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Obama’s Crumbling Coalition

With yet another poll showing Obama’s approval rating plummeting (with the Democrat enjoying even worse numbers on health care), it’s clear that whatever coalition his campaign built in last fall’s campaign is crumbling.  As blogger JSF put it:

The coalition that President Obama built was on the backs of anti-war activists, Moderate Republicans (or in the words of RS McCain, “The Republicans Who matter”), Conservative Democrats, Liberal Democrats, Independents, Gay voters and Women activist voters.

Within one year, that is broken.

He offers an interesting theory the demise of that coalition which merits your consideration. And now let me offer my own, paraphrasing James Carville (and borrowing the title of one an earlier post), it’s the government spending, Stupid.  Obama constructed his fall coalition by pasting together two discordant groups, his left-wing base which wanted bigger government together with Independent voters and disgruntled Republicans, upset at Bush’s spending spree.

That was not a match made in heaven.

When Obama promised a “net spending cut” and to match a funding increase for one program with a cut in another, Americans tired of Republican rule believed him.  We here in the good ol’ USA tend to lend credence to the new guy.   And last fall, Barack Obama was the new guy, with a winning smile, a reassuring manner and a public unfamiliar with his (liberal) record.  No wonder he had to rush to run for the White House before people saw through his “new kind of politics” shtick he developed in the wake of his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention.

Recall that he fought the election of 2008 not on the battlefield of ideas, but in the marketplace of images.  His calm demeanor stood in stark contrast to his Republican rival’s erratic behavior.  His promise of change offered hope to a public upset at stories about Republican corruption and cronyism.

Now that he’s in office, those promises have revealed to be just that: promises.  Where he promised spending cuts, he has delivered a more rapid growth in domestic spending than we had ever seen in the Bush era.  Where he had promised transparency, we see more closed door deal, with Senate Democrats negotiating in back rooms without any input from across the aisle (and without the presence of C-SPAN cameras–or any cameras for that matter) on how to increase government regulation over one-sixth of our economy while they rushed through the latest budget bill without giving government watchdogs the chance to scrutinize its contents.

Instead of getting change, we’re only getting more of the same, but on steroids. No wonder independents are beginning to lean Republican while increasingly disapproving of the Democratic president.  He hasn’t governed from the center as he had promised and they hoped.  By keeping on the left, he and his fellow partisans have allowed the coalition that led him to victory and increased their congressional majorities to crumble.



  1. What stories you people tell yourselves.

    The WaPo gives him 50 out of 96, so roughly a 51-52% support. As opposed to 53% in the election a year ago. This, in rightwing fantasy land, is “plummeting support”.

    Yeah, he had a honeymoon, and it is over. A lot of right-leaning moderates who did not vote for him – i.e. who never supported him at an actual election, expressed conditional support and now have taken it back. As always happens to new presidents. Thats about all that has happened.

    Seriously, how do you imagine that one can win election with 53% of the vote, and now have 51-52% support and we can talk of broken coalitions?????

    Obama still has approvals well above the level that the last Republican president had at any point in his second term.

    Comment by Tano — December 15, 2009 @ 9:52 pm - December 15, 2009

  2. Um, Tano, Obama’s not in his second term. And no elected president has had a gap between his approval and disapproval as narrow as has Obama in his first year.

    Oh, and don’t forget he started with greater hopes and higher approval ratings than any previous president . . . since Kennedy.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — December 15, 2009 @ 10:44 pm - December 15, 2009

  3. Obama’s messes are now to be labelled “stories we tell ourselves”?

    My, what a robust argument against your thesis.

    The high hopes those who voted for him had for Obama had no foundation. That’s why even the left feels free to satirize him. Though he’s so far out there sometimes that satire can’t cover it and one is forced to look away in embarrassment for his gaffes and mis-steps.

    Obama is plagued with an obvious lack of center to his being. Lacking this gravitas, he has no identity, and he is only sure of what he doesn’t like or want. This may account for his hubris in being willing to give himself a B+ for his first year in office even as the electorate turns more conservative than it has ever been.

    The guy is still in school, and watching carefully to make sure he’s the coolest one on campus.

    A tool? Probably. A fool? Surely.

    2011 will bring reality home to DC again. It will make for an interesting morality play. The implosions and alarums will be mostly off-stage but we’ll be able to see the effects.

    Shakespeare would’ve loved this guy.

    Comment by dymphna — December 15, 2009 @ 11:59 pm - December 15, 2009

  4. Obama reminds me of a college geek who thinks he’s the coolest and smartest guy on campus…but who’s still so insecure he slips $50 bills to all the frat presidents just to make sure he gets invited to all the right keggers.

    Comment by MarkJ — December 16, 2009 @ 12:03 am - December 16, 2009

  5. On the bright side for President Obama, I read today that Michelle’s approval ratings are up.

    Comment by Conservative Guy — December 16, 2009 @ 2:54 am - December 16, 2009

  6. It”s the stupidity, Stupid.

    Comment by PE — December 16, 2009 @ 6:37 am - December 16, 2009

  7. I have a simpler idea of why he is losing support. He doesn’t seem to know what he is doing. He leaves the spending to Pelosi and Reid and they go hog wild. He talks about vetos and they just spend more. He expects people to trust the government yet by his action we keep getting reasons why we shouldn’t. He campaigned on talking with our enemies rather than fighting, and he can’t even work with Republicans.

    To make it worst he is obviously an ego maniac who only seems to be able to talk about himself.

