The White House and Democrats have pounded former Vice President Dick Cheney for having the temerity to say Obama's actions have endangered U.S. national security, but it appears that a majority of the Americans agree with him.
A Pew Research Center poll reported last week that nearly half of Americans surveyed said torturing terrorists is often or sometimes justified. A 54 percent majority of independents agreed.
A Gallup Poll reported this week that a 55 percent majority now think "the use of harsh interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects was justified." Among those who said they have followed the issue closely, 61 percent said such methods were justified.
Obama remains personally popular, but his job-approval polls have been steadily declining -- unusual for a president this early in his tenure. When Gallup asked 1,051 Americans last week how they would rate the job the president is doing, just 33 percent said good rather than excellent (23 percent). This compared with 23 percent who said "just OK," 9 percent who said "poor," and 11 percent who said "terrible." Two percent offered no opinion.
The continuing decline in his job-approval scores has been stunning for someone who hasn't been in office that long. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll on Feb. 7-Feb. 8 gave him a 76 percent rating. By April 23-April 26, his score had fallen to 63 percent, a 13 percent decline in less than three months.
Gallup's 56 percent excellent/good job-approval score showed an even deeper decline.
The Politico Web site last week compared the average approval scores of Obama (62 percent) with his four predecessors. He did no better than George W. Bush, who was at 62 percent at this time. Bill Clinton's score was 55 percent, while George H.W. Bush stood at 58 percent. All of them paled to Reagan, however, whose average approval rating at this juncture hit 83 percent.
Barack Obama still has a lot to prove and to begin appraising his work at the 100-day mark may be premature. His numbers will no doubt rise and fall in the months and years to come.
But for the national news media to suggest that his first 100 days are in some way comparable to FDR's whirlwind beginning is sophomoric and silly. This is not the Great Depression, not even close. Other presidents have led us out of recessions, and the test for this president is whether he can do the same without bankrupting the country for a generation.
What should be obvious, though, is that Obama is losing his support as more Americans are beginning to doubt that he knows what he's doing.
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