The stunning decline of BO

The stunning decline of Barack Obama: 10 key reasons why the Obama presidency is in meltdown

By Nile Gardiner World
Last updated: August 12th, 2010

President Obama: In decline? (Photo: AFP)

President Obama: In decline? (Photo: AFP)

The last few weeks have been a nightmare for President Obama, in a
summer of discontent in the United States which has deeply unsettled the
ruling liberal elites, so much so that even the Left has begun to turn
against the White House. While the anti-establishment Tea Party movement
has gained significant ground and is now a rising and powerful
political force to be reckoned with, many of the president’s own
supporters as well as independents are rapidly losing faith in Barack
Obama, with open warfare
breaking out between the White House and the left-wing of the
Democratic Party. While conservatism in America grows stronger by the
day, the forces of liberalism are growing increasingly weaker and

Against this backdrop, the president’s approval ratings have been sliding dramatically all summer, with the latest Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll of US voters dropping to minus 22 points, the lowest point so far for
Barack Obama since taking office. While just 24 per cent of American
voters strongly approve of the president’s job performance, almost twice
that number, 46 per cent, strongly disapprove. According to Rasmussen, 65 per cent of voters believe the United States is going down the wrong track, including 70 per cent of independents.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls now has President Obama at over 50 per cent disapproval, a remarkably high
figure for a president just 18 months into his first term. Strikingly,
the latest USA Today/Gallup survey has the President on just 41 per cent approval, with 53 per cent disapproving.

There are an array of reasons behind the stunning decline and political fall of President Obama, chief among them fears over the
current state of the US economy, with widespread concern over high
levels of unemployment, the unstable housing market, and above all the
towering budget deficit. Americans are increasingly rejecting President
Obama’s big government solutions to America’s economic woes, which many
fear will lead to the United States sharing the same fate as Greece.

Growing disillusionment with the Obama administration’s handling of
the economy as well as health care and immigration has gone hand in hand
with mounting unhappiness with the President’s aloof and imperial style
of leadership, and a growing perception that he is out of touch with
ordinary Americans, especially at a time of significant economic pain.
Barack Obama’s striking absence of natural leadership ability (and
blatant lack of experience) has played a big part in undermining his
credibility with the US public, with his lacklustre handling of the Gulf
oil spill coming under particularly intense fire.

On the national security and foreign policy front, President Obama
has not fared any better. His leadership on the war in Afghanistan has
been confused and at times lacking in conviction, and seemingly dictated
by domestic political priorities rather than military and strategic
goals. His overall foreign policy has been an appalling mess, with his
flawed strategy of engagement of hostile regimes spectacularly
backfiring. And as for the War on Terror, his administration has not
even acknowledged it is fighting one.

Can it get any worse for President Obama? Undoubtedly yes. Here are
10 key reasons why the Obama presidency is in serious trouble, and why
its prospects are unlikely to improve between now and the November

1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people

In a previous post I noted how the Obama presidency increasingly resembles a modern-day
Ancien Régime, extravagant, decaying and out of touch with ordinary
Americans. The First Lady’s ill-conceived trip to Spain at a time of
widespread economic hardship was symbolic of a White House that barely
gives a second thought to public opinion on many issues, and frequently
projects a distinctly elitist image. The “let them eat cake” approach
didn’t play well over two centuries ago, and it won’t succeed today.

2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership

This deficit of trust in Obama’s leadership is central to his decline. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, “nearly six in ten voters say they lack faith in the president to make
the right decisions for the country”, and two thirds “say they are
disillusioned with or angry about the way the federal government is
working.” The poll showed that a staggering 58 per cent of Americans say
they do not have confidence in the president’s decision-making, with
just 42 per cent saying they do.

3. Obama fails to inspire

In contrast to the soaring rhetoric of his 2006 Convention speech in
Chicago which succeeded in impressing millions of television viewers at
the time, America is no longer inspired by Barack Obama’s flat,
monotonous and often dull presidential speeches and statements delivered
via teleprompter. From his extraordinarily uninspiring Afghanistan speech at West Point to his flat State of the Union address, President Obama has failed to touch the heart of America. Even Jimmy Carter was more moving.

4. The United States is drowning in debt

The Congressional Budget Office Long-Term Budget Outlook offers a frightening picture of the scale of America’s national debt. Under
its alternative fiscal scenario, the CBO projects that US debt could
rise to 87 percent of GDP by 2020, 109 percent by 2025, and 185 percent
in 2035. While much of Europe, led by Britain and Germany, are
aggressively cutting their deficits, the Obama administration is
actively growing America’s debt, and has no plan in place to avert a
looming Greek-style financial crisis.

5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat

The relentless emphasis on bailouts and stimulus spending has done
little to spur economic growth or create jobs, but has greatly advanced
the power of the federal government in America. This is not an approach
that is proving popular with the American public, and even most European
governments have long ditched this tax and spend approach to saving
their own economies.

6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake

In an extraordinary act of political Harakiri, President Obama leant
his full support to the hugely controversial, unpopular and divisive
health care reform bill, with a monstrous price tag of $940 billion,
whose repeal is now supported by 55 per cent of likely US voters. As I wrote at the time of its passing,
the legislation is “a great leap forward by the United States towards a
European-style vision of universal health care, which will only lead to
soaring costs, higher taxes, and a surge in red tape for small
businesses. This reckless legislation dramatically expands the power of
the state over the lives of individuals, and could not be further from
the vision of America’s founding fathers.”

7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive

While much of the spilled oil in the Gulf has now been thankfully cleared up, the political damage for the White House will be
long-lasting. Instead of showing real leadership on the matter by acing
decisively and drawing upon offers of international support, the Obama
administration settled on a more convenient strategy of relentlessly
bashing an Anglo-American company while largely sitting on its hands.
Significantly, a poll of Louisiana voters
gave George W. Bush higher marks for his handling of the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina, with 62 percent disapproving of Obama’s performance
on the Gulf oil spill.

8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration

It is hard to think of a single foreign policy success for the Obama
administration, but there have been plenty of missteps which have
weakened American global power as well as the standing of the United
States. The surrender to Moscow on Third Site missile defence, the
failure to aggressively stand up to Iran’s nuclear programme, the
decision to side with ousted Marxists in Honduras, the slap in the face
for Great Britain over the Falklands, have all contributed to the image
of a US administration completely out of its depth in international
affairs. The Obama administration’s high risk strategy of appeasing
America’s enemies while kicking traditional US allies has only succeeded
in weakening the United States while strengthening her adversaries.

9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security

From the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the War on Terror, President
Obama’s leadership has often been muddled and confused. On Afghanistan
he rightly sent tens of thousands of additional troops to the
battlefield. At the same time however he bizarrely announced a timetable
for the withdrawal of US forces beginning in July 2011, handing the
initiative to the Taliban. On Iraq he has announced an end to combat
operations and the withdrawal of all but 50,000 troops despite a recent
upsurge in terrorist violence and political instability, and without the
Iraqi military and police ready to take over. In addition he has
ditched the concept of a War on Terror, replacing it with an Overseas Contingency Operation, hardly the right message to send in the midst of a long-war against Al-Qaeda.

10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness

Barack Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, and has made apologising for his country into an art form. In a speech to the United Nations last September he stated that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another
nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over
another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” It
is difficult to see how a US president who holds these views and does
not even accept America’s greatness in history can actually lead the
world’s only superpower with force and conviction.

There is a distinctly Titanic-like feel to the Obama presidency and
it’s not hard to see why. The most left-wing president in modern
American history has tried to force a highly interventionist,
government-driven agenda that runs counter to the principles of free
enterprise, individual freedom, and limited government that have made
the United States the greatest power in the world, and the freest nation
on earth.

This, combined with weak leadership both at home and abroad against
the backdrop of tremendous economic uncertainty in an increasingly
dangerous world, has contributed to a spectacular political collapse for
a president once thought to be invincible. America at its core remains a
deeply conservative nation, which cherishes its traditions and founding
principles. President Obama is increasingly out of step with the
American people, by advancing policies that undermine the United States
as a global power, while undercutting America’s deep-seated love for

Tags: ancien, barack, budget, deficit, michelle, movement, obama, party, poll, rasmussen

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