Opposition to Obama grows — strongly

Opposition to Obama grows — strongly

By and , Updated:
Wednesday, October 5, 3:20 AM

Four in 10 Americans “strongly” disapprove of how President Obama is
handling the job of president in the new
Washington Post-ABC News poll
, the highest that number has risen during his
time in office and a sign of the hardening opposition to him as he seeks a
second term.

New poll numbers suggest political opposition to President Obama is rising
and hardening. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES – Tags:

While the topline numbers are troubling enough, dig
deeper into them and the news gets no better for Obama. Forty-three percent of
independents — a group the president spent the better part of the last year
courting — strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. Forty-seven percent of
people 65 years of age and older — reliable voters in any election — strongly
disapprove of how he is doing his job.


Strong opposition to Obama has grown markedly since the start of the

In a mid-January Post-ABC survey, 28 percent strongly disapproved of the job
Obama was doing. With the exception of a poll in early May that followed hard on
killing of Osama bin Laden
, that number has steadily ticked upward,
as the year has worn on and the economy has remained sluggish (at best).

And even as his strong disapproval numbers have risen, Obama’s strong
approval numbers have gone into a mirror-image decline.

In January, 30 percent strongly approved of the job Obama was doing. In the
latest Post-ABC survey, that numbers is 21 percent and, as recently as early
August, it had dipped to 18 percent.

All of those numbers — and yes, we here at the Fix do love us some poll
numbers — point to a simple fact: The “anyone but Obama” crowd is getting larger
and more strident in its opinions, while the president’s base is growing less
and less strongly supportive of how he is doing his job.

To that point: 43 percent of self-identified Democrats said they “strongly”
approve of the job Obama is doing, while 74 percent of Republicans strongly
disapprove. That’s a 31-point disparity for you non-math majors out there.

The poll data provide empirical evidence for the recent switch in Obama’s
rhetoric from a focus on compromise (aimed at independents) to one that
accentuates the differences between his approach and the one advocated by
Republicans (aimed at Democrats).

The Post-ABC poll does suggest, however, that Obama’s jobs plan could well
help him repair relations with his party base. More than eight in 10 Democrats —
and 81 percent of liberals — support it.

A dispirited base coupled with a highly energized opposition isn’t an ideal
place for the president to be, but neither is it a political death sentence.
President George W. Bush found himself in a not-dissimilar situation in
2004 and managed to win re-election, using a scorched-earth approach designed to
disqualify Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) in the eyes of voters.

The latest poll numbers affirm that the 2012 election will look a lot more
like that 2004 election than it will Obama’s 2008 victory. Put another way:
winning ugly may be the only way for the president to win next November.

Democrats hold on in West Virginia: For those who were watching
baseball rather than politics last night, you didn’t miss much.

Despite some consternation, Democrats held
on to win
the special election for governor of West Virginia, with Acting
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) taking 50 percent of the vote to Republican
Bill Maloney’s 47 percent.

The AP called the race shortly after 9 p.m. Eastern time — about 90 minutes
after polls closed — a very early call that made the result rather
anti-climactic for Republicans.

Democrats were quick to argue that the GOP’s efforts to nationalize the race
and make it about President Obama failed, but the GOP did
close the gap
in the final days and weeks of the campaign.

Cain’s path to victory: With some questioning whether
he’s in it to win it
, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain laid out
his path to victory on Tuesday, and he appears to be trying to buy some

The pizza magnate told
ABC News
that his goal is to finish in the top three in Iowa and New
Hampshire and, from there, win in South Carolina and Florida.

“We are not going to win every state, but we are going to win enough of the
critical ones in order to be able to get the delegates we need,” he said.

Early indications were that Cain could be a strong candidate in Iowa, but he
performed poorly in the straw poll in Ames and hasn’t been devoting the
requisite time to the state.

Meanwhile, he won a straw poll in Florida 10 days ago.

Of course, by emphasizing later states like South Carolina and Florida, Cain
could be trying to give himself more time to catch on. But we saw how well that
worked with Rudy Giuliani in 2008.

Conservative group boosts GOP incumbents: The conservative American
Action Network is launching a $1.6 million media campaign to prop up more than
four dozen Republican incumbents across the country.

