Voters have turned decidedly hostile toward President Obama and his policies. That’s not just my partisan view; it is empirical data. A poll released over the weekend shows that 32 percent of voters are using their midterm election votes to send a message of opposition to the president. That is “the highest ‘no vote’ percentage in the last 16 years” as measured by Gallup. I have never seen a White House or a political party as hollowed out as the Democrats appear to be now. The Obama presidency isn’t officially over yet, but it is receding further into our rearview mirror. And it is becoming clear that many in the Democratic Party think the Obama presidency is effectively over, and they are acting accordingly.
From former secretary of defense and CIA chief Leon Panetta’s recent scathing criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy (or lack thereof) to the myriad of Democratic campaign ads aimed at distancing candidates from the president, all signs point to Democrats’ disillusionment with the president. Their disengagement from President Obama is remarkable, given how financially dependent many Democrats are on the president’s fundraising abilities.
A piece written by David Graham in The Atlantic argues that President Obama is facing a “friendly-fire problem,” but his problems obviously run deeper than criticisms from ex-Administration officials. The Democrats are already pointing fingers and assigning blame — even though it is too early to do an election 2014 post-mortem — and nothing the president is doing is helping. David Axelrod even called President Obama’s assertion that his “policies are on the ballot” “a mistake” on “Meet the Press” this weekend.
I wrote back in July that President Obama was already acting like a former president, which prompted some others to claim that President Obama’s last two years might actually be the most important two years of his presidency. Obviously, he isn’t literally a former president, but I still think the famously bored Barack Obama has settled into a caretaker role, without an affirmative agenda or fresh energy to drive new plans. After November, I think we can expect the occasional staff-written executive order and that the president will remain on call for decisions that have to be made. Everyone in the administration will continue to enjoy their perks of office, hoping nothing really bad happens. The same is true for the Democratic leadership if they maintain control of the Senate. They are all about the privileges of the majority. It doesn’t appear that anyone in the Democratic leadership thinks there is any urgency to get anything done during the next two years. And that is really too bad, given all the problems we have and the threats we face.
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