Much of the president’s credibility problem, I believe, is based on the fact that he is African-American with a funny-sounding name.
October 6, 2010 — According to the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking poll for Tuesday the 5th of October, President Obama’s job approval rating shows that 30% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that he is doing his job. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11 (see trends). His index rating has been steadily declining since his inauguration. But why?
No, he hasn’t delivered all the change that he campaigned on. But, hey… he’s not yet half-way through his first term. Check-out PolitiFact.com’s ObamaMeter. He has tried to work with the minority party in Congress, which was one of his promises to the American people. But Republicans have been united in opposition to everything from health care reform, to stimulus spending, to consumer finance protection, to financial oversight, to tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, tax incentives for small businesses, and yes, cap-and-trade. Notwithstanding, he has accomplished a great deal and his expansionary economic policies have stopped the recession and started the economy growing again.
Yes, the recovery has been slow and largely a jobless one so far. But this has been because corporations are sitting on their wallets, slow to take advantage of the lowest interest rates for anything much other than buying back shares of corporate stock, which has the effect of driving up share prices. This is why the Dow and the S&P 500 are recovering faster than productivity. The same thing happened in Japan during the 1990s, which makes me wonder why the Fed hasn’t figured this out yet… Low interest rates will not, by themselves, stimulate job growth. Only demand for American-made products and services can do this. See my earlier posting, The Conservative Economist vs. the Liberal Economist.
The unemployment rate is still higher than anyone thought it would be by now. But the Rasmussen Employment
Confidence Index is higher now than it has been for two years, and there are plenty of other positive trends indicating that things are moving in the right direction. But the Republican propaganda machine has been very, very effective at spreading misinfor- mation, misinformation that fosters and foments hate and fear — this despite a plethora of facts that are readily available on-line, in periodicals, and on all the news networks (except Fox) that discredit the smear campaigns.
Americans’ opinions on the economy are improving too. According to a recent CBS News/ New York Times poll,
Americans are more optimistic about the future of the economy than they were last month. Forty-one percent of Americans now say the economy is improving, up eight points from April and more than at any time during this recession. Just 15 percent think the economy is getting worse, according to the poll. Even so, all the president got was a slight bump in his approval rating back in May.
I attribute the apparent dichotomy between the president’s approval rating and what’s really going on with the economy to ignorance, bigotry and gullibility. Much of the president’s credibility problem, I believe, is based on the fact that he is African-American with a funny-sounding name. These reasons, plus having had a father who was from Kenya has made him the target of an e-mail smear campaign. I get them and you probably do too if you spend any time corresponding with friends and family by e-mail and any of these people are associated in any way with the Tea Party, the religious right, or one of the many white supremacist groups in America, including a large number of resurging extremist militia groups.
FactCheck.org has responded to many many inquiries about chain e-mails (what I have called viral disinformation) and has concluded that the vast majority of them are categorically false or, at the very most, distorted half-truths. Should you get a chain e-mail forwarded to you and you wonder about its validity, go to http://www.factcheck.org/ask-factcheck/hot-topics/. You’ll probably find it or a version of it listed there with a link to full expose.
Please feel free to post a comment in response to this post, whether you agree or not.