Saturday, November 09, 2013

The President has "gone Toxic"

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass 

President Obama has occupied headlines for the last several months.  The rollout of his oft-touted healthcare plan, his handling of the government shutdown and fight over the debt ceiling, movement with the Iranians, and campaigning for the Democrats in recent off-year elections have all been duly noted by the media, the American public, and the world at large.  Unfortunately for the President, his actions have all become toxic--hurting those near to him, and pushing others away.  Public opinion polls have registered increasing dissatisfaction with President Obama.  The President sours relationships with friends, frustrates allies, and seems unable to effectively lead the federal government. 

Obama's toxicity abroad has become plain in recent weeks.  He has become embroiled in the NSA wiretapping scheme against Germany.  According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama has jeopardized Israeli security in pursuing talks with Iran.  In a double whammy, the Middle Eastern talks are also straining relationships with other vital American allies in the region.  Obama's drive to make history in the near future is endangering our allies' peace in the present day.

At home, the first American government shutdown in 17 years broadcast concerning messages about American stability to foreign and domestic audiences.  The rollout of Obama's landmark malfunction-prone insurance website, combined with an appalling indifference to the plight of cancer patients who've lost their insurance as a result, have resulted in a Toxic President.  Federal (in)action resulted in worryingly close poll numbers in the Virginia Governor's election, but the Democrats still pulled off a win.

The American people at large have taken notice of the President's performance.  Obama's approval ratings have been on a steady decline for several months.

Berinsky's book "In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from WWII to Iraq" helps to put these numbers into a larger historical context.  Berinsky informs us that during the FDR administration the White House actively sought out public opinion polls for the sake of feedback and guidance.  Compare FDR to the current executive. News outlets acknowledge Obama's "lousy poll numbers," but are suggesting that Obama ignore the numbers.  For another, more recent perspective:  Obama's polling numbers are beginning to slip below those of his predecessor, George W. Bush.  This should concern any president with any consideration about their legacy--especially a president who was elected into the office in response to the failures of his predecessor.  Public sentiment clearly does not agree with the direction the President is taking, and ignoring the public's signals is an unwise course of action.

Toxic, indeed.

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