Opinion: More bad poll news for Obama as debt deal brings smiles to Capitol Hill


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Lots of smiles and happy news from Capitol Hill late Sunday as legislators on both sides optimistically announced a debt limit-spending deal to avert a threatened government shutdown Tuesday.

Even Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who loves making deals, was glowering a little less.


The initial details of the bipartisan deal leaking out indicate that in return for driving his own job approval rating down to its lowest point ever, President Obama didn’t get much out of the professed compromise.

He wanted new taxes; sorry, enhanced revenues. You know, those rich corporate jet owners, et al.

All he got basically, it seems, was an agreement to put off the next spending fight until after the 2012 presidential election. Republican legislators, who said they wanted to debate the debt limit again next winter, gave that up. Which helps them as much as the former legislator now in the White House.

Obama will, no doubt, have more to say about the deal today. See if he throws in more sour grapes as he did after the GOP won its Bush tax cut extensions in last December’s talks. Back then, Obama, who promised to bring both sides together if elected in 2008, called his fellow deal-makers ‘hostage-takers.’

We’ll hear more too today from legislators on both sides; each caucus will be....

...briefed on details, which by the nature of compromise suggests no one will be very happy. Except millions of Americans who were sick of hearing about the arcane fiscal struggles. Watch especially the tea party folks like Sen. Jim DeMint; see if they have any last-minute wrenches to throw into the deal to show the angry folks back home they fought to the last clause.


Unusually quiet in all this euphoria is voluble Vice President Joe Biden.

Having been assigned to handle all those shovel-ready stimulus bill projects that didn’t produce the promised jobs and then the talks with the GOP over not extending the Bush tax cuts, which got extended anyway, and then this spring put in charge of debt limit talks, Biden seems to be batting 0-3.

Obama stepped into the stalled talks in recent weeks. He never offered his own new debt reduction plan, but used several public statements and closed White House meetings to show executive leadership and criticize other plans.

He used his poll-tested ‘balanced approach’ demand numerous times (meaning more taxes as well as spending cuts) and sent aides like David Plouffe out to repeat how Republicans were demanding ‘my way or the highway.’

As one result, not only did Obama’s overall job approval sink to 40%, lowest of his 923 days in office.

But a new Rasmussen Reports national survey of likely voters out Sunday night revealed a sharp jump in the number of Americans who find this Democratic chief executive to be ‘too confrontational’ in his national leadership approach.

Nearly one in three (30%) now say that about the man who was going to change Washington’s harsh partisan atmosphere. That’s the highest percentage in 16 months and up nine points in just four weeks.


On his first day in office more than a trillion dollars ago in 2009, 64% called Obama a good or excellent leader. That number has since slid to 42%. Those who consider him a poor leader have increased to 41%.


New polls confirm Obama’s base is crumbling

Obama loses ground against any Republican opponent

Obama offers to work on the weekend to help reach a deficit deal

-- Andrew Malcolm

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