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.