President gets the blame

Pundits are asking why the president has such a dismal job approval rating, now less than 30 percent. I think there is a very obvious reason -- the GOP has a very effective propaganda machine.

Pundits are asking why the president has such a dismal job approval rating, now less than 30 percent. I think there is a very obvious reason -- the GOP has a very effective propaganda machine.

Republicans have seized the president by the throat like a bulldog, discovering a very politically expedient person to blame. They are aided by the fact that American voters are fickle and have short memories, preferring to blame whichever party occupies the White House rather than really investigating.

Republicans have convinced us that, even though we have come back from the brink and our economy is now creating jobs -- although admittedly too slowly -- Democrats should be blamed for having imperfect powers of precognition and failing to accurately predict every economic variable in play. In reality all Democrats or anyone can do is concur with current trends and projections when making economic forecasts. Prominent economists who have conferred with the press have also had to readjust their estimates frequently as the stock market has continued to soar and dive in an erratic manner. President Obama is guilty only of failing to deliver results fast enough for voters. Even Republicans didn't know just how severe this recession would be.

There's a bourgeois' notion circulating that both parties were acting like unruly children as the debt ceiling gridlock became more ominous. It's true both sides blamed each other, but if we objectively examine which party compromised most and was more willing to yield, the answer would have to be Democrats.

During the debt ceiling crisis, Obama repeatedly warned how disastrous it would be for us to default on our debt obligations. He frequently stated raising the ceiling is a routine matter that has been done repeatedly by most modern American presidents. He even read a statement made by Ronald Reagan -- a Republican -- concerning how irresponsible it would be to use the debt ceiling as a power play to gain political advantages.


Obama agreed to consider entitlement reforms along with generous cuts in spending in order to reach a consensus. The spending cuts he recommended along with modest tax increases for the wealthy would've amounted to shaving about $4 trillion from the debt over 10 years -- ironically, about the same amount recommended by Standard and Poor's, and originally endorsed by Speaker John Boehner. The Congressional Budget Office also advises that only a mixture of spending cuts with significant revenue increases will meaningfully stabilize our system, a view shared by just about every prominent economist. As it turns out, coming near the brink was enough for the S&P to downgrade us to AA+ anyway and has seriously spooked our economy. One particular Republican (presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann) persisted in claiming the debt ceiling issue was just a fear tactic used by Obama and the Democrats -- despite the fact that Wall Street grew more and more jittery as the default date loomed and just about every economic scholar agreed with Obama. Her insistence that an increase should be immediately matched with equal spending cuts is irresponsible because future costs cannot always be predicted and a large, sudden slash in expenditures cannot rescue our economy. After our rating was downgraded and triggered the wild ride Wall Street, Bachmann had the gall to blame the president because it happened under his watch.

Obviously, Democrats made more concessions to pay ransom for the economy. Even Boehner and other Republicans agreed they got the better deal.

Republican dogma persuades the public to forget about responsibility and honest leadership Obama has shown, despite the onslaught of a deep recession.

Yes, we tend to blame our problems on whichever party occupies the White House. Apparently, we are too lazy to do any real research concerning the issues. Compromise doesn't consist only of self-righteously blaming, but rather on a willingness to concede some of our cherished ideas for the sake of progress. Obama has been a proper role model for the principle.

If you supported Obama in 2008, please support him again in 2012. Rumors of his political culpability are greatly exaggerated.

Peter Johnson,


What To Read Next