Free Markets, Free People
That’s the consensus in an interesting poll just published:
More than two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and a clear majority think the next generation will be worse off than this one, according to the results of a new poll commissioned by The Hill.
A resounding 69 percent of respondents said the country is “in decline,” the survey found, while 57 percent predict today’s kids won’t live better lives than their parents. Additionally, 83 percent of voters indicated they’re either very or somewhat worried about the future of the nation, with 49 percent saying they’re “very worried.”
The results suggest that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary, but instead see them continuing for many years.
My father used to tell me “you live between your ears” meaning attitude and outlook are yours to control and play a critical part in life.
Attitude and outlook are also critical in any sort of economic recovery. If the attitude is pessimistic and the outlook deemed as dismal, it sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I remember back in the days of the Jimmy Carter presidency, the “malaise” that settled in on the country. People felt everything was out of control. Interest rates were through the roof, we were seen as a paper tiger in the world and whatever else Jimmy Carter might be, he wasn’t much of a leader. Everyone then thought America was in decline then too.
But then Ronald Reagan came along, took charge, changed the attitude and outlook of Americans and, well, the rest is literally history.
One of the key jobs of a President of the United States is to address the country’s outlook and attitude. It is a very important aspect of leadership. It is also critical to recovery from economic problems, unemployment and other ills that are besetting our country. It is about setting up the proper climate to make attitudes swing to the positive side and the outlook appear rosier.
One of the things I’ve said consistently since Barack Obama has taken office is he’s not (nor has he ever been) a leader. That’s actually no surprise to me because I understand what leadership requires. In a word, development. The great leaders of today, with very few exceptions, worked their way up to their ultimate leadership job through a series of lesser leadership jobs.
I use military examples because they’re familiar to me, but no division commander ever took that job that hadn’t first been a platoon leader, then company commander, battalion commander and brigade commander.
And even then, some division commanders are better than others. But regardless, their leadership skills have been developed and honed by successive leadership positions of increased size and responsibility. And the weak leaders have been cast aside in that process.
We’ve elected a man who hasn’t even had a platoon, if you get my drift. And now we’re asking him to lead (well, in reality, we ask him to lead 3 years ago) in a very difficult time.
This poll indicates how well he’s doing.
In any school in the land, his grade in leadership would be “F”.
Is America in decline? Under this president the answer is “yes”. Does it have to remain in decline? No. But to change that, the first step is voting the present occupant of the White House out of office. The good news is we all know what happened to Jimmy Carter.
As I pointed out yesterday, taken singly, polls indicate a snapshot in time. Taken collectively and analyzed, they provide trends. And those trends combined with the trends in other polls can mean good news or big trouble for incumbent politicians.
In the case of Barack Obama, they’ve repeatedly promised trouble. The latest? Public opinion on the state of the economy.
Three years after a financial crisis pushed the country deep into recession, an overwhelming number of Americans – 90% – say that economic conditions remain poor.
The number, reported Friday in a new CNN/ORC International Poll, is the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency and a significant increase from the 81% who said conditions were poor in June.
Of course when politicians see polls like this they look for whatever good news they can find:
For a White House now fully engaged in re-election efforts, there is one shred of good news: More than two and half years after inauguration day, Americans are still more likely to blame former President George W. Bush for current economic conditions.
The public has a bit of a incorrect view of the matter but such is life:
Asked which administration is to blame, 52% of Americans blame the previous Republican regime, while only 32% point a finger at Obama and Democrats.
There wasn’t a “Republican regime”. There was a Democratic Congress for the final two years of the Bush presidency. And, of course, while 52% may still blame Bush, didn’t they hire Obama to fix the economy?
Meanwhile, enter Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, with his usual wonderful timing, blurts out the political truth:
“There’s a lot of people in Florida that have good reason to be upset because they’ve lost jobs. Even though 50 some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that’s not relevant,” Biden told WLRN’s Phil Latzman.
“What’s relevant is, we’re in charge. And right now, we are the ones in charge, and it’s gotten better but it hasn’t gotten good enough. And in states like Florida it’s even been more stagnant because of the real estate market. I don’t blame them for being mad. We’re in charge, and they’re angry.”
That’s right – three years in, for better or worse, it’s their economy. Biden finally has one right. Now it’s up to the GOP to push that point home. And 3 years of pitiful performance is going to see the “Bush’s fault” excuse wear thin.
Of course the final poll comes in November of 2012. That’s the time this administration has to change the direction of the economy and the growing perception of poor leadership and a lack of viable solutions. The economy is indeed theirs, and political opponents will make sure that everyone knows they’ve been in charge (2 years with a Democratic Congress at the most critical juncture) while the economy has performed so dismally.
It’s all there in the record.