The Messiah Struggles

Well, if you like me were sick and tired of the media praising Obama’s poll numbers as  ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ pheonomenon (something I and others discounted factually several times)…well your time has come.

Every major polling company, led by Rasmussen, has shown a plummet in support for Barack Obama over the past two months.

Why the fall?  Well, they primarily correlate with the ever weakening job reports coming out.  Clearly, Obama promising to keep unemployment below 8%, with unemployment now pushing 10%, dramatically damaged his credibility.

How bad is it?  Well, historically, it is shockingly bad.  Using the Gallup poll, Obama is now ranked 10th out of the last 12 presidents at the same point in time in their first term.  That is pretty bad.  To make it more shockingly clear, Obama is now worse in polling numbers than that glorious liberal success story, Jimmy Carter.  The Dark blue line is Carter, the lighter blue is Obama:

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There is a simple reason for this:  the overhyped, unrealistic expectations for Barack Obama have subsided, and reality has set in.  The unemployment number hovering around 10% has shaken the base of the American voter.  No one in last year’s election talked about 10% unemployment…and here it is.  People have lost significant faith in Obama on these issues.  He is even or below water on issues such as the economy, foreign affairs, taxes, and immigration.

On top of that, Obama’s promises have fallen well short of reality.  He promised to be a budget hawk, and has been anything but.  He stated that his stimulus plan was necessary and an emergency plan.  Instead, the program has still spent only a small percentage of its funds 6 months later.  The result is that the stimulus has not been stimulative in any sense of the word (well, maybe the budget deficit has been stimulated, but that is all).  And Obama promised political moderation on the environment and health care…and has given us extreme liberal ideology instead.

Health care may be the final nail in the coffin.  It isn’t that Conservatives are winning on the subject…in fact their poll numbers are still relatively low on the subject.  No, it is that people are losing faith in Obama and Democrats…and even Obama undertands that much of his presidency depends on health care reform succeeding.  53% of people now oppose Obamacare…not a good omen.

Obama has a lot of time to recover.  Bill Clinton had similar numbers in 1993, and won re-election. Only one problem…the interrim could be painful. Remember…Clinton suffered huge losses in the off year 1994 election, that brought Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution to power.

UDPATE:  Obama tonight is going to say his stimulus saved the economy.  Um, what?  This almost sounds like, “Mission Accomplished”.   Maybe they should hang that banner again, this time over the Unemployment office in Washington D.C..

The House may still vote on their mess of a bill before the August break, according to Steny Hoyer.  Dick Durbin says no way in the Senate.  Everyone (pro or con…though I have heard very few pro voices recently…) should contact their representative.  A phone list of the key players can be found here.

Live Comments:  I will post my live comments of Obama’s Press conference here.  Enjoy!

  • Mr. Obama has great health care insurance, and will continue to do so…because he refused to be part of his own health plan.
  • All the good stuff in all these bills..wasn’t in the bills.  So what, it is all done in a back room in the White House?
  • We are going to spend less money per person…but we are going to expand health care by 50 million people.  Obama probably should go take a math class.  There is NOT enough cost savings in the sytem to do that zero sum.
  • Sometimes, Mr. President, the devil we don’t know is actually worse…
  • Sometimes, when you set deadlines, still nothing happens.  And he said that the rush for the bill was because so many people were suffering without healthcare.  Um, doesn’t the bill only become active in 2013?
  • Don’t most of us believe the real reason for the rush for the bill is so the public doesn’t have any chance to voice their opposition?  Obama basically said as much.
  • Can’t blame the Republicans, except misinformation?  This from the man who doesn’t even know the provisions in his own bill. The reality is Democrats are fighting this just as much as Republicans.
  • What is the sacrifice (from Jake Tapper):  What do they have to give up?  Paying for things that don’t make you healthier?  Tell that to the 90 year old that needs a pacemaker, and Obama doesn’t want getting the pacemaker…just give her some painkillers.
  • There IS no red or blue pill, Mr. President.  That simply is a false analogy.
  • We rushed a stimulus package, that still, has done nothing.
  • Obama’s budget has increased federal deficits according to the CBO, not decreased it.  He is making up numbers.
  • No health care debates on CSPAN, and no transparency…great question.  The kickoff was on CSPAN?  That was really useful.   There are tons of secrets going on…somethings that even Obama doesn’t even know.
  • Obama wants companies to profit…shocking.
  • It is all the fault of greedy of doctorsdid he really say that?
  • Will Obama system ever deny coverage decided upon by the doctor and patient?  He refused to promise that…well, at least he is honest.
  • There is no competition with the government…because the government can’t fail…
  • Mayo and the Cleveland Clinic…two organizations that are currently against the Obamacare plan…
  • Mayo likes the IMAC plan…but they have NOT changed their opinion on the rest of the Obamacare plan.

Fact check from AP:

OBAMA: “We already have rough agreement” on some aspects of what a health care overhaul should involve, and one is: “It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.”

THE FACTS: In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn’t covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool.

Indeed, Obama went on to lay out other principles of reform that plainly show the government making key decisions in health care. He said insurance companies would be barred from dropping coverage when someone gets too sick, limits would be set on out-of-pocket expenses, and preventive care such as checkups and mammograms would be covered.

It’s true that people would not be forced to give up a private plan and go with a public one. The question is whether all of those private plans would still be in place if the government entered the marketplace in a bigger way.

He addressed some of the nuances under questioning. “Can I guarantee that there are going to be no changes in the health care delivery system?” he said. “No. The whole point of this is to try to encourage changes that work for the American people and make them healthier.”

He acknowledged then that the “government already is making some of these decisions.”

___

OBAMA: “I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it.”

THE FACTS: The president has said repeatedly that he wants “deficit-neutral” health care legislation, meaning that every dollar increase in cost is met with a dollar of new revenue or a dollar of savings. But some things are more neutral than others. White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told reporters this week that the promise does not apply to proposed spending of about $245 billion over the next decade to increase fees for doctors serving Medicare patients. Democrats and the Obama administration argue that the extra payment, designed to prevent a scheduled cut of about 21 percent in doctor fees, already was part of the administration’s policy, with or without a health care overhaul.

Beyond that, budget experts have warned about various accounting gimmicks that can mask true burdens on the deficit. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget lists a variety of them, including back-loading the heaviest costs at the end of the 10-year period and beyond.

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OBAMA: “You haven’t seen me out there blaming the Republicans.”

THE FACTS: Obama did so in his opening statement, saying, “I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to ‘go for the kill.’ Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about ‘breaking’ me.”

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OBAMA: “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

THE FACTS: The facts are in dispute between black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white police sergeant who arrested him at his Cambridge, Mass., home when officers went there to investigate a reported break-in. But this much is clear: Gates wasn’t arrested for being in his own home, as Obama implies, but for allegedly being belligerent when the sergeant demanded his identification. The president did mention that the professor was charged with disorderly conduct. Charges were dropped.

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OBAMA: “If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made in our budget, you’d have a $9.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Because of the changes we’ve made, it’s going to be $7.1 trillion.”

THE FACTS: Obama’s numbers are based on figures compiled by his own budget office. But they rely on assumptions about economic growth that some economists find too optimistic. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its own analysis of the president’s budget numbers, concluded that the cumulative deficit over the next decade would be $9.1 trillion.

  • I guess after this press conference, the real question is, what did we learn?  Well, first that Obama is not really willing to talk any health care specifics.  He is willing to talk about arcane programs which no layperson understands, but specific questions on health care are ignored.  He is not willing to ask for shared sacrifice.  Basically, this was another infomercial.