Politics

Obama Unloved, Here and Abroad

In the Bush years, poll results that showed the American people losing confidence in their president were featured routinely on the front page of major newspapers like The Washington Post. But when the Post discovers that President Obama’s ratings are collapsing, you need a search party to find where inside the paper they’re buried.
       
On April 26, the Post offered three stories on polls, each with bad news for Obama. The only one mentioned on the front page (in the very bottom right-hand corner) was a Post/ABC poll showing “rising gas prices are leading Americans to drive less, and hurting the president’s popularity.” From there, the reader would have to travel to page A-12.
       
“Hurting” is an understatement. Only 39 percent of those who called gas prices a “serious financial hardship” approve of Obama’s performance as president. Among independents who found hardship, 67 percent disapprove of Obama. Ouch.
       
The Post said this hardship could “slow Obama’s reelection campaign.” Again, that’s putting it mildly. Sixty percent of independents feeling the pain of gas prices said they would definitely not vote for Obama. In a match-up with Mitt Romney in that bracket, Romney wins by 24 points.
       
Turn the page backward, and on page A-10, there’s another story. More Americans disapprove of Obama’s management of the war in Afghanistan than support it: 44 percent approved, 49 percent disapproved. Once again, just focus on the independents: 53 percent disapproved of Obama’s handling of Afghanistan.
       
Remember the daily barrage of George W. Bush (lack of) approval stories during the Iraq war? Where are those same “reporters” now? Turn the page backward one more time, and on page A-8, there’s perhaps the most shocking poll story: Egyptians still disapprove of America. This poll came from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, created in 2002 by liberals at Pew to underline global dissatisfaction with Bush. Last spring, they announced with great fanfare — this is their own press release headline — “Obama More Popular Abroad than at Home, Global Image of U.S. Continues To Benefit.”
       
Whoops. What they’re finding now is that when Pew sampled Egyptians to see if they had a favorable or unfavorable view of the United States, just 20 percent of Egyptians have a favorable view of the United States, compared to 79 percent unfavorable.
       
How could this be, after our media hailed Obama’s “historic” speech in Cairo in 2009, bowing deeply to what “the holy Koran tells us,” telling how he loved as a child to hear “the call of the azan at the break of dawn,” and playing up “civilization’s debt to Islam”?
       
Pew asked specifically whether Egyptians had confidence in Obama. Perhaps they loathed America but liked Obama? Nope. The breakdown was still slanted to the negative: 35 percent had confidence, while almost double that number, 64 percent, disagreed. By contrast, fully 75 percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
       
Remember MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and other Obama fans trying to credit Obama’s Cairo speech for the Egyptian revolution? The Pew pollsters also asked if Egyptians thought the U.S. response to the Tahrir Square protests had a positive or negative impact on the current situation in Egypt. Almost twice as many picked “negative” impact (39 percent) as “positive” (22 percent).
       
This is certainly not the reception that media liberals and Pew pundits expected. They couldn’t imagine that perhaps people in other countries just have an anti-American animus regardless of the president. We elected a pandering leftist who apologizes for America and insists in Cairo that “this cycle of suspicion and discord must end,” and disapproval of America in Muslim countries barely budged.
       
So where is the rest of the Pew poll? Inside this report, they reported polling in 23 countries around the world in their Spring 2011 survey, but there are no results yet as to how popular Obama is among our allies now. Days before the 2008 election, NBC touted a Pew poll, and from Istanbul, correspondent Dawna Friesen concluded, “If the world had a vote, Barack Obama would win in a landslide. … Regardless of who wins, the world is clamoring for a new America in 2009.”
       
All that media hyperbole about the historically charismatic Obama healing those global wounds inflicted by the Bush-Cheney neoconservatives has crashed and burned. But the media pushing that discredited narrative now need to acknowledge that Obama can’t work miracles, especially when half the time he waits around for someone else to make the miracle. He cannot be honestly portrayed any longer as an inspirational leader — not here, not anywhere.

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