Saturday, October 11, 2014

If Obama Has Accomplished So Much, Why Are His Approval Ratings Low?

Obama's Popularity:  Can a Good President Have Low Approval Ratings?  (Three reasons below.)

If Obama Has Accomplished So Much, why are his approval ratings low?

Someone asked this question in a comment to this column on
Fourteen Things About the Obama Presidency That Most People Don't Know.  Here's my attempt to answer that question with a few reasons why President Obama has lower ratings than he should, considering his significant list of accomplishments:

1. We have suffered from 30 years of Republican dominated policies
that have really made things difficult for the middle class. The kind of anti-worker/anti-middle class policies that were enacted in the 1980's often take years, even decades, to reach their full effect. I believe that some of the misery of the recent recession was the result of those 30 years of anti-worker/anti-middle class policies.  But I'm going to stick to the recent recession in these comments:  

The job market in the 2000's never reached the strength of the job market of the 1990's before everything came crashing down in late 2007/2008. The 2008 recession was the worst that any of us under 80 years of age have ever faced. We were really staring down the rabbit hole of another Great Depression. The banks were on the verge of failing, the US car manufacturers were on the verge of closing down; it was horrible; it was frightening. I don't understand why people don't remember how frightening things were in late 2008/early 2009.

As with any recession due to serious economic problems, it took a while for it to turn around. Yes, we started adding jobs in early 2010 and we've added over 2 million jobs a year since then, but things were bad, and some areas are still not what they were... and may never be. So people say, "I'm not doing as well as I was 5 -10- 15- 20 years ago, and it must be Obama's fault." They don't remember how bad things were.. or how bad they might be if Democrats hadn't taken over in 2009 and started us back on the road to recovery with a strong stimulus.
Economics is very complex, and many people want simplicity. So it's easier to believe the b.s. and decide that Obama is the problem.

2. Pure propaganda
. If you keep telling people enough bad things often enough and loudly enough.. and you keep piling it on, people will start to believe those bad things. That's one of the first rules of propaganda.. keep it up. Make it louder and more horrible. Facebook and the blogosphere were not as influential during the early part of the 2000's and they have amplified the ugliness and the oversimplification.  Facebook photo memes are often ugly, inflammatory, often full of lies and misrepresentations. People don't want to read and analyze issues; they want quick info and they want to REACT. It's not just conservatives/righties that spit out the misleading, divisive memes, but the ones I've seen from the right (Yes, I do have rightie friends and family members) tend to be more inflammatory and more misleading on the whole than those from liberal sources.
3. Racism. No two ways about it; racism is a big part of the negativity towards Obama. Any time anyone claims that Obama is "lazy" (incredible... just look at his schedule on the White House site; I can't imagine anyone can work that hard), it is dogwhistle for "he's a lazy Nword".. no matter how much the person denies it.
In terms of the midterms, many of the most heated Senate races are in red or purple states in which Obama is less popular than in others. So he's not going to help those races by going to those states.

I continue to think that Obama will be considered a great President, considering the challenges he had to deal with when he took office, and considering the constant and undeserved obstruction and opposition. 

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