Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Obama and his Pen Causing his sinking leadership

The WSJ/NBC News poll dropped like a bucket of cold water on Washington, where fevered attacks over legislative minutiae and blame-placing in recent weeks has caused politicians to forget what is actually going on. And what’s going on is that Americans are deeply frustrated with their president, his refusal to govern by normal means and his handling of crises at our border and around the world. Foreign policy seldom intrudes into the midterm election discussion, but when the world seems to be falling apart, Americans get anxious and upset with their commander in chief and his party. That’s clearly what’s happening here. Sixty percent of respondents said the U.S. is in decline, only 35 percent were satisfied with America’s role in the world, and just 21 percent said that the next generation would be better off.

The president likes to say that he can act alone on domestic issues, a dubious supposition. But on international affairs, an area in which American presidents have enormous latitude, the situation is dire. Respondents offered a negative assessment of the U.S. response to the Ukrainian war, the Syrian civil war, the conflict in Gaza, the rise of ISIS and especially the flow of illegal immigrant minors across the southern border. Just 11 percent were satisfied with the handling of the border crisis. Overall, just 36 percent of respondents approved of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, 12 points lower than ahead of the 2010 vote.

The consequences for November are ominous for Democrats. Republicans are in slightly better shape in the generic-ballot test than they were at this point in 2010, the year that a wave election washed away the Democratic majority in the House. The president’s job approval, now at an all-time low of 40 percent in this poll, is 7 points lower than it was four years ago. The reality is setting in that Democratic hopes of holding the Senate are winnowing, a realization that could turn a bad year into a rout. The president promises more executive action to mobilize base supporters on immigration and corporate taxes, but with numbers like these, Democrats will be increasingly unwilling to hustle for what looks like a lost cause. And the harder the president goes in rallying his base, the deeper he will sink in the estimation of moderate voters who are so fed up with his administration.

-- 90 days until Nov. 4 --

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