Buyer’s Remorse In Iowa
This is the day, one year ago today, that the world was supposed to change with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. Yet, as the New York Times tells us, in Iowa – a heartland state that went for Obama – the reviews of his presidency to this point get decidely mixed reviews.
Take the time to read the article, but what stood out for me were the following:
1. The “blame Bush” response to the problems he’s facing is wearing very thin. If you were wondering what it’s shelf life was, I’d safely guess it expired a couple of months ago.
2. Democrats there are still trying to keep the faith. But it is difficult even though they still think he’s doing a good job. Unfortunately the NYT didn’t bother to ask “with what”. Some do seem to believe he’s changed our image in the world for the better. I’m not sure that’s actually true given some of the situations developing (see Clinton’s latest fiasco in the Middle East, Russia nuking Poland in a simulation after our withdrawal of a defensive missile shield and Iran continuing to manipulate the process while NoKo announces “we have more nukes” – we may be “better liked”, but there isn’t much respect being shown).
3. Those independents and moderate Republicans that supported him seem to have jumped ship. His approval rating in Iowa has dropped from 63% to 54%. And there’s no telling how soft that number is. There’s also a very big question of whether or not they can be wooed back.
4. Obama is suffering from the economic woes as would any president. However, there’s a nagging feeling developing among a number of supporters that he may not be up to the job. The NYT noted that in several interviews he was described as being “cautious, tentative and prone to blame his troubles on others.” Or as one interviewee noted, he seemed more presidential when he was running than he does now.
I think Iowa reflects what many of his supporters feel – at least those who went “all in” on the “transitional political figure” myth. Instead they’re seeing a product of Chicago politics and a continuation of “politics as usual”. As mentioned there’s an underlying current of deep disappointment, manifested in the remarks about the depth of government’s intrusion, his seeming timidity and his penchant to blame others. And the unsaid criticism that is lurking behind every remark is he doesn’t seem to know how to lead and he may be in over his head.
Ironically, Afghanistan may end up being the make or break moment for his political future. Many Democrats said, in the article, that they don’t want to see an escalation in the war there. With moderate Republicans and independents walking away from him now, he might lose further support – this time among Democrats – with a decision that boosts the number of troops committed there.
It is kind of interesting to those who saw through this fellow and had the temerity to point out that his resume was paper thin and his leadership resume was non-existent that those who willingly blinded themselves to that are ruefully discovering that reality has consequences. You can ignore it, but it won’t change it. Unfortunately there’s another reality that isn’t going to change – we’re going to have to live with the consequences of buying into a myth for at least another 3 years.