Are you taking an out-of-state summer vacation?|
Story Archives: The president's Machiavellian malaise
|The president's Machiavellian malaise|
It was interesting to see pictures of President Obama going for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend in an effort to keep his head above water with sinking poll numbers.
It didn't help him.
Over the last few weeks, Obama's overall approval ratings have hovered in the low 40 percentials in several polls showing his biggest dips in numbers coming from losing favor with independent voters.
In 2008, 52 percent of independents backed Obama over the hapless John McCain, but a new Associated Press-GfK poll taken over the weekend shows only 32 percent of voters who do not declare themselves either Republicans or Democrats now say they support him and don't want Democrats to keep control of Congress.
Pundits and pollsters will tell you that as the economy goes so goes the popularity of the president, but I think there is something more at work with Obama.
Could it be that he is really not the Machiavellian marvel we were led to believe he was early on?
I remember watching Dick Morris, a former pollster who worked as an advisor to Bill Clinton, on televison predict early in Obama's presidency that he would soon become "radioactive" to other Democrats and they would try hard to distance himself from them.
I doubted Morris at the time.
Obama —a good looking, well spoken man— seemed to work as a balm to eyes and ears that had strained through eight weary years of George W. Bush.
While I disagreed with almost everything Obama said, at least I could agree that he said them well.
He still speaks well, but actions speak louder than words.
It doesn't take much smarts to see that Obama hasn't been very smart in dealing with the public perception over his concern about the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of it being hit with the biggest environmental mess in U.S. history.
There are even questions over whether his weekend photo-op swim was actually a swim in the Gulf.
The swim that Obama and his daughter, Sasha, took to show the world that the water is safe was reportedly off Alligator Point in St Andrews Bay, near Panama City.
The bay— far removed from Louisiana beleaguered coast— is a small, freshwater lagoon that doesn't belong to the Gulf.
If the president wanted to make a point by a swim in the Gulf, why not do so at Grand Isle instead of St Andrews Bay?
It would have made a great photo and might have even helped rev up tourism in a place that could really use a boost right now.
What made even less sense than Obama's swim is Michelle Obama's recent lavish vacation at a five-star hotel in Marbella, Spain.
Marie Antoinette never had it so good.
The vacation was the second she has taken since the oil spill. The first, which was taken with her husband and family in July, came on the heels of her making an ad inviting tourist to "come on down" to the Gulf on vacation.
The Obama family, however, decided not to "come on down" and instead went on up to holiday in a national park in Maine.
This Thursday the Obama's are scheduled to set off on another vacation —10 days