January 20 2014
Patrice J. Lee
On the eve of the birthday of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the New Yorker published a marathon piece fawning over President Obama. A precursor to the many biopsies and autopsies of the Obama Presidency to come, the piece provides an exhaustive look at the President’s tight fundraising schedule – in between which he governs.
One of the topics covered is his approval ratings and how it relates to race. He blames his plummet in support on factors outside of his leadership.
However, why can't POTUS come to grips with the fact that his hemorrhaging of support is driven by his performance and failure to deliver on lofty promises – not his skin color? His signature legislation and collectivist philosophy are running him onto a reef.
Here is a snippet from the New Yorker piece:
Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle. In the electoral realm, ironically, the country may be more racially divided than it has been in a generation. Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.” The latter group has been less in evidence of late.
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun…”
We see Obama “play the race card” to explain away his low approval ratings. This is language best reserved for race baiters who hungrily exploit any opportunity for their political and economic purposes. Even more, he suggests that the opposition to his leadership is wrapped in a historical blanket of racism. In his mind, he is Lincoln and healthcare is the slavery that threatens the Union.
That’s a deflection –and a smart one.
But before you select your federal holiday Mr. President let’s be clear about something. Your diminishing job approval is about your policies –not you.
Examining one of his strongest sources of support demonstrates this: young people.
Reading the New Yorker article, you would think old, grumpy Americans still can’t accept the President and are the driving his approval ratings lower. When in fact, support among young people has plummeted.
As we’ve reported, President Obama is bleeding support from millennials. A national poll of 18-to-29-year-olds conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics showed a 41-percent job approval rate, the lowest among this demographic and a steep drop from November 2009 when 58 percent said they approved of his work. Furthermore, 47 percent of this same group would recall the President if possible.
The hope and change he successfully inspired during his campaigns haven’t materialized for a generation in which 1.8 million have dropped out of the job market, is saddled with high student loan debt, and faces future national bills that aging generations are running up through entitlements.
And let’s not forget about ObamaCare. According to the same poll, 57 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds disapprove of ObamaCare with 51 percent saying it will raise their healthcare costs.
Millennials are unique in our openness and acceptance. At issue is what the President has done – or not done- that has disappointed and disillusioned his young supporters. The racial lens that the President blames his waning job approval on doesn’t rest on the eyes of this generation (compared to our elders).
The President talks about taking personal responsibility. This is a case in which he should take his own advice.
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