The news media is in a tizzy over President Obama’s first one hundred days in office. They seem to see more significance in “milestone” than they did in President Bush’s reelection just over four years ago. It’s as if it were some landmark event that wouldn’t have happened were Obama just not so gosh darn wonderful.
Well, the news media may think he’s wonderful, but, well, the American people, while generally liking the guy, don’t think he’s any more wonderful than his predecessors at this point in their presidencies:
According to Gallup’s April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969. The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton, who got off to a notoriously bad start after trying to force homosexuals on the military and a federal raid in Waco, Texas, that killed 86. Mr. Obama’s current approval rating of 56 percent is only one tick higher than the 55-percent approval Mr. Clinton had during those crises.
Yet, this middling approval rating for a new president hasn’t stopped the media from gushing over his popularity. The president’s approval is not just middling, it has also slid more rapidly than his predecessors, given how much higher he started.
He took office with a 68% approval rating which, according to Gallup, is “on the high end of the range of initial job approval ratings Gallup has recorded for the previous eight presidents who were elected to their first term.” Only Eisenhower, enjoying at 72% approval rating at the beginning of his first term, had a higher rating. Kennedy had an identical rating to that of his Democratic successor.
Perhaps, the President has seen his ratings drop so precipitously because he has strayed so far from the rhetoric of his campaign and the tone of his transition. Running for office, he promised a “net spending cut.” Once in office, he pushed through a near-trillion dollar “stimulus” and pushed a budget with a deficit even higher than that through Congress.
During the transition, many fiscal conservatives hailed Obama economic team as fiscally prudent centrists. Yet, they all have signed off a massive expansion in the size and scope of the federal government.
As he pushes through legislation increasing the cost of the government and its role in our lives, the president has not kept his promise of transparency. In the campaign, he had pledged the post bills online for five days before signing them. He has only kept that promise with one piece of legislation.
In the campaign, Barack Obama appealed to fiscal conservatives unhappy with the then-incumbent Administration by pointing out that “we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments.” He’s made those adjustments, but on the wrong side of the ledger, increasing our debt, rather than decreasing spending.
For the past hundred days, the change the President has proposed had been to reintroduce “exhausted ideas” of the past, but on steroids. For every challenge we face (save national security), he has responded by increasing spending by amounts Democrats had only previously dreamed of.
While many who supported Obama in the campaign hoped he would restore some fiscal sanity to our nation’s capital, in the past 100 days, he has done quite the opposite, increasing the amount of federal spending and proposing to double, if not triple, our national debt.
That change is not good for the long-term health of the economy. Or for the nation.