In the past few days there has been a big change in the confidence of the country towards Democrats' leadership in general, and the President's ability to lead, in particular. It turns out that President Obama is the most polarized of first year presidents in the modern era. A Gallup poll found his approval ratings show a 65% difference between Democrats (88%) and Republicans (23%).
But Independents are always the key. David Corn, writing for Mother Jones Magazine , focused on the defection of independent voters since they first helped elect Barack Obama to office. They are the swing voters who were most responsible for last week's election of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate. Independents are in the middle, and when they change their minds the balance of power can change.
And what is worse is that some Democrats are not as confident as they were some months ago. Unemployment remains stubbornly high and the President's centerpiece legislation, the health care reform bill seems stalled in Congress. Eli at Firedoglake suggested, "Can somebody give the President a nudge or something ?" to help get the health care bill passed.
Well, judging from tone of the President's Ohio speech and the rhetoric on the Sunday talk shows, things may be changing for the better. Faiz Shakir at Think Progress reported Sunday that the White House may try to lead an effort to fight back against the widespread abuse of the Senate filibuster by Republicans. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has publically urged President Obama and Senate Democrats that it is time to play hardball, to "make then filibuster ," according to Talking Points Memo today.
This is the week that President Obama will give his State of the Union address to Congress, reportedly featuring a set of proposals designed to give relief to middle class families that are hurting, the New York Times Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports. Pundits will further hold forth on President Barack Obama's inability to lead the country after that speech.
Independent Steve Clemons at The Washington Note cited economist Paul Krugman's blunt take last week, that "Obama's not the one ." Or is it the President's advisers that have been the problem? Daily Kos diarist "bruh1" posted about the emerging prominence of "progressive populist, Elizabeth Warren ," as a "middle class capitalist" antidote to the neoliberalism of the current economic team, coming out of the Clinton administration.
So do not despair. President Barack Obama is resilient and smart. And he is intent on knowing the mood of the country. He will pivot as needed, retrench where practical, and just keep on keeping on. The numbers - 59 vs. 60 - are not the end of the world.
Post date: January 25, 2010
My post today reflects my optimism about the ability of President Barack Obama to successfully lead our country. I am taking the long view, rather than giving in to the pessimism of the week from Democrats.