One year after his election, Barack Obama’s approval rating is lower at this stage than for any US president since Eisenhower. So why has the optimism surrounding his victory disappeared so suddenly?
It should come as absolutely no surprise that the quote above comes from the Guardian. And it should come as absolutely no surprise that it is brimful of the most curious reasoning to be found in print, outside of a Polly Toynbee polemic.
But rather than grace a Guardian journalist’s article with my efforts, I thought I’d review the many achievements of Obama to date.
Now compare that with all the “Change” and “Hope” he was going to bring:
- Guantanamo Bay is still open, still holding prisoners without trial. There are, admittedly, plans to close it and replace it instead with two smaller Guantanamo Bay-style prisons in the US. No plans to actually try those being held in “Gitmo”, though. Effectively, this is a continuation of the policies instituted by the man derided as a “shaved chimp”.
- He is continuing, with emphasis, to fight the wars initiated by the “shaved chimp”.
- The “fiscal stimulus” which the “shaved chimp” exercised by giving Americans their tax money back was replaced by the most incomprehensibly massive dishing out of taxpayer cash ever, to every badly-run business, rent-seeking lobbyist and pork-barrel shenanigan going.
- The incredibly divisive “Healthcare” package that was going to give Americans universal healthcare as a right has somehow become even more expensive to implement than even the “bankers’ bailout”. Can you imagine that? Bailing out all those banks, insurers and Detroit manufacturers is going to wind up being cheaper than implementing Obama’s vision of universal health care!
And those who mocked the “shaved chimp” for his ability to mangle English must be extremely happy with the replacement. Obama is now known as “the teleprompter Jesus” for his soaring rhetoric – when the teleprompter works! When it fails, however, Obama seems to be incapable of stringing a basic sentence together. I’m not sure of the cause of this failure, if I were cynical, I’d be inclined to say that Obama can’t be bothered to even memorise the key points he wants to make to the electorate, just in case.
Many Americans feel insulted by his repeated kow-towing to foreign dignitaries, like Saudi sheikhs. They feel it demeans the office of the President.
So, to date, he has continued all the extremely “big” unpopular policies initiated by the hugely unpopular George W. Bush. He has only introduced legislation that has drained, is draining and will continue to drain unsustainable amounts of taxpayer money from the economy and away from taxpayers. He is arguably worse than Bush when speaking impromptu and is seen to be demeaning his office. Is there really any reason to be surprised that he is unpopular?
Many commentators have compared Obama to Blair: vaguely good-looking, smooth, charming, completely amoral and more than willing to anything to get into power – and his wife appears to be a rather grasping woman, out to cash in on her husband’s role. But this is an unfair comparison: Tony Blair at least had the competence to hang on to power for a second and then a third term. I’m not sure that Obama is going to make it over the first hurdle.