    Comment by Wayne Peterson — December 16, 2009 @ 6:49 am - December 16, 2009

  8. I think half the reason Obama’s approval has dropped is because he promised the moon to two opposing factions (there really isn’t a workable compromise between people who want to spend more and people who want to spend less) and now can’t deliver.

    I do think some people who voted for Obama fully expected him to be unable to deliver, but happily voted anyway because he wasn’t Bush and didn’t have an R by his name. Some of those Obama will keep, but the independents in the electorate, which is a growing percentage of voters, won’t remain loyal and the excuses will only be accepted for so long.

    Comment by just me — December 16, 2009 @ 7:06 am - December 16, 2009

  9. If insulation is “sexy”, will Michelle start wearing pink Owens Corning numbers?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 16, 2009 @ 8:19 am - December 16, 2009

  10. CPAC update. . .

    TAKE ACTION: Call or write CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Chairman David Keene of the American Conservative Union (703-836-8602, ext. 19) and urge him to keep social liberals from corrupting CPAC’s conservative message. Urge Keene to drop GOProud as a CPAC co-sponsor because GOProud supports the same radical homosexualist agenda as other GLBT organizations — which is corrupting children and tearing apart America’s moral fiber.

    Comment by rusty — December 16, 2009 @ 8:20 am - December 16, 2009

  11. The One never had a real coalition. He had a cohort of people united around the vague words “hope” and “change” and under the assumption that they had the same definition to everyone.

    Surprise — hope and change are about as vague a pair of guiding principles as can be imagined.

    Now what will The One reach for to paper over this problem? Is there anything that will do the job?

    Comment by Anonny-nonny — December 16, 2009 @ 9:34 am - December 16, 2009

  12. […] Mr Obama and voting blocs. […]

    Pingback by Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e97v3 — December 16, 2009 @ 9:41 am - December 16, 2009

  13. 7: “If insulation is “sexy”, will Michelle start wearing pink Owens Corning numbers?”

    Makes sense to me. She causes irritation upon human contact and already looks like something that should be kept behind a wall or up in the attic.

    Comment by Sean A — December 16, 2009 @ 9:57 am - December 16, 2009

  14. Where he promised spending cuts, he has delivered a more rapid growth in domestic spending than we had ever seen in the Bush era.

    And, let us not forget, spending already grew enormously in the Bush era.

    Before Obama, *Bush 43* was the President who ran destructive, irresponsible deficits by increasing -domestic, non-defense- spending more than any President in decades, and far more than needed. Unbelievably, Obama has topped that. By several times! Bush pointed our economic ‘bus’ toward the cliff; now Obama has stepped on the gas pedal.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 16, 2009 @ 10:31 am - December 16, 2009

  15. Seriously, how do you imagine that one can win election with 53% of the vote, and now have 51-52% support and we can talk of broken coalitions?????

    Oh …… my …… gosh …… !!!! Tano really is a whiz at numbers.

    Obombo got 53% of the vote. Now, Obombo eeks out a 52% approval rating in one snapshot poll and Tano runs around yelling: “The coalition is holding, the coalition is holding!!!”

    The thing about the bunker mentality that always amazes me is how cheerfully people in the bunker accept their delusional state of mind and set forth, Bagdad Bob style, to spread the news.

    Hey, folks, Obombo is doing just fine, thank you very much, he just got a B+ for his first year.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 16, 2009 @ 10:54 am - December 16, 2009

  16. The most important point about Obama’s coalition is this: He’s losing the Independents and the Obamacons, that he had conned. Good.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 16, 2009 @ 11:40 am - December 16, 2009

  17. Obama was never qualified to be President. The executive office is no place for on-the-job training or affirmative action.

    Comment by Evans Tibetsy — December 16, 2009 @ 11:56 am - December 16, 2009

  18. Love the delusional liberals, they lose the govenrors mansions in VA and NJ….NEW JERSEY and they say all is well!
    61% of the country doesn’t want Obamacare but they continue to try to pass it none the less. And they go whistling along….hehe
    2010 can’t come soon enough. Marginal Dems are dropping like flys choosing not to contest their seats.
    Glad the dummy Dems say…..the skies not falling…..

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — December 16, 2009 @ 2:26 pm - December 16, 2009

  19. #17 I agree. Obama has poisoned the waters for future community organizers with no executive experience who want to run for President. Never again will one even get close to winning the office. Obama has blew it for all of em. hehe

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — December 16, 2009 @ 2:27 pm - December 16, 2009

  20. I wonder that you’re still posting, rusty. Nobody marks you.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 16, 2009 @ 3:14 pm - December 16, 2009

  21. TGC. . .As gay individuals becoming increasingly visible on the right, we can help correct those prejudices still present in pockets of our movement. Indeed, some groups, as one of our readers points out
    (that would be ME),
    who continue to promote such prejudices are also cosponsoring the conference. Let us hope the presence of GOProud alongside them at the conference helps wean them of their prejudice.

    Ciao TGC

    Comment by rusty — December 16, 2009 @ 8:14 pm - December 16, 2009

  22. I like the lefties in here who don’t think Obamas poll numbers are tanking. Have you watched PMSNBC lately???
    They are appopletic, and in a complete panic about his polling.
    MSNBC is becoming fun to watch again. hehe
    Ripping Obama for only being a socialist instead of a full blown communist. Tons of fun.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — December 16, 2009 @ 8:35 pm - December 16, 2009

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