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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Americans Feel Sorry for President Obama?



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

A Lot of Americans Feel Sorry for President Obama?

Yahoo gets one of the more interesting tidbits of recent days:

Republicans on a private Republican National Committee conference call with allies warned Tuesday that party surrogates should refrain from personal attacks against President Barack Obama, because such a strategy is too hazardous for the GOP.

“We’re hesitant to jump on board with heavy attacks” personally against President Obama, Nicholas Thompson, the vice president of polling firm the Tarrance Group, said on the call. “There’s a lot of people who feel sorry for him.”

Recent polling data indicates that while the president suffers from significantly low job approval ratings, voters still give “high approval” to Obama personally, Thompson said.

Voters “don’t think he’s an evil man who’s out to change the United States” for the worse–even though many of the same survey respondents agree that his policies have harmed the country, Thompson said. The upshot, Thompson stressed, is that Republicans should “exercise some caution” when talking about the president personally.

What’s personal?

Chalk me up as one of those guys who thought that despite his obvious liberalism, Obama might be a good and decent man outside of the political realm. But now three years of his presidency suggests he does have some serious character flaws. Part of me marvels that so many still find him so likeable, and I can’t help but get the feeling that a lot of people are wedded to the notion that the first African-American President of the United States would be a healing, wise, visionary statesman, like the second coming of Martin Luther King Jr, instead of a over-promising, under-delivering, self-pitying narcissist.

Three years of Obama’s presidency have shown us that he can rarely if ever admit a mistake. His statements suggest he thinks all of those who disagree with him are either uninformed and misguided or morally wrong and malicious. Clearly he is a narcissist, even by the standards of politicians, and he revels in seeing throngs of people chanting his name and seeing him in messianic terms and has no objection to being marketed that way. (Mark Edward Taylor’s Branding Obamessiah is on my must-read list.)

When a law inconveniences him, like the War Powers Act, he ignores it. His enthusiasm for czars, recess appointments, executive orders, etc. suggests an impatience with Constitutional limits and traditional checks on presidential power, an office he denounced as too powerful when Bush occupied the Oval Office. His willingness to have Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid write the details of Obamacare and the stimulus suggest either a foolish trust in those lawmakers’ wisdom or a certain intellectual laziness, an impatience in dealing with details and a naïve faith that everything would turn out all right. His “expiration date” phenomenon and his “under the bus” philosophy suggest he sees everything from past political positions to allies to even his own grandmother as expendable in his pursuit of fulfilling what he needs at any given moment. I’ve said that his furious schedule of fundraisers is driven less by a need for campaign cash than for his ego’s need for constant praise and adoration.

Finally, while a lot of folks think he gets too much grief about his golf habits, I marvel that his favorite pastime is a hobby associated with rich Republicans and the folks he usually denounces, and that he indulges his expensive habit so regularly while presiding over what looks like a Four-Year Recession. Then throw in the Martha’s Vineyard vacations and the 17-day Christmas vacations and you get the feeling Obama doesn’t really like the “working” part of being president.

Finally . . . Americans feel sorry for Obama? Forget everything else, this might be the sign that we’ve really gone too far to be saved. He spent two years doing everything possible to get this job. He and his allies endlessly assured us that he knew what he was doing, that he could deliver what no one else could, and that we would see results in miraculous terms — heal the sick and the stopped the oceans’ rise and all that. And now we feel sorry for him? We pity him?

The call leaves our Michael Walsh furious:

Gee, if Obama’s personal-approval numbers are still high, why would you want to take them down? Let them stay there, lest the Democrat-Media Complex accuse you of being a blue meanie.

Remember, GOP: principles, not policies. Principles, not policies. Principles, not policies.

It’s not Obama’s policies that are the problem, it’s Obama and everything he represents and stands for. Engage the president on the deepest, most potent level, or join John McCain and Bob Dole on the ash heap of history.

Really, this party is too dumb to live.


Tags: Barack Obama


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