A growing percentage of those Americans who oppose President Barack Obama believe the president is testing the envelope of acceptable domestic, constitutional and foreign policies. Staggering deficits measured in the trillions, unemployment measured almost in double digits and a weakening dollar measured in ever fewer ounces of gold are creating an economic crisis that is testing America's historic optimism and faith in a brighter future.
Public opinion rarely has been so volatile. Barack Obama went from political oblivion (a state senator) to being a vastly popular president of the United States in four years -- with the highest Inauguration Day Gallup approval numbers (68 percent approved; 12 percent disapproved) since Jack Kennedy a half-century ago.
But by last week, according to Gallup: "(The president's) 9-point drop (to 52.9 percent) in the most recent quarter (July 20 through Oct. 19) is the largest drop Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953. ... (It is) the steepest for a president at any point in his first year." He now hovers at just above the critical 50 percent approval.
A Rasmussen poll also reported last week that "26 percent of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. That's the lowest level of Strong Approval yet measured for this President. Thirty-nine percent Strongly Disapprove. ... Fifty percent of Democrats Strongly Approve while 66 percent of Republicans Strongly Disapprove of his performance." Critically, "among those not affiliated with either major political party, 18 percent Strongly Approve and 42 percent Strongly Disapprove."
Unless, in an unlikely turn of events, the trend toward greater public stress reverses, by the November 2010 election fear and anger may grow to match or exceed that of 1968 -- the dreadful year of the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King; the ensuing race riots; the public violence, chaos and police riot of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; and the election of Richard Nixon to the presidency of a dangerously divided country.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.