Monday, June 08, 2009


The wingnut take on Barack Obama is that he apologizes for America at every opportunity. Since wingnuts never mischaracterize anything, inadvertently or (heaven forfend) deliberately, that must mean Obama's foreign-policy posture is infuriating patriotic Americans everywhere. Right?

Er, wrong, according to Gallup:

Obama's highest issue-specific approval-to-disapproval ratios come in terms of international issues, including overall foreign policy, terrorism, the Middle East, and North Korea.

As president, Obama follows a bratty overgrown seven-year-old whose irresponsibility and tantrums cost thousands of lives, and the new foreign-policy mix -- toughness and empathy, patriotism and, at times, an acknowledgment of error (often error on the part of the brat, though Obama's too polite to say so directly), plus no apparent joy in being a war president -- is playing well. Who'd have thought?

Meanwhile, those deficit and spending approval numbers look bad, but damn, he's more at less at par? The disapproval numbers are barely higher than the approval numbers? Considering the level of neck-vein-popping outrage in certain precincts, you'd expect Obama to be flirting with Bush-level numbers by now, but no. Me, I'd like to see a good deal more Keynesianism, and some real pain for the banks (and while you're up, get me some single-payer health care, would ya?), but at the very least there's no reason for Obama to do less. And hell, he's at +13 on the economy overall.

Also here's an interesting set of numbers:

Right-wingers will say that Obama's first-half-year popularity is tracking Bush's, which is true -- but Bush, unlike Obama, didn't do any really unpopular stuff in his first half-year. Wow, he gave out tax cuts -- you really have to tap into your political capital when you do that.

But Obama is way ahead of Bill Clinton in June '93 -- though, yeah, that was not long after Clinton's tax increase won its first congressional vote. There'd also been a few other shaky moments and phony scandals -- gays in the military, Waco, Lani Guinier, the haircut. Obama, though, has taken some risks and still has the numbers of a guy who went months without taking any. So he's doing OK.

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