Why is BHO at a 16-month high?

Gallup is having some difficulty figuring out why the President’s job approval  just hit a 16-Month High:

It’s often difficult to pinpoint why a president’s job approval rating goes up or goes down. The bin Laden raid was one of those times when the causal factor was pretty clear.

Now, it’s less clear. The proximate event that provides a reasonable or possible cause is Obama’s trip to Europe. The news coverage has been generally positive, with many pictures of the president appearing statesmanlike and in the company of Irish and British leaders. It’s possible as well that the tragic destruction and deaths caused by tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and elsewhere in the Midwest — and Obama’s pledge to visit Missouri this weekend upon his return from Europe — could be producing a rally effect of sorts.

At any rate, we’ll continue to monitor.

The supposition of a “rally” effect, similar to the one that may explain Israeli approval of Netanyahu rising to parallel approval levels, seems reasonable, though I suspect in Obama’s case it has less to do with “generally positive” news coverage, and even less than with a pledge to visit Missouri, than with the mere fact of the Europe trip – of the OBL-Slayer venturing forth amidst the unworthy furren multitudes.

The other thing that’s going on, I submit, may be buyer’s remorse over the Republican Congress and Tea Party conservatism.  The political debate over the Republican Budget and its “end of Medicare as we know it” appears to have been won decisively by the non-ideological conservatism of the public:  We think we’d like continuing to have our parents and eventually ourselves flowing into socialized medicine when most vulnerable.  My personal guess is that people would be willing to take a greater tax hit, and deal with other inconveniences and compromises, rather than try to figure out how Mom & Dad, or how they themselves, are supposed to spend a voucher in an ever-inflating private health insurance market.

Otherwise, conservatives in government seem to offer reflexive opposition to and exaggerated condemnation of the President, almost regardless of the issue, and beyond that blood, sweat, toil, and ever lower taxes for the wealthy.  To the extent that anyone beyond political junkies is even aware of Republican presidential candidates, they’re being exposed to… the Republican presidential candidates.


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4 comments on “Why is BHO at a 16-month high?

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  1. OBL dead after almost 10 years. Medicare as we know it
    threatened by Right Wing Social Engineering that now says that there should be no relief to Joplin beyond what’s budgeted unless there are (unspecified ie let the Dems come up with them because we can’t be bothered) offsets fall into a narrative that is just short of critical mass.

    The Reps seized on the 67 border thing to at least slow it down. Maybe – but there may be enough mideast and neocon fatigue in the general pop. so that it’s only a bump.

  2. It ain’t that Obama’s beloved, it’s just that it’s pretty clear that he’s not the lying, disloyal radical that they tried to paint him…and they’ve got no one better and nothing better to offer.

  3. Seeing how the trendline has gone down to the moment before we heard of Bin Laden’s ‘pining for the fjords, that would disprove your theory or something.

  4. @ miguel cervantes:
    Whose theory? Gallup expressed uncertainty. The identifiable OBLX bump had disappeared as of May 15th. In the longer view his app v dis numbers have been in a pretty tight range for quite some time… pretty trendless.

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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