Coming to Daily Kos, I am often amazed by my sense that the President's more ardent supporters are living in their own bubble reality. I have compared this to the early days of the Bush administration because of the disconnects from the reality of where the president is and the reality of where the nation is.
President's don't need adoration. They need hard cold reality splashed across their face because, if you truly want them to to win, including this one in 2012, reality is how you do it. Yes, messaging and GOTV are important, but they take you only so far. The thing about his campaign is that he was untested. So, people were willing to give him a chance. Now, he's being tested so they are looking for results that will impact their lives. This is the barometer: Whether their lives will be perceived of as better after 4 years rather than whether he can message them in the right way.
It is with amusement when I read those who discuss "pragmatism" (or as I like to call it "Brand pragmatism" versus "real pragmatism") who do not seem to realize that the most pragmatic way (real pragmatism) to view the president is not through the eyes of DC.
The most pragmatic way to view the president is through the eyes of the American voters. They are the one that can hire you. They are ones who can fire you. That's where I start with not just politicians, but also policies. The voters give me a barometer by which I can test my own assumptions, and not just those of the party or the ideologically driven discussions, but as a general pegging mechanism about my own pragmatism regarding an issue. It tells me "Do we need to convince the American public on this?"
Looking at the polling data, the numbers are not that good. Gallup has the president's approval at 49 percent. The average is roughly 45.5 percent. These numbers are taken from Pollster.com. You can check the numbers out for yourself.
Why are his numbers hovering in the mid 40s?
That's a good question. I would say its two things. The job situation and the competency factor. Honestly, in the case of the later issue, the issue of competency, I had not thought of this as a factor for the President until the BP situation. Some here have buried their heads in the sand, and denounced anyone pointing out this issue. I can now say that I have a poll to indicate that my views are indeed reflective of what may be a greater reality. I am once again returning to some sort of attempt at objective analysis rather than just my gut. I advocate others should do the same.
First, as for jobs, the polling data from the NYT/CBS poll finds the following:
"President Obama does not fare well: 54 percent of the public say he does not have a clear plan for creating jobs, while only 34 percent say he does, an ominous sign heading into this fall’s midterm elections."
This is not surprising. The job situation is bad right now, and its not looking to get better any time soon. As in, some are still a) predicting a second recession and b) that the jobs market will remain not only bad, but potentially create a permanent unemployed class in America.
The jobs economy, given the under currents produced by neo-liberals of the past, was always the reason why the president needed to have acted boldly in the last year and half. Not just for our sake. But, pragmatically, for his own political survival. I never understood the argument that said we must ignore his neo-liberal policy making as a factor in whether he would succeed or not in the future. To me, this is policy decisions coming home to roost.
On top of that, the other issue facing the president now is the issue of competence over BP. To me, this is danger territory because once again ideological beliefs on the part of his administration are setting him up for harm in an electoral sense because Americans want solutions. Whether you want to call them or I whiners or not- its what they want. And as the people hiring you, that's what you got to deal with.
"They are also impatient with Mr. Obama’s response to the oil disaster in the gulf, by a large margin, and blame the spill on risks taken by BP and its partners in the failed well, according to the poll, which was conducted by telephone from June 16 to 2o with 1,259 adults."
I am certain there will be those who will simply dismiss these warning signs. There has been a great deal of hubris at times over how the American public views the president. I think the danger is starting to become transparent rather than unseen.
There will be some who will dispute the data. My advice is to fight that desire. The truth is that when you keep shooting the messenger, you just end up with less mail. Or, to put it another way, if you keep ignoring the warning signs, you will end up without a job. That to me is the deepest form of being lacking in pragmatism. I will may be cover this later, but part of the issue is that too many view our times as like those of the 90s when the real concern should be that we are facing a lost decade in jobs and growth.