That would be Barack Obama’s job approval rating right now, according to a “Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Wednesday.” And that’s not even the worst news in the poll for Obama right now. This would be:
Thirty-eight percent of Americans believe all the political actors involved – Republican and Democratic members of Congress along with Obama – deserve most of the blame for the cuts.
Twenty-seven percent think Republicans in Congress are responsible, 17 percent blamed Obama and 6 percent thought Democrats were to blame. Nearly half of independent voters, 49 percent, said both sides deserve the blame.
…and the reason why it’s the worst news is because voters… clump. A Republican Member of Congress – heck, a Democratic Member of Congress – won’t find these numbers automatically worrisome; after all, the country as a whole isn’t going to be voting in their specific Congressional District, or state. At this point, Congressmen (and Republican Senators) mostly have to worry about primary challengers if they get out of line; and the answer to that is simple. Don’t get out of line.
But Obama, on the other hand? According to this poll, fifty-five percent of the public thinks that we’re in this mess because of him – and he does have to worry about his national reputation, because President Obama was planning to use his national reputation as a club with which to beat Congress into passing a second-term legacy for him. This, alas, will not work if the average Republican Congressman can simply shrug in response. My district loves me, pal. They think that telling you ‘no’ is why they sent me to Dizzy City in the first place. What, you want to tell them that a bunch of people from San Francisco think that I suck? Go right ahead: heck, I’ll do it if you don’t want to.
Look, for good or for ill we have a pretty severe ideological divide in the two parties right now. This has its problems (whether or not either liberals or conservatives want to admit it); but one of the temporary advantages to it is that the President doesn’t have the same ability to push back on the opposition party that he used to. And, to be fair, this is not entirely something that is under Obama’s control, or even something that would be intuitively obvious to the man*. After all, his office is full of mementos and paraphernalia belonging to his predecessors, all of whom had to deal with a restive Congress. It’s just that almost none of them had to deal with a Congress where the President couldn’t exploit ideological fault lines in the opposition party – which means that their experience is almost useless to Obama. The one partial exception to this is, of course, George W. Bush. Which means that the one man who could give Barack Obama some badly-needed practical, experienced-based tactical advice** is now instead happily ensconced in his Dallas retirement home, painting pictures of his feet.
Revenge takes many forms.
PS: Jim Geraghty of NRO won today’s edition of our ongoing Who’ll Hit The Publish Button First? contest with this.
*Barack Obama’s basic lack of intellectual curiosity is, of course, something that is under the man’s control; but that’s another post.
**Whether Barack Obama has the moral strength – or, indeed, mother wit – to even accept the advice of a man who Obama has made a habit of slandering for pretty much his entire Federal career is another story. Still… Karma. It’s what’s for dinner, huh?