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Steven Thamma: Obama's Done a Lot, but Gets Little Credit for It; Why?

At last, someone who’s willing to extend a little credit to President Obama for the job he’s doing.

When you agree to take on a cabal, especially one that controls the media, you’re going to be riding a bucking bronco.

Obama’s done a lot, but gets little credit for it; why?

By Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers Steven Thomma, Mcclatchy Newspapers

Fri Jul 16, 2010

Yahoo News

WASHINGTON — Step by step, President Barack Obama is building a record of major legislation that’s sure to make a mark on history.

The most sweeping financial regulation since the Great Depression. A vast expansion of health care, which Democrats had wanted for more than six decades. An $862 billion stimulus package that locked in long-sought Democratic priorities.

Yet his job-approval rating remains low. Why doesn’t he get any credit?

First, the economy remains shaky. Second, he went farther with a big-government, big-deficit approach than some voters wanted, notably independents, who’ve turned against him. Third, he broke some of his own vows in the process, such as by becoming a backroom deal-making politician to get health care, alienating young idealists.

There’s still plenty of time for Obama to recover and be re-elected in 2012, particularly if the economy rebounds, the unemployed start going back to work and people start feeling the benefits of his achievements in their lives.

For now, however, he’s still trying to convince Americans beyond the beltway that his success in Congress will pay off for them. His fellow Democrats are worried that any eventual payoff won’t come in time for their congressional elections this fall.

“I don’t think he gets any credit on the economy. I don’t think he gets any credit for passing the bailouts or his budgets or health care,” said Brad Coker , a pollster with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

“I don’t think he gets credit until things start to work. If they work, he’ll get credit. They have to start working by summer or early fall of 2012 for him. But I don’t know that there’s time for any of it to work by this fall.”

So far, Americans give the president middling grades.

Just 44 percent approve of his performance in office, according to the latest Gallup Poll on Friday, while 48 percent disapprove.

They lean against him issue by issue, according to a new Bloomberg News poll:

— On the economy, 44 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove.

— On addressing problems on Wall Street , 42 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove.

— On health care, 46 percent approve and 51 percent disapprove.

— On the federal budget deficit, 37 percent approve and 59 percent disapprove.

The biggest problem is that unemployment remains high and people are worried about their jobs, their paychecks and their savings.

His White House reported this week that the economic stimulus had saved or created about 3 million jobs. Some private-sector economists, such as Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, called that a reasonable estimate.

People don’t buy hypotheticals, though. Obama said that unemployment would stay below 8 percent if Congress enacted the stimulus package; instead it jumped past 10 percent and is now at 9.5 percent.

They also don’t see many benefits yet from such major initiatives as health care, which is being phased in over several years.

“It’s hard to see how the average person can see any meaningful change in his life for the better because of these things,” said Dennis Goldford , a political scientist at Drake University in Iowa .

The White House is launching a new summertime campaign to turn that around.

In a call with reporters Friday, senior White House adviser David Axelrod stressed the achievements of the president’s record, and said the political benefit would take care of itself.

“His motivation was not politics. … Someone once said that good government is good politics, and it’s certainly true,” Axelrod said, referring to a quote from the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley .

“There are things that relate to people’s everyday lives that are going to change for the better,” he said. “In so many of the things we’ve done, we’ve tried to address concerns people have in their everyday lives.”

He cited the new financial regulations’ protections for credit card users and mortgage borrowers, the health care law’s guarantee of insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions and the student loan overhaul’s expansion of aid to college students.

Another reason Obama isn’t getting credit is that some voters are balking at how much he’s expanding the power and cost of the federal government.

On health care, for example, Coker said many Americans thought that the president went too far. They wanted changes, but not as many as Obama pushed through.

“They didn’t want them taking over the health care system,” Coker said. “Most people thought it needed some changes, but weren’t necessarily ready to buy the whole package.”

However, polls also found that a significant number of those who opposed the health care law did so because they thought it didn’t go far enough; many preferred a government-run public option insurance plan, for example, but the law didn’t include one.

Finally, in the process of getting his way, Obama’s been more Lyndon Johnson than Jimmy Carter .

To get health care, for example, he broke his own pledge to conduct all negotiations on C-SPAN , and he and his Democratic allies cut deals for votes behind closed doors. Young people, who’d voted for Obama in 2008 to change politics, tuned out.

“He ran against the good old boy politics. But to get things done, he’s played legislative hardball,” Coker said. “So even on style points, he loses for getting most of his agenda through.”

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1 Comment
  1. I’M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy.

    Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    It’s over. Tell congress to get the healthcare Merchants of death and injury out of the American peoples lives for good. 2010 is about THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    And that CORRUPT! UNDEMOCRATIC! filibuster must GO! NOW!

    Alan Grayson Honors The Dead

    Alan Grayson on Healthcare

    Ron Sparks HealthCareReform

    John Garamendi – The Public Option

    I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

    There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

    But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES :-)

    It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

    But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!


    WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

    Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

    47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of you are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

    Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

    Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans – CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!… Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

    So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. You MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)