Matt Towery

Next in line among disappointing public policies is the supposed tip of the hat to small businesses given by the White House. President Obama is right when he points out that small businesses are the biggest engine in our economy for creating jobs. What he misses is that to offer a $3,000 tax credit to small-business owners for each new employee is really no incentive at all.

What good does that $3,000 a year do if the business creates a new position at, say, $30,000 a year in salary, but then the business has to pay other costs, such as providing benefits or matching withholding, and all for a job the business was surviving without in the first place? (This oversight may stem from the fact that the president has never run a small business. That's not a slight -- just a pertinent fact.) Plus, many small businesses have no profits to speak of anyway. A tax credit really doesn't do them much good.

While all this is happening, Americans are subjected to the sight of two wannabe socialites crashing a state dinner and the president accepting the Nobel Peace Prize before he's done with even a year in office.

Most Americans just don't buy the idea that this nation can spend its way out of hard times. And most of them don't see health care reform as a top priority. So it follows that they are perplexed with the obsession about health reform coming out of the Democratic leadership offices in Congress. Given this, it's easy to see how the White House is coming to be seen as a collection of academicians whose idealism is blinding them to cold reality.

To both friends and foes of President Obama, let me point out that Ronald Reagan had similarly tough times with approval ratings at about the same point in his first term that Obama is in now. And Reagan turned things around. So don't discount what this president still may accomplish for both policy and his own popularity.

Even so, Obama's standing with the public in his first year in office is lower than that of any of his White House predecessors' in the modern era. One poll even shows nearly as many Americans wanting George W. Bush back in office as wanting Obama. Now that's a scary thought.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery