President Obama is in Michigan today, begging voters to believe that his economic plans and policies are helping the state, the region and the country recover their economic bearings.
Voters aren't buying the spin, however, and the White House aide who came up with the slogan which Team Obama is deploying along with the president, "Recovery Summer," must be a GOP plant.
If this is "Recovery Summer," I'd hate to see what "Recession Winter" looks like.
"I wish he'd save his money and not come to Western Michigan," Becky De Wind told the Wall Street Journal. The president was "just swiping a Chinese charge card for [the stimulus] anyway, and my kid's got to pick up the tab."
There, in a pair of sentences, is the general judgment on the first half of President Obama's term in office. Everybody knows what he did –the stimulus, the takeover of GM and Chrysler, Obamacare and now the banking overhaul—and the collective assessment of that agenda is overwhelmingly negative. Even if President Obama was half the communicator he was thought to be, he still couldn't sell this mess of complexity and hype as a coherent growth policy. It was and remains a set of Chicagoland improvisations –serial deals and payoffs to favored constituencies dressed up in the rhetoric of economic policy, and if you aren't in a union, you don't like what happened.
What the president didn't get done –employment growth, tax relief by extending the Bush tax cuts and a solution to the massive oil spill—loom as failures every bit as devastating as what he and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid pushed across the legislative goal line.
Which explains why a president who is achieving his agenda is suffering from deep declines in his approval rating. Time finds that 49% of adults approve of the job he is doing. Gallup polled 1547 adults and only 45% applauded the president. Of the adults CBS polled, only 44% approved of Obama.
No wonder Robert Gibbs predicted the loss of the House. These are polls of adults, not registered or likely voters. Among this last grouping –the people who are actually going to turn out and cast ballots—the president's standing must be of the level to cause the press secretary more than an occasional shudder when he imagines what he will be asked to spin on November 3.
Nancy Pelosi is fairly shrieking "Shut up!" at Gibbs as she sees campaign donors beginning to realize that they had better be on the ledger of the incoming majority's campaign supporters. MSNBC doesn't deliver the vote and can't pay for direct mail or ads. Motivated volunteers and energized bases do that. She has her union troops of course, but they didn't get card check, and they are worried, as is the entire country, about the roll out of Obamacare by the gang that can't even figure out where to try KSM after a year.
This is the presidency of over promise and under delivery, and nothing is worse than a politician who pretends to have accomplished a great deal when in fact he's delivered nothing of consequence and a mountain of debt. As President Obama darts around Michigan and other places of economic woes this week and throughout "Recovery Summer," he's carrying not just the burden of near 10% unemployment but also of dashed expectations combined with an inexplicable air of arrogance about his abilities.
It is a political nightmare, and Democrats from coast to coast think they are going to wake up in January back where they were in 1995, but this time with a GOP that won't blow its second chance.