Rea­sons for cau­tious op­ti­mism

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - David Lim­baugh

Amer­i­can free­dom lovers study­ing the reign of Pres­i­dent Obama have been in a con­stant state of anx­i­ety over the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s as­sault on cap­i­tal­ism and Amer­ica’s very sol­vency, its thug­gish po­lit­i­cal style, its PR war against Amer­ica’s his­tory, its rad­i­cal so­cial poli­cies and its Carteresque for­eign pol­icy. But for the first time, there are signs that Amer­ica is start­ing to wake up.

The lat­est daily Ras­mussen Re­ports Pres­i­den­tial Tracking Poll has Mr. Obama slip­ping into neg­a­tive net ap­proval ter­ri­tory, with more Amer­i­cans strongly dis­ap­prov­ing of his per­for­mance (34 per­cent) than strongly ap­prov­ing (33 per­cent). Just 54 per­cent of vot­ers say they at least some­what ap­prove. Even the Gallup Poll re­ports a de­cline in his ap­proval rat­ing to a new low, al­beit still at 58 per­cent. The de­cline re­sults from a drop in sup­port among in­de­pen­dents, as well as Repub­li­cans — but not Democrats.

Can you imag­ine what th­ese num­bers would be if the main­stream me­dia weren’t in­vested in Mr. Obama’s suc­cess or, bet­ter yet, if moderate Democrats weren’t still blinded by their lin­ger­ing ex­cite­ment over re­gain­ing the pres­i­dency and their vul­ner­a­bil­ity to Mr. Obama’s cultish aura?

But it’s not just the polling data that are en­cour­ag­ing. Mr. Obama’s blame-it-on-Bush mantra is start­ing to wear thin. An­other Ras­mussen sur­vey found that 39 per­cent of vot­ers now think our eco­nomic prob­lems are caused more by Mr. Obama’s poli­cies — a 12-point jump from just a month ago.

Also, sup­port for Mr. Obama’s most danger­ous agenda item, na­tion­al­ized health care, is wan­ing. A re­cent ABC News//Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion/USA To­day sur­vey in­di­cates that 89 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are sat­is­fied with their health care. Worse (for Mr. Obama), con­gres­sional Democrats have warned that his plan is in jeop­ardy be­cause its pro­jected costs range be­tween $1 tril­lion and $1.6 tril­lion, ac­cord­ing to Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice scor­ing, and it would not even re­duce by half the num­ber of unin­sured (the fraud­u­lent im­pe­tus be­hind the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s man­u­fac­tured cri­sis). Just wait un­til fur­ther dam­ag­ing truths come to light about the hor­rors await­ing Amer­ica’s health care sys­tem if it is na­tion­al­ized, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment ra­tioning and dra­mat­i­cally lower-qual­ity care.

The White House is show­ing signs of stress. We see in­creas­ing de­fen­sive­ness from White House press sec­re­tary Robert Gibbs, whose daily dips into in­co­her­ence are no longer even news­wor­thy. Asked to re­spond to long-de­layed crit­i­cism from Pres­i­dent Bush over Mr. Obama’s na­tional se­cu­rity and do­mes­tic poli­cies, Mr. Gibbs trot­ted out, yet again, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s mind­less re­tort, “We kept score last Novem­ber, and we won.”

But Mr. Gibbs out­did him­self when he was un­able to name a soli­tary na­tion that has ben­e­fited from a sin­gle-payer health care sys­tem. While Mr. Obama stead­fastly main­tains he is not angling for a pub­lic mo­nop­oly, every­one knows that is the in­evitable re­sult — and in­tent — of his plan.

Mr. Obama re­ceived an­other set­back two weeks ago, when Congress re­pu­di­ated his feck­less pol­icy on the Ira­nian cri­sis with a re­sound­ing 405-1 vote in fa­vor of a res­o­lu­tion of sol­i­dar­ity with the Ira­nian protestors. Even the Democrats didn’t have the guts to go on record en­dors­ing Mr. Obama’s po­si­tions of moral equiv­a­lence and op­por­tunis­tic pas­siv­ity.

I can’t help but be­lieve that Mr. Obama will be his own worst en­emy in his ef­forts to re­verse the trend in his pop­u­lar­ity as the dis­con­nect be­tween sup­port for his pol­icy agenda and his per­sonal pop­u­lar­ity con­tin­ues to erode. Ev­ery in­di­ca­tion is that he is a stub­born ide­o­logue ill-suited to make pol­icy ad­just­ments when re­al­ity con­tin­ues to gob­s­mack his pur­blind vi­sion.

While Mr. Obama re­sem­bles Jimmy Carter in some re­spects, he is starkly dif­fer­ent in his aver­sion to at­tend to de­tails, pre­fer­ring to bask in his broader vi­sion and as­sume — nar­cis­sis­ti­cally — that his force of will alone will bring about the re­sults he seeks.

Con­sider: He has re­fused to back­track on his com­mit­ment to close Gitmo, de­spite over­whelm­ing pub­lic dis­ap­proval of the pol­icy and no plans for pris­oner re­lo­ca­tion. He clings to the fan­tasy that ef­fem­i­nate over­tures to the world’s thug­gish dic­ta­tors will en­tice them to be­have. He is philo­soph­i­cally im­per­vi­ous to the 100 per­cent fail­ure rate of so­cial­ized medicine in world his­tory and to the mount­ing re­search and ex­pert opin­ion con­tra­dict­ing his in­tractable po­si­tion on man-made global warm­ing. His so-called stim­u­lus money — the lim­ited per­cent­age of it that was fron­tended — is be­ing al­lo­cated dis­pro­por­tion­ately at the state level to rel­a­tively un­pro­duc­tive ru­ral projects at the be­hest of some lo­cal politi­cians, who have more in­cen­tive to bring home the ba­con than con­form to Mr. Obama’s di­rec­tives to­ward shovel-ready projects.

As more time passes and Mr. Obama’s abil­ity to scape­goat his pre­de­ces­sor de­clines fur­ther, along with his ap­par­ent charisma, more Amer­i­cans will see just how dif­fer­ent Mr. Obama’s world­view is from theirs — and they’ll be­gin to see more clearly the woe­ful in­ef­fec­tive­ness and de­struc­tive­ness of his poli­cies.

Wish­ful think­ing per­haps — but that’s bet­ter than I had a few weeks ago.

David Lim­baugh is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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