The campaign, which features mail, print advertising and phone calls, accuses
Obama of trying to balance the budget by cutting Medicare and will benefit 43
House GOP incumbents and 11 Senate GOP incumbents from coast to coast. Samples
of the mail pieces can
be found here

Most of the Republicans receiving help are vulnerable to Democratic
challengers in 2012, but the media campaign will also benefit senators who were
just elected in 2010. It will also help Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who have come under pressure from the right and
could face tough primaries next year.

Easy first debate for Warren: The first primary debate in the
Massachusetts Senate race did little to stymie Harvard Law Professor
Elizabeth Warren, who has quickly vaulted to the front of the Democratic

City Year co-founder Alan Khazei took a shot at the “Washington
establishment” deciding the nominee, and activist Robert Massie warned
against what he called a “rush to judgment” — both veiled shots at Warren. But
there was no direct confrontation among the six contenders hoping to defeat Sen.
Scott Brown (R). They agreed on almost everything.

Warren had the most to lose; the fact that there was essentially no news out
of this debate was good news for her.


Not content to let Mitt Romney have all the fun, Jon Huntsman
will deliver
his own foreign policy speech
on Monday.

Cain says being
gay is a choice

Chris Christie joins Rick Santorum in offering something short of
of the name of Perry’s hunting camp.

Post media writer Erik Wemple with a great
breakdown of Christie’s news conference
. Definitely worth the read.

Utah state House and state Senate Republicans are struggling
to reach a deal
on a congressional redistricting map.

Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson (R) files
for the state’s open Senate seat.

Ron Paul says killing al-Awlaki is
an impeachable offense
for Obama.

Rummy spars
with al Jazeera

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) says he won’t announce his
plans on running for governor until the
calendar hits 2012

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) gives
a vote of confidence
to the judge overseeing the drawing of the state’s new
congressional districts.

Disapproval of Congress hits a
two-decade high

One quarter of congressional freshmen have
their own political action committees.

National Republican Senatorial Commitee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas)
and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) bury
the hatchet

Michelle Obama’s Africa Trip Cost More Than $424,142

Michelle Obama’s Africa Trip Cost More Than $424,142

October 4, 2011    RSS Feed      Print 

First lady Michelle Obama’s family trip to South Africa and Botswana  in June cost taxpayers well over $424,000, according to new accounting  based on Air Force manifests obtained by Judicial Watch, a taxpayer watchdog  group.

The use of Air Force aircraft alone for the June  21-27 trip cost $424,142, said the group, and that doesn’t include the  food, lodging, and ground transportation for the 21 family and staff  members.

[See   photos of the Obamas abroad.]

Judicial Watch said it based the jet costs on the  Pentagon’s hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip. The  documents don’t give exact cost calculations, which is typical for  presidential and first family trips.

The White House this afternoon disputed the costs calculated by Judicial Watch. “The number stated is misconstrued and out of context. The hourly rate is not the marginal cost of operation the plane – it is an accounting figure that prices in a number of fixed costs from maintaining the Air Force fleet for this kind of plane over a year,” said an official. “For example, it includes estimated replacement parts, depreciation, repairs, and costs that would have been incurred regardless of this flight. Also, for security reasons Mrs. Obama must fly on military aircraft.” Also, during her good-will mission, the first lady attended five to seven official events daily.

Obama is like many  first ladies, spending summers traveling on good-will missions,  sometimes with family and friends. On the June trip, during which she  was accompanied by her daughters and mother, the first lady urged young  people to engage with their governments and she pushed her education and  wellness agenda. They also took a safari in South Africa, well known  for its beautiful Lion King-like settings.

The costs of the  trips have often won media scorn, as did her trip to Spain the previous  summer.

[See photos   of Michelle Obama.]

But presidential experts say that the value of first lady  visits is priceless, especially in cases like Obama’s to Africa where  the first family has special ties and where the president has been  pursuing a personal agenda, especially in Kenya, the home of his father.

