It has undoubtedly been a year from hell for President Obama, who has literally been at war with congressional Republicans over how to repair the nation’s economy and create jobs. He’s also received criticism from Democrats, including several members of the ever-loyal Congressional Black Caucus, who’ve accused him of not fighting hard enough for middle- and low-income Americans and being to conciliatory to GOP lawmakers. The result has been historically low job approval ratings any politician seeking re-election would dread and that conjure up flashbacks of former president Jimmy Carter’s failed re-election bid.
That may be changing. According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, 49 percent of voters now trust Obama to solve the nation’s problems, up from 44 percent in March. Seventy-two percent of the people who said they approve of the way the president is handling his job are “non-white” compared to 40 percent of whites. In addition, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll also gives Obama a 49 percent approval rating.
Since the summer, the president has taken tough stance on the economy, introducing the American Jobs Act and publically challenging Republican lawmakers to explain to the public why they’re for tax cuts and other benefits for the wealthy, but appear to balk at measures designed to help the middle class and unemployed. As the year draws to a close, Obama and House Republicans are once again at a standoff over a short-term extension of a payroll tax cut and federal unemployment benefits, and he’s not backing down, going so far as to delay his trip to join his family in Hawaii for the holidays.
House and Senate Republicans have in the past been remarkably united in their efforts to obstruct Obama’s economic proposals, but cracks are starting to appear. On the Senate side at least, it’s every man for himself, as several lawmakers voted for the plan instead of going home for Christmas to explain to constituents in an election year why their paychecks could be $40 short come January.
Now the question is: Will Obama’s hard stance widen those emerging cracks, which could help him soar to victory in November 2012 and perhaps even carry House and Senate Democrats on his coattails?
According to the conservative Wall Street Journal it could happen.
In a scathing editorial today editors wrote, “Given how [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the president before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”
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