President Obama used to be a popular guy. Now, not so much. (+video)
Recent polls have not been good news for the White House. Even President Obama's personal popularity has dropped into negative territory. Can he recover to make his second term a success?
For years, it seems, Barack Obama had a golden political glow about him.Skip to next paragraph
Staff writer and editor
Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.
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Following a knock-out keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, he rode a short stint in the US Senate to the White House just four years later, handily winning re-election four years after that. The African meaning of his first name – “blessed” – seemed apt.
Along the way, and with the help of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, he won what is likely to be seen as his most important piece of legislation: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Democrats lost the House in the 2010 midterms, and the tea party movement roiled things further for Obama, whose race and parentage remained an issue for a small but persistent element of “birthers” and those never able to accept a black man as president.
Although he made light of it, the Affordable Care Act became “Obamacare” to those who viewed it as fatally flawed if not the end of western civilization. Feeling their political oats (not to mention the hot breath of potential tea party challengers from the right) Republican lawmakers pushed ever harder on everything from budgets to presidential appointments.
But through it all, Obama’s poll numbers – especially his personal popularity – remained relatively solid.
Now, that political glow has begun to dim.
Whether or not it’s just lame duckism with voters looking for the next new thing, or disappointment at the perception of failed policies and goals unattained – immigration, war in Afghanistan dragging on, Benghazi, Syria’s chemical weapons, NSA spying, certainly the miserable roll-out of the Affordable Care Act – Obama’s numbers have sagged appreciably … even his personal popularity.
In his radio/Internet address Saturday, Obama said the main thing that’s undermined the US economy in recent years is “the constant cycle of manufactured crisis and self-inflicted wounds” – a clear reference to the recent partial government shutdown, which he blames on Republicans.