candidate.

  • http://personalwebreviews.ca Ian Sevenson

    In response to Glen Contrarian:

    I agree that mid-term losses are hardly a novel event, and Barack Obama is shouldering the blame for a recession he didn’t cause, and has little control over.

    I wouldn’t however downplay the role that anti-Islamic sentiment could play in his future. Hostility toward Muslims hasn’t reached the level it has in other countries (Great Britain for example), but it does seem to be on the rise. The increasing belief that he is Muslim could well cost him at the polls.

    Agreed, the Tea Party is more flash than substance, and probably won’t affect the outcome in 2012 to any real degree.

    When it comes to Sarah Palin, I wouldn’t be so sure. Granted, it can be hard at times to take her seriously, but the Republicans did in 2008. Maybe they will again in 2012.

    The election will be Mr. Obama’s to lose. He just needs to consider the political consequences of his actions a little more than he does now.

    Let’s hope that he does. Sarah Palin as President is a scary thought.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/realist Realist

    Obama was his own worst enemy. Just look at his books, carried by our sponsor Amazon. The titles alone expressed a very different approach to governance than Obama has delivered. Had he lived up to the words these tomes contain, he would be in much better shape – and so would the nation.

    Instead, he wimped out. He chose Washington insiders to conduct his campaign to bring change to Washington. He let the Congress decide what legislation the country needed only to see the well-connected get theirs at public expense. He let Corporate America dictate his policies, and then has the nerve to get mad at the voters for being righteously indignant.

    Whether or not we end up with a President Palin is entirely up to Obama, only now he has no face cards in his hand to play poker with the Republicans. Heck of a job, Barry! Sarah should publicly thank you for your help at her inauguration in January 2013.

  • Baronius

    Glenn’s right. Actually, Glenn’s wrong about most everything he said, but overall he’s right. It’s too early to count out a sitting president. He’s got two years to adapt his style and message, during which time the economy may turn around.

    I don’t think the Muslim accusation is much of a problem, either. There are three kinds of people who believe it: nuts, opponents who will believe any accusation against him, and people who’ve heard it and haven’t heard anything else. You can’t do anything about the nuts. The malicious opponents will move on to claiming he’s an android or a monarchist or whatever; they don’t care. The ignorant do need to be reached, though, and you’re right that it’s Obama’s choice to ignore it so far.

  • http://personalwebreviews.ca Ian Stevenson

    You’re right Baronius, it is much too early to count him out, but as to adapting his style and message, he has shown little inclination to do so.

    Polls show app. 20% of Americans believe he is Muslim. That’s 60,000,000 people who are either nuts, malicious opponents or ignorant.

    Whatever the reasons for these beliefs, those are numbers that the President can’t simply ignore.

  • Dan

    It might be about the same percentage who believe he takes the Christian faith seriously, as he professes. Those people are just as “nuts” or “ignorant”.

  • Ruvy

    Might I suggest that you look at the TSA for part of the reason that Obama’s popularity has fallen, and will continue to fall. This is part of the liberal fascism of the Bush/Obama régime of suppressing liberty in your once free country, Ian. We have REAL problems with terrorism, and if anybody tried the humiliating crap the TSA routinely gets away with in America here in Israel, they would be shot. And nobody would give a damn or lift a finger against the shooter – because they would deserve it.

  • polansky

    I agree with all the posts so far but i think the American people saw themselves in Obama and felt they could change their lives by proxy when Obama assumed office.They failed to factor in the fact that Obama was just another politican who wanted to make his mark on the world albeit with good intentions towards the American people.Now the elections are over the dream of being’Obama’ ended for his supporters and they’ve all gone back to thier harsh realities. However when 2012 electioneering starts these would be ‘óbamas’ will rise again and put thier votes where their dreams can have a chance of coming true…this is the story of every dreamer in America.