Here is a link to the Judicial Watch files and  their release:

Charges for the  Aircraft and Crew Alone Amount to $424,142

Contact  Information:

Washington, DC — October 4, 2011

Judicial Watch,  the organization that investigates and fights government corruption,  announced today that it has obtained mission expense records and  passenger manifests from the United States Air Force related to the June  21-27, 2011, trip taken by First Lady Michelle Obama, her family and  her staff to South Africa and Botswana. Judicial Watch obtained the  documents pursuant to an August 19, 2011, Freedom of Information Act  (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Air Force (No. 11-1496)).  Judicial Watch is investigating the purpose and itinerary of the trip as  well as a breakdown of the costs to taxpayers.

On June 28,  2011, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request seeking the mission taskings,  transportation records, and passenger manifests for Michelle Obama’s  Africa trip. Documents were only provided after Judicial Watch filed  suit:

• According to U.S. Department of Defense’s published  hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip, Judicial Watch  calculated the total cost to American taxpayers was $424,142 for use of  the aircraft (34.8 flight hours x $12,188 per hour). (The C-32 is a  specially configured military version of the Boeing 757.) Other expenses  – meals (off the plane), transportation, security, various services,  etc. – have yet to be disclosed.

• The passenger manifests  confirm the presence of Obama’s daughter’s, Malia and Sasha on the trip.  The two girls are listed as “Senior Staff.” The manifests also list  Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and niece and nephew, Leslie and  Avery Robinson, as well Mrs. Obama’s makeup and hairstylist (Carl Ray  and Johnny Wright).

• The expense records also show $928.44  was spent for “bulk food” purchases on flight. Overall, during the trip,  192 meals were served for the 21 passengers on board.

The  professed purpose of Michelle Obama’s trip to South Africa and Botswana  was to encourage young people living in the two growing democracies to  become involved in national affairs; and during her scheduled stops in  Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa and in Gaborone, the capital of  Botswana, the First Lady used the opportunity to speak on education,  health and wellness issues.

The trip also included such  tourist events as visits to historical landmarks and museums, plus a  nonworking chance to send time with Nelson Mandela, a meeting that Mrs.  Obama described as “surreal.” The trip ended with a private family  safari at a South African game reserve before the group returned to  Washington on June 27.

“This trip was as much an opportunity  for the Obama family to go on a safari as it was a trip to conduct  government business,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This  junket wasted tax dollars and the resources of our overextended  military. No wonder we had to sue to pry loose this information.”

Previously, Judicial Watch uncovered that the First Couple’s 2009  “date night” trip to New York for dinner and a Broadway show cost  taxpayers over $11,000 in Secret Service costs alone.

Updated 10/4/11: This post has been updated to include a White House response Corrected on 10/5/11: An earlier version of this article’s headline misstated the cost of a Michelle Obama’s trip to Africa. The trip cost at least $424,142.

The President of Contempt

The President of Contempt

To Barack Obama, America is lovable in proportion to the love it gives him in return.


Nixon was tricky. Ford was clumsy. Carter was dour. Reagan was sunny. Bush 41 was prudent. Clinton felt your pain. Bush 43 was stubborn. And Barack Obama is . . .

Early in America’s acquaintance with the man who would become the 44th president, the word that typically sprang from media lips to describe him was “cool.”

Cool as a matter of fashion sense—”Who does he think he is, George Clooney?” burbled the blogger Wonkette in April 2008. Cool as a matter of political temperament—”Maybe after eight years of George W. Bush stubbornness, on the heels of eight years of Clinton emotiveness, we need to send out for ice,” approved USA Today’s Ruben Navarrette that October. Cool as a matter of upbringing—Indonesia, apparently, is “where Barack learned to be cool,” according to a family friend quoted in a biography of his mother.

The Obama cool made for a reassuring contrast with his campaign’s warm-and-fuzzy appeals to hope, change and being the ones we’ve been waiting for. But as the American writer Minna Antrim observed long ago, “between flattery and admiration there often flows a river of contempt.” When it comes to Mr. Obama, boy does it ever.

We caught flashes of the contempt during the campaign. There were those small-town Midwesterners who, as he put it at a San Francisco fund-raiser, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who are not like them.” There were those racist Republicans who, as he put it at a Jacksonville fund-raiser, would campaign against him by asking, “Did I mention he’s black?” There was the “you’re likable enough, Hillary,” line during a New Hampshire debate. But these were unscripted digressions and could be written off as such.


Only after Mr. Obama came to office did it start to become clear that contempt would be both a style and method of his  governance. Take the “mess we have inherited” line, which became the administration’s ring tone for its first two years.

