More than six months into his second term, things haven't been going well for President Obama on a number of critical fronts.
His agenda, if he has one to speak of, is going nowhere on Capitol Hill, and his party faces daunting challenges in next year's midterm House and Senate races. The U.S. economy remains weak and may be getting weaker, with little prospect of significantly improving anytime soon. And his job approval polls are declining faster than you can say "17.2 percent underemployment."
His foreign policy is in shambles just about everywhere, with little if any idea how to deal with and strengthen U.S. interests abroad. The Middle East has exploded into civil war. Iran, North Korea, Russia and China are challenging us more seriously than ever before. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed nearly 100,000 of his citizens while Obama did nothing to stop the bloody slaughter. And our European allies are becoming more critical of his policies in the wake of national security leaks that have damaged his presidency and have undermined our national security as well as theirs.
The Gallup Poll Thursday showed Obama is fast losing popular support here at home, too, with 47 percent saying they disapprove of how he's running the country and 47 percent saying they like the way he is handling the nation's problems (who are these people?).
Thus, a little more than eight months since he won re-election to a second term, Obama has lost his governing majority.
Nowhere is this more evident than on Capitol Hill, where Obama's agenda has run into a wall of political opposition, and not just in the Republican House of Representatives.
Soon after he unveiled his sweeping climate change, environmental agenda that targets the coal, oil and natural gas industry, it became clear that he faces stiff opposition from Midwest, Western and Gulf state Senate Democrats whose shaky economies depend on fossil fuels.
These are some of the same Democrats who ganged up to kill his Al Gore-designed "cap and trade" plan in his first term. While his new plan doesn't rely on Congress to enact it, requiring only regulatory rules changes, it faces strong opposition from oil and coal state Democrats who may try to block it legislatively.
"It's clear now that the president has declared a war on coal," said Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia who vowed to fight the plan.
"I believe that overzealous regulations are harmful to our economy," shot back Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
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