Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The headline of this CBS poll story is "Americans Disapprove of Obama's Handling of Ukraine Crisis" -- but it beats the hell of me what Obama could do that would actually meet with Americans' approval:
While a majority of Americans (56 percent) support U.S. sanctions against Russia, they are less pleased with President Obama's handling of the situation between Russia and Ukraine overall. Forty-six percent disapprove of how Mr. Obama is handling these events, while fewer - 38 percent - approve.
So what's bothering the poll respondents? Do they think America could do more to affect the situation?

There are limits to what Americans think the U.S. can accomplish regarding the recent Russian annexation of Crimea in Ukraine. Fifty-seven percent of Americans think the situation between Russia and Ukraine is beyond the control of the U.S.; just 37 percent think it is a conflict the U.S. can do something about.
Do they think we should intervene militarily? Again, no:
Americans stop short when it comes to providing military aid and equipment to Ukraine. Just 26 percent think the U.S. should do so in response to Russia's actions, and far more - 65 percent - think the U.S. should not, including majorities of Republicans (59 percent), Democrats (67 percent), and independents (69 percent).
Do they think America should do anything at all? No again:
Most Americans don't think the U.S. is obliged to intervene there: 61 percent of Americans do not think the U.S. has a responsibility to do something about the situation between Russia and Ukraine, nearly twice as many as think the U.S. does have that responsibility. There is widespread bipartisan agreement on this.
This is true even though, as stated above, a plurality of respondents support sanctions -- which are an intervention. Then again, they don't think sanctions will do any good, so they don't even support what they support.

In another poll, from AP/GfK, Obama's Russia policy gets even worse ratings:
... just 40 percent of Americans approve of his foreign policy. Most Americans disapprove of how he has handled the situation in Ukraine generally (57 percent) and his interactions with Russia (54 percent).
And yet:
Despite his dismal numbers on the Ukraine question, an overwhelming majority -- nine in 10 Americans -- supports his administration's most significant policy response to the crisis, sanctions on Russia in response to its annexation of the Crimea region from Ukraine.
Possible further responses to the Russians are also unpopular in this poll:
About a third of those surveyed said they oppose giving monetary aid to nations targeted by Russia. Only about 20 percent approve of financial support, while the biggest share is neutral....

The idea of lending any type of military support to Ukraine is unpopular, the poll says.
So what the hell do these people want? Um, they want something, even if they can't tell us what it is:
"We're supposed to be a country that helps smaller countries in need," said Christopher Ashby, 29, a Republican in Albemarle, N.C., who wants a more powerful response. "Ukraine at this time is definitely in need."

Ashby, a stay-at-home dad caring for three young daughters, said, "When I look at Obama, I see my 5-year-old daughter looking at something that just happened and saying 'What do I do?'"
Or they want nothing:
Richard Johnson, a politically independent retiree in Redmond, Wash., said the United States shouldn't have gotten involved at all, especially since many Crimean residents favor Russia.

"They're protesting in both directions, right?" Johnson said. "So I just feel like we've got enough problems here at home, why are we looking for more trouble?"
Here's what they really want: they want the U.S. economy to get better. They want America to be functional again. Until that happens, they're just pissed off at everything. So, yeah, Obama gets bad grades on foreign policy -- and, in these polls, on pretty much everything else.

Also, Obama is pursuing his Russia policy quietly, while Republicans are SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS THAT OBAMA IS HELPLESS AND FECKLESS AND PATHETIC AND WEARS MOM JEANS AND DID AN NCAA BRACKET AND IS EVIL EVIL EVIL! So of course Obama's getting bad grades. Everyone "knows" he's screwing up -- even if no one can explain precisely how.


Ken_L said...

There's a difference between "Obama's handling of the crisis" and "what Obama is doing about the crisis". Many people would interpret the former question as one of style and the latter as one of substance. Sadly, lots of Americans just love to hear their president hectoring the rest of the world about how it ought to behave. I'm afraid all the "apology tour", bowing to foreign leaders, being weak weak weak nonsense peddled by conservatives has not just been reverberating in their own little black box. It's struck a nerve with many Americans who aren't politically engaged but feel angry and frustrated that the US seems to be losing its place as unchallenged global hyperpower whose president can make stirring speeches slandering other countries and they can't do a thing about it.

I read somewhere today, forget where, that Putin is "trying to upset the post-Cold War order". It was said like this was a bad thing, and lots of Americans would instinctively agree. But the PNAC idea that the US could sustain the post-Cold War global hegemony forever was always deluded, and inevitably Americans react badly to their loss of status.

In short, I surmise lots of people would like Obama to "handle" the situation by making lots of speeches vilifying Putin and promising to pay any price to bring freedom to oppressed peoples of Eastern Europe yada yada. They would know it was all empty rhetoric, but it would make them feel better.

🌈David Koch🌈 said...

the media spent two weeks screaming "it's all obama's fault".

that affects public perception.

Victor said...

Of course, no one in the MSM - outside of a few folks at MSNBC - points out how the frequent Republican guests on their daily bloviation-fests have been - as usual - all over the place.

First, the want to do... something.
And sanction.
And kick Russia out of the G8.

And then, when President Obama does that "something," and sanctions, and throws Russia out of the G8, they scream that he's doing the ABSOLUTE WRONG THING!!!

And it's not just one of them, or even a few - it's almost ALL of them.
From Republican politicians like McCain and Graham, and others, to the punTWITs on TV.

There's NOT much we can do. These loudmouths know it.
And, SURPRISINGLY, they actually have made some sensible recommendations.

But then, they blast the President, anyway.

It's repulsive.

But then, what can we expect.
At this point, THEY, are repulsive.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Republicans learned long ago that their conservative base wanted them blaming liberals for everything all the time.

The Blame Barack Campaign is just the latest iteration of it.

Also. Too. Benghazi.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Hell, I'm dissatisfied with US policy, too.

US out of Europe.

US out of NATO.

US get out of Putin's face!