It’s a red-letter day for President Obama. His approval ratings just hit 50% overall favorable, the first time he’s had half the electorate’s overall support in over eight months.
There are still more Americans who STRONGLY disapprove of the President’s job performance than STRONGLY approve, however, so his negative index is still minus 12.
How can that be?
Are the President’s job ratings the result of presidential ineptitude? Or have the relentless undercurrents of the far-out fringes of America had anything to do with them?
Obama, Worst President Ever. That is the headline on the media statements of Republican attack dogs to the special interest political base.
The rest of us should look at the facts.
They reveal a lengthy list of meaningful Democratic victories over the past 6 years. Arguably, Obama has had a longer-lasting impact on America than any President since Reagan.
On substance Obama delivered early on several of his major campaign promises, such as his pledge to end the Iraq War and remove our troops from Afghanistan. He also immediately delivered on promises to boldly attack the economic meltdown he inherited.
That the economy is humming today seems not to have made an impression on the President’s detractors—they give him no credit for any of it.
But Democrats’ policies have generated five times as many jobs in six years than his predecessor created in two full terms. This is made all the more impressive considering the epic refusal of most businesses to hire more employees even though many companies still sit on billions in cash assets.
In addition to escalating economic advances, the current President has a list of legislative and political achievements that make the bright light of even rock-star Democrats such as Bill Clinton seem dim by comparison.
The President did this by defying the conventional wisdom that he is a standard-bearing Left-wing liberal. The panicked alarms about Obama’s ideological rigidity when he was first elected ring hollow today.
Obama has been far from that.
People forget Democratic purists attacked him when Mr. Obama included tax cuts in his stimulus package, quickly gave up on a government-run option in health care negotiations and temporarily extended the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. A Democratic insurrection was in the air.
In truth, the President has been far less intimidated by the Democratic Left than Republican leadership has been by the far-Right.
If Obama seems less inclined to give ground to his opponents today it is not due to concerns about his base; it is because Congressional Republicans have been utterly unwilling to deal with the President on any consequential issue.
When then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the main conservative agenda was to defeat Obama, the President shrugged and tried to cut a deal on the budget.
Perhaps his greatest disappointment as President is that he has never been able to truly forge the collaborative atmosphere in Washington that he tried to fashion in the early years of his Administration.
But when the dust settles on the 44th president’s final term of public office, both the math and the mood of the nation will show he won a lot more than he lost.