Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barone on Long Term Success of Obama, Democrats

President Barack Obama told an audience in Fort Myers, Florida yesterday that if the stimulus package does not help to turn around the national economy, that he will be a one term President. According to the report (HT: Volunteer Voters), President Obama stated:

“If stuff hasn’t worked, if people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction then you’ll have a new president.”

Interestingly, in a speech I heard Monday in southern California, U.S. News and World Report writer and Fox News Analyst Michael Barone took the opposite view. Mr. Barone, while acknowledging that the President has had a couple of missteps in the first weeks of his administration, gently mocked conservatives ready to declare the President a failure after 20 days in office and suggested that Americans will be prone to give him the benefit of the doubt. In that regard, he compared the current President to John F. Kennedy, who was articulate, attractive and a "first." Kennedy was the first Catholic President. Mr. Barone noted that Kennedy's approval ratings held up even after some initial errors in his administration.

Mr. Barone also noted that support for President Obama might not translate into wider support for Democrats. He cited polling data showing that Mr. Obama won by holding together a diverse coalition representing the highest and lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder. Keeping that coalition together will be challenging for Democrats. In addition, even in 2008, many Obama voters split their tickets, voting Republican in congressional races.


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