The media's bizarre interpretation of Obama's declining popularity

The incorrigible “liberal media” has been practically marinating in its own saliva as it obsessively tracks the decline of Obama’s popularity. The declarations from corporate desk jockeys, who appear to get a sexual thrill from declaring Obama’s “wax wings” have melted and the President is currently plummeting toward earth, are probably premature. A little over half of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance, according to Rasmussen. That represents a one point improvement since his Wednesday night speech and is the President’s best rating in three weeks.

However, one does have to acknowledge that there has been a slow, gradual decline in Obama’s popularity over the past eight months. Though it’s exaggerated immensely by Comrade Krauthammer, an agent of the liberal media, the descent is definitely there as demonstrated by the latest Gallup poll:

In addition to the hasty DOA declarations, the media is also misdiagnosing the cause of the President’s mild slump. Much air time is devoted to the hissy fit-throwing Republicans like Joe Wilson, and the avalanche of concessions made by Democrats in the spirit of securing the votes of Republicans, who aren’t going to vote for the final bill anyway. Meanwhile, the media consistently pretends as though Democrats, Independents, and Progressives happily continue to support the President even as he abandons the beloved public option.

The only people unhappy with Obama right now, we’re told, are the old, white men and women who religiously watch Glenn Beck and scream about Socialism, ACORN, and Hitler. If the media isn’t citing Conservatives as the cause for Obama’s declining numbers, they blame Obama’s word choices. Even the most loyal liberals like the New York Times’s normally spot-on Frank Rich seem to be under the impression that Obama just isn’t explaining healthcare reform clearly enough. “Even now I’m not convinced that most Americans know what a ‘public option’ really means or what Obama’s precise position on it is,” he writes.

The problem may be that some voters know Obama’s position all too well because the President has waffled between lukewarm support of the public option, and backpedaling the hell away from it as quickly as he can. Even if Rich is partially right that Obama just hasn’t found the magical word combination to explain his stance, few in the media acknowledge that Obama may be losing ground because he’s seriously pissing off public option supporters. Believe it or not, it is possible for someone to say they disapprove of Obama’s performance on reform, and for that person to be a Progressive, and not a “Don’t Tread On Me” t-shirt wearing gun nut.

Not only is the public option still extremely popular among Americans, including a public option in the final healthcare bill will almost surely help Obama’s popularity skyrocket again. A recent poll conducted for Americans United for Change by the respected firm of Anzelone and Liszt shows that 62% of likely 2010 voters would be more inclined to support President Obama’s healthcare reform plan if it included a public option that gave people a choice between private insurance plans and a public health insurance plan.

So while the celebration reports of Obama’s imminent demise are most certainly premature, the media is managing to outdo itself by not only being hyperbolic, but also dishonest when it implies dissenters are universally Conservatives. This implication isn’t always overt, but by failing to emphasize that millions of liberals and Independents who are also disillusioned with the amazing shrinking public option, and Obama’s lackluster support for it, the media paints a less than nuanced picture of the ongoing reform debate.

10 Comments

  1. redtundra

    Hmmm… So I guess we are to believe from this story that President Obama needs to just stand stronger for the public option. Forget the fiery of outrage over the idea of government running a 1/7th of our economy? Disregard the fact the government has never found a way to run any organization efficiently, fairly or even with any kind of responsible management? I suppose the media is just too hard on President Obama because he is wavering on whether the public wants a the public option or not? It seems to me that not only has the public been galvanized by this public debate over Health Care Reform but regular Americans have awaken. They are tired of a government that is irresponsible, incompetent and not trustworthy.

    What I think is failed to be seen in this article is that this health care debate is only one issue that has awaken the sleeping giant. A growing frustration has been mounting for years and years. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi & Majority Leader Reed and the rest of the liberal leadership have personified average Americans worse fears. A growing and disastrous government that will stop at nothing to take away individual liberty, choice and in the end destroy the American way of life.

    The decline in President Obama’s poll numbers, and they are falling, is a culmination of a president who can’t be true to himself. You are correct that there are “progressive” or better said, liberals, who are frustrated he isn’t being more true to his base, but the growing frustration of blue collar democrats who have been long supporters and voted for President Reagan are defecting like crazy. The Conservatives have always been opposed to his policies, it’s the Independents and those democrats that are mostly socially conservatives that will not accept a regime style leadership that is coming out of Washington.

    Frankly, I think this is great. Continue to miss the point, liberals. It’s helping the rest of us galvanize opposition and in the end bring this country back to our core principles of freedom, capitalism, and individual responsibility.

  2. Allison Kilkenny

    Disregard the fact the government has never found a way to run any organization efficiently, fairly or even with any kind of responsible management?

    So I take it you don’t have Social Security, or use the fire department, or the police, or plan on using (or currently use) Medicare, or drive on public roads. Yup, that government sure is inept at big projects. I assume you don’t pay taxes, since you’re paying into such a woefully inadequate system.

    I guess your misinformed talking points illustrate the thesis of my latest article (namely that the media has failed you,) so thanks!

  3. redtundra

    Social Security and Medicare were just said to be possibly going bankrupt within the next 10 years. I don’t think those are very strong examples of a greatly run government program. For the last 20 years that I can remember since I started following politics every campaign has talked about how we can “fix” social security. So I take it that you point is that it’s a model of government competence? (Just so my words aren’t twisted, I don’t knock the employees of government, most of them just do what they are told.) It starts with our leadership in the White House and Congress.

    As for paying taxes, which is just a silly comment, the last I looked it was against the law to not pay taxes. I’m not a freeloader, I pay my part. I vote and I voice my mind.

    BTW – no talking points here. It’s fun to say but unfortunately, average americans can actually decide these kinds of things on their own. We don’t need an “educating” media to help us.

  4. Allison Kilkenny

    Social Security and Medicare were just said to be possibly going bankrupt within the next 10 years.

    According to whom? Some of these supposed projections extend decades into the future, which any statistician will tell you, indicates they’re fairly meaningless. (No one can predict that far into the future because there are too many variables at play). Usually, the only people reguregtating these findings are the people dying to privitize your social security because they think private markets and deregulation are the answers to all of life’s problems. (See Wall Street and the bailouts to witness the beauty of the free market).

    Paying taxes isn’t a silly point. You pay taxes to pay for publicly run programs. The United States is an interconnected country that is home to hundreds of millions of people. A large governmental body is important to provide services to everyone in a reasonable amount of time. (Incidentally, the Internet you’re using right now began as a government-funded research project. Sooo..enjoy.)

  5. redtundra

    Allison. I have to admit this is fun for me and I hope it is for you. This is what I love about this country. Two people with completely different points of view can interact and debate our ideas. It’s one of the greatest ideas our founders guaranteed through our constitution.

    I think everyone knows, however, that the Internet was a government funded project. In fact, I bet it would be safe to say that more people know that Al Gore invented it than to know what it’s true nature was in the beginning. DARPA Net was a military funded project to provide a faultless means of communication if core infrastructure was attacked on the homeland. It’s a phenomenon that has exploded and when opened to the private market has grown, expanded and advanced far beyond it’s original purpose. Capitalism in action.

    It was Congressman Spencer Bachus that said it would be in default within the next two years because of the current state of our economy (It’s good to note his office later said he mean “deficit”). You’re correct in saying that we can’t predict, but we can definitely make reliable assessments, when it would go bankrupt given the current state of our economy. Regardless, it is heading to that end and no one debates that. Whether it is in 2 years, 10 years or 15.

    It’s interesting our differences in how the government interacts with the people that it governs. The government forgets that it serves at the pleasure of it’s people. It’s a privilege for the government, not the other way around. Needing a large government to provide services is not guaranteed in the constitution and plainly is not necessary. Most services that it provides are entitlement programs and not for the basic services that a government should provide which would include, security, basic infrastructure and laws that ensure the freedom and liberties of her people.

    To note your point earlier, fireman and police are funded primarily and ran entirely by local government, not a large bloated federal government. So I don’t think they can fit in your large government model. In addition to get back to the original point of this article you posted, the model of an indebted and large government is what is pushing the poll numbers of President Obama and the Congress down. It’s been a mounting frustration for many years, but as it’s said, it’s hit the fan and people are mad.