“I have never seen anything like the mess we have inherited,” said the late Richard Holbrooke—a man with memories of what Nixon inherited in Vietnam from Johnson—about Afghanistan in February 2009. “We are cleaning up something that is—quite simply—a mess,” said the president the following month about Guantanamo. “Let’s face it, we inherited a mess,” said Valerie Jarrett about the economy in March 2010.

For presidential candidates to rail against incumbents from an opposing party is normal; for a president to rail for years against a predecessor of any party is crass—and something to which neither Reagan nor Lincoln, each of them inheritors of much bigger messes, stooped.

Then again, the contempt Mr. Obama felt for the Bush administration was merely of a piece with the broader ambit of his disdain. Examples? Here’s a quick list:

The gratuitous return of the Churchill bust to Britain. The slam of the Boston police officer who arrested Henry Louis Gates. The high-profile rebuke of the members of the Supreme Court at his 2010 State of the Union speech. The diplomatic snubs, petty as well as serious, of Gordon Brown, Benjamin Netanyahu and Nicolas Sarkozy. The verbal assaults on Wall Street “fat cats” who “caused the problem” of “10% unemployment.” The never-ending baiting of millionaires and billionaires and jet owners and everyone else who, as Black Entertainment Television’s Robert Johnson memorably put it on Sunday, “tried rich and tried poor and like rich better.”

Now we come to the last few days, in which Mr. Obama first admonished the Congressional Black Caucus to “stop complainin’, stop grumblin’, stop cryin’,” and later told a Florida TV station that America was losing its competitive edge because it “had gotten a little soft.” The first comment earned a rebuke from none other than Rep. Maxine Waters, while the second elicited instant comparisons to Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech. They tell us something about the president’s political IQ. They tell us more about his world view.

What is it that Mr. Obama doesn’t like about the United States—a country that sent him hurtling like an American Idol contestant from the obscurity of an Illinois Senate seat to the presidency in a mere four years?

I suspect it’s the same thing that so many run-of-the-mill liberals dislike: Americans typically believe that happiness is an individual pursuit; we bridle at other people setting limits on what’s “enough”; we enjoy wealth and want to keep as much of it as we can; we don’t like trading in our own freedom for someone else’s idea of virtue, much less a fabricated concept of the collective good.

When a good history of anti-Americanism is someday written, it will note that it’s mainly a story of disenchantment—of the obdurate and sometimes vulgar reality of the country falling short of the lover’s ideal. Listening to Mr. Obama, especially now as the country turns against him, one senses in him a similar disenchantment: America is lovable exactly in proportion to the love it gives him in return.

Hence his increasingly ill-concealed expressions of contempt. Hence the increasingly widespread counter-contempt.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com

White House very nervous about coverage of Fast and Furious

White House very nervous about coverage of Fast and Furious

Rick Moran

This has become an extremely
sensitive issue at the White House and for good reason; Holder may have been
caught in a lie in his testimony before Congress.

Note: Congressional perjury usually
sends the transgressor to jail.

A CBS reporter, Sharyl Atkisson,
told Laura Ingraham (via Weekly

Ingraham: So they were literally
screaming at you?
Attkisson: Yes. Well the DOJ woman was just yelling at me.
The guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed
at me. [Laura: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?]
Eric Schultz. Oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler, she
was yelling not screaming. And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at
the White House.”

Finally, Attkisson notes that the
White House is claiming that a thorough investigation of the scandal is

[The White House and Justice
Department] will tell you that I’m the only reporter–as they told me–that is
not reasonable. They say the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is
reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this
is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing

For Watergate buffs, that sounds
eerily like the advice given to Ben Bradlee by the Nixon White House. Press
Secretary Ron Zeigler angrily called Bradlee, executive editor at the time, and
complained that no one else in the country was worried about this break in story
except the Post. If history is any guide, and I were CBS, I would redouble my
efforts to get to the bottom of this story.

Republicans have
for a special prosecutor and they will probably get it. But Holder is
smart enough to know his orders without asking; stall, stonewall, obstruct as
much as possible, as long as possible, in order to drag the investigation out
beyond the election.

See also: Fast
and Furious: Let It Bleed