It’s increasingly hard to ignore the sad plight of true believers in the transformative powers of Barack Obama.
You know who I mean, the people who told each other, “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” who found real promise in posters bearing his face and the word “Hope,” and who considered him a new “messiah” — yes, they actually used the word — of triumphal progressivism.
I count myself among those who didn’t believe a word of it from the first, but considering the effects his multiple failures have had on the country, there’s no satisfaction in having it decisively confirmed that he never was what his backers believed him to be.
It has, however, become clear to most Americans by now. The Real Clear Politics average of the last seven major polls on Obama’s job approval have him in the hole, 51.4 percent negative to 44.4 percent positive. Even worse is the “country is going in the wrong direction” number, which stands at 63 percent (just 28 percent say things are fine).
Congress fares worse, with a 76.2 percent disapproval rating, but interestingly, on the “congressional preference” measurement, Republicans top Democrats 43.8 percent to 43.3 percent as of this writing. Since the pachyderms typically gain seats even when they’re a bit behind the donkeys, it’s a real achievement to be ahead, even by a tad.
The groups most loyal to Obama have been young adults (including single women), political independents, African-Americans and Hispanics. But his support in all of those sectors has been declining in multiple polls, with 18-to-29-year-old and independent support both down 15 percent, black support down 9 percent and Hispanic backing falling 23 percent in a recent Gallup survey.
It seems many Democrats have learned to their sorrow that “the unicorn rots from the horn.”
The list of Obama’s faceplants is long, but a partial accounting has to start with Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, which the administration touts as a “success” because it has acquired a bit more than 8 million registrations. That number, however, has to be measured against the 5 million-plus policies that have been canceled by employers. Higher costs and restrictions on coverage aren’t pleasing many of those able to sign up, either.
Even worse, only about 25 percent of enrollees were previously uninsured. Since we have been told repeatedly that Obamacare would deal with the nation’s “45 million uninsured,” bringing in 2 million is hardly stellar.
And there’s still no idea how many of the 8 million actually have paid for coverage. No premiums, no insurance.
After all, being “insured” is one thing, but actually receiving the care you need is a different one entirely. Glowing rhetoric can’t mask the fact that Gallup says Americans still view Obamacare unfavorably, by a 52-41 percent margin.
Despite some recent gains, the economy still falls below previous recoveries, with unemployment rates above — and many measures of business health below — the rates experienced in previous post-recession periods. The $800 billion “stimulus” vanished without a trace, and the national debt will have doubled by the end of Obama’s second term.
His yielding to environmentalist pressure on the badly needed Keystone pipeline has alienated construction unions, another historic bastion of his support; his continued restrictions on exploiting our huge oil and gas deposits keep prices high and America dependent on OPEC oil; and his climate policies, if fully implemented, would be a growth-killing disaster.
Meanwhile, his foreign policy is in tatters, with the Iranians boasting their ally Bashir Assad “has won” in Syria, where 150,000 casualties comprise a major world tragedy and the president’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons remains a bitter joke.
The Russian “reset button” has been crushed by Vladimir Putin’s allies in Ukraine, and even the faint hope of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians was blown up by the new accord between Fatah’s “moderates” and the terrorists of Hamas.
North Korea continues its missile tests and nuclear saber-rattling, Iran plunges forward toward its own bomb, and China is getting more aggressive about pushing Vietnam and the Philippines out of the South China Sea.
Simultaneously, our military is facing cuts that will greatly reduce its ability to respond to our allies’ needs for support. Both friend and foe are trying to figure out a world without strong American leadership.
Obama will continue to blame Republicans for his own flaws and fiascos, and the lack of a party-wide consensus on a comprehensive health care plan to replace Obamacare is indeed a major failure on the right.
Americans, however, are realizing that the Oval Office is where the buck has not merely stopped, but is immobilized in concrete.
No matter who gets the respective major party nominations in 2016, it appears that two candidates will be running against Obama’s record.
M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.