  6. Allison Kilkenny

    Sure, I like to see all kinds of people commenting on my blog, but I do want to help clear up one thing for you. Unless you never plan on using Medicare or Social Security, you’re going to have to use one of those large federal programs. Which is a good thing. You’ve been paying into it, and like any other US citizen, it’s your right to reap what you’ve sowed. But the whole point of living in a society together is we all chip in to help the least among us, and — in case of personal emergencies — a safety net should exist to help us if we fall on hard times. If you get very sick and lose your job, I would be happy to know a fraction of a fraction of a cent of my tax dollars will go toward helping you out for a little bit until you can get back on your feet. That seems like a very humane thing to do.

    So all liberals want is for no one to go bankrupt because of their medical bills. The only way to ensure that happens is to regulate the private insurers and offer a public option (Medicare for all.) Medicare is extremely popular (both with old people and doctors,) so a gradual “phasing in” of people (55+, 45+, 35+, etc) over a number of years could work. This is very doable, and we should do it. America is the only industrialized country without universal healthcare, which is really shameful.

  7. redtundra

    Well I disagree about the need for Universal Health Care. As a society, we don’t need this. We already have the best and most advanced medical care in the world. Our system isn’t broken, it needs to have some tweaks to it. A single payer won’t create anything but mediocrity and bad service. That’s the very reason we haven anti-monoply laws in this nation. In addition, I think there is a major privacy problem with federal government having access to everything in our health records. Despite “safeguards” I don’t think anyone with experience with dealing with this government could be secure in that thought.

    As for social security and medicare, I wish I could keep my own money and do my own planning for retirement. It’s not the government’s responsibility to keep me with a safety net. I can manage that for myself without a problem. I think our fundamental difference is that government is not a better answer. I believe that the free market can make better decisions for the market than the government ever could.

    I would much rather see some simple and common sense reforms to health care that would include letting people cross state lines for health care plans. Instead of the dozen or so that each state citizen can receive, instant competition would happen if those plans were able to cross state lines. That’s a law change with no cost. Let’s encourage health savings account and not tax people for using that money. That helps all of us form poor to rich.

    It seems to me we are trying to fix some problems with GIANT answers that aren’t necessary. A rule of thumb with change and this again getting back to this articles point, is a lesson that the President and Congressional leaders could learn. Despite having the power to do whatever they want in Congress, people don’t like radical change fast. When choices are given people tend to stick with the status quo. Better solutions are to make small changes and fix and tweak than to give a total overhaul. Take for instance Ronald Reagans determination to abolish the Education Department. Even though that bureaucracy consumes 90% of every dollar within the department leaving only 10% for the actual intended purpose, his idea to just abolish it was too much too big. We can leave that for debate for another day whether his intentions were good or not. But the point remains.

    The President has a fundamental image problem and Congressional Leaders are making it worse. The American people are tired of big promises, no production and dare I say it, “lies” from our government. Enough with the bull. If these people worked in the private sector (and you’d be hard press to find where a lot of them ever had a real job) they’d be fired. They wouldn’t make it at all. Until they figure that out, their numbers won’t go up.

    As for liberals in general.. especially the socialist liberals, I don’t have much respect for their ideas. They fail in Cuba, they failed in the USSR, they aren’t working in China, North Korea and the half dozen other nations. Capitalism has overcome all of those with more freedom and more prosperity than this world has ever experienced. The argument to change to old ideas is not enticing. No Thanks.

  8. sirnate

    “it’s your right to reap what you’ve sowed” – Actually the social security act does not guarantee funds to retirees, only to the trust fund. Being that it works like a ponzi scheme, it depends on more coming in than going out. As redtundra noted, that not longer occurs in 2017.

    http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

    That’s not including the $2.1 trillion that went to general fund and is already spent. So in 2017 the government gets to start to print money (and add more to deficit) to pay back SS Trust fund else double tax us to save SS.

    Plus it’s hard to grow the trust fund with investments when very little is available to grow on. A private retirement fund can do better. Sure they can show you will be receiving more that you put in, but at what cost, increasing our youth’s SS tax to 20% (10% for employee)? Shoot the politicians of the 30s were promising it would never go over 1%. That is not success.

    “Medicare is extremely popular”, so was the cash for clunkers…anything that is “free” money is popular.

    The humane thing to do is to allow citizens help other citizens, without government involvement. Charities and private market used to play a significant role in retirement and unemployed. A person once could get private unemployment insurance.

    http://cafehayek.com/2007/01/state_society_a.html

    We’ll be saying the same thing some day with health care.

  9. 013rjwickwire24

    Awful. Truly and most horrifically awful

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