Alex Castellanos looks at Obama's recent approval ratings; his prognosis: not good
Castellanos: Everywhere you walk, Mr. President, the world unravels
He says that if Obama were a car manufactured by GM, he'd be recalled for defects
Editor’s Note: Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, is the founder of Purple Strategies and NewRepublican.org. You can follow him on Twitter @alexcast. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
As we head into Father’s Day, I wanted to reveal a little secret for all the fathers who are doing their best to be great dads and great men.
As painful as it is to note, your presidency has not yet hit bottom. You’ve got a long way to go in your descent.
Everywhere you walk, Mr. President, the world unravels. Americans are whispering that each political missile you fire seems to hit not its target but our own house.
You have undone the core idea you’ve advanced, that a larger public sector can save us. You are becoming the one-man Keystone Cops of an experiment in weakness and incompetent government.
Your Veterans Administration is a dysfunctional mess. Some veterans who have lived through war have not survived contact with your VA.
Your immigration agents are changing diapers and crying for fresh underwear for detained immigrants awaiting deportation. Your IRS has been accused of targeting political opponents, and your best defense is their ineptitude: They lose their e-mails and files.
Your own signature initiative, the Affordable Care Act, has turned on you. You’ve repeatedly delayed and altered the law, gluing and taping together, on the fly, the health care of an anxious nation.
Your Supreme Court is telling you to read the manual that came with your office: You are not allowed to run a Nixonian presidency. In three years, you’ve suffered numerous humiliating and unanimous reversals of your executive authority.
You are protected by the thinly manned barricades of an attorney general who refuses to investigate misconduct in your executive offices. Four out of five Americans believe the government you would like to expand is corrupt, a view that is a 7-point increase from the last year of the Bush administration.
You are fortunate you cannot be impeached because of the cost to our exhausted, divided country. If you were a car manufactured by GM, not the president who bailed it out, you would be recalled for your defects.
In foreign affairs, you have undone one of the great accomplishments of the 20th century: You have resuscitated the Soviet Union. A two-bit KGB thug named Putin has been kicking sand in the face of your country. In the absence of American leadership, the Middle East has devolved into chaos, and you are reduced to unpalatable choices: Either you negotiate with our Iranian enemies or abandon our allies, if we still have any, to jihadist wildfires that threaten Israel’s borders and set desert sands aflame.
Young people who voted for you to earn a better life than their parents are now living with their parents. Our nation has the lost the hope you promised us. We fear our freedom is in decline: A 48% plurality feel our best days are in the past.
Even the one thing you have been good at, Mr. President – politics – has abandoned you. You have now been reduced to pathetically small political “listening tours.” Even on such an inconsequential stage, you are tone-deaf, incapable of striking the right chords: You tell your audiences you are there to tell them that you are listening.
You have always been more popular than your policies.
Despite your stumbling, we have loved your bright smile and intellectual aura. But now, we are beginning to notice; you laugh too hard at your own jokes.
Behind the smile, we see an ego inflated beyond merit. Your intellectual detachment, we now find, was merely cluelessness. The distance between what you’ve promised and done has grown too large for us to blame anyone else.
Is this as bad as it can get? Actually, no, Mr. President. The road ahead is worse for you.
Even your supporters will soon say publicly what we are all thinking privately. In days to come, it will become increasingly cool to snicker and then laugh at your presidency.
Disagreement is not the cruelest cut in politics; it is ridicule.
Politicians who have survived everything else are done in ultimately by laughter. The gristliest moment for an incumbent is not when voters express their anger. There is respect, even in those dark days. What an incumbent never wants to hear from a voter is pity. Your worst day will be when a voter says, “Poor President Obama. He’s done the best he can.”
When that day comes, Mr. President, your favorable rating will crash another 10 points into the basement. Democratic candidates will not only ignore you, as they now do, they will turn on you.
Hillary Clinton will betray you. That will start a war within your party as candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Jerry Brown rush to defend you. If they depose the Clintons, mere anarchy will be loosed upon the Democratic world.
At this moment, our emperor is naked, but no one has yet said it publicly. That will change soon.
Conventional thinking is that every race in every campaign cycle comes with a debate between the candidates. An increasingly informed, technoliterate electorate threatens to make debates an endangered species, however. In a few cases, at least, that’s for the best.