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Richard Larsen: Quantified Reasons Obama Should Not Be Re-elected

March 23rd, 2012 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

In a discussion this past week, someone raised the question of whether President Obama will have to go negative in his campaign against whoever happens to be his opponent. There probably is not a limit to how negative he’ll go in the campaign, as evidenced by the fact that his campaign released a TV ad this week attacking Sarah Palin, who as I recall, is not even on the ballot! His actual record doesn’t have much to offer to the thoughtful voter.

I don’t care for polls, but when objectively conducted, they constitute the most viable vehicle to quantify public sentiment, which is crucial when it comes to measuring the efficacy and effectiveness of the president’s accomplishments and policies. So while I personally disdain relying on polls, such studies, targeted at key Obama efforts for the first three years, may provide insight as to whether the president will be running on, or from, his record.

Of greatest concern to Americans should be the national debt. It is, as Hillary Clinton has said, an issue of “national security.” Obama owns this. $5 trillion of our debt, and three years of $1.5 trillion deficit spending are creations of Obama and his facilitating congress. Such fiduciary ineptitude would disqualify him for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, let alone our national president. He may dismiss it as inconsequential, but he cannot run from it.

Looking at his three signature legislative accomplishments, Obamacare is favored by just 42%, of Americans. But perhaps more importantly, “72 percent of Americans believe that the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional, including 56 percent of Democrats,” according to Rasmussen from two weeks ago. And perhaps more significantly, “65% of doctors believe healthcare will deteriorate in the next five years” because of it.

The “Stimulus” was not viewed positively just a year after its passage. “Sixty-eight percent of Americans said they think the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was a “waste,” compared to just 29 percent who think the money was well-spent,” according to an ABC Washington Post poll.
The last legislative “accomplishment” is actually seen as a positive for congress, the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul. But if people understood that it defined “too big to fail,” virtually assuring future bailouts of big banks and financial institutions, they wouldn’t be too keen on that landmark legislation either, since only 9% view the big banks and the recent bailouts positively. Only a slight majority, 51%, views the auto bailouts unfavorably.

He can’t very well run on his record for helping gas prices, for as we saw this week, as they have skyrocketed, his approval ratings took a 10% hit…in one month. Currently 61% feel he’s handling gas prices poorly.

Perception on the jobs situation has improved, but can any of his policies be traced to amelioration of that malaise? Here there seems to be a real disconnect with voters, since his approval rating improves when unemployment drops, but when pressed for what he’s done to improve job creation, those polled by Gallup recently could not identify anything specifically that he’s done for the non-farm payrolls to increase. And in a CBS poll recently only 38% of respondents thought the president had a plan for creating jobs.

Couple that with a Zogby poll a few months ago where “just one third of the public feels President Obama deserves re-election while five times more Americans think Obama has done a worse job fixing the economy than Jimmy Carter, the modern era’s Herbert Hoover.” Overall, 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy according to the latest ABC Washington Post poll.

When we look at the raw polling data on the specific areas where Obama has expended most of his effort, we’re hard pressed to find anything substantive from a public sentiment standpoint that he can hang his hat on. Rather, we find mostly wide public disapprobation over what he has actually done, rather than what he claims to have accomplished.

So will he run on his record? It’s unlikely. If his record was a scorecard, it would be filled with “D”s and “F”s. Voters bought his “hope” and “change” mantra without any record to run on four years ago. Will there be a similar logical disconnect this year, with a record? Hopefully voters will be more logical, and less emotional and gullible, this time around. Only with copious spin and misrepresentation can his “record” appear viable to reasonable voters. After all, elections provide our opportunity to hire, or fire, our leaders based on actual performance; as opposed to how well they can tell us they did.

Based on his own words from 2009, his administration should be a “one-term proposition.” If he’s not part of the solution, he’s part of the problem and clearly should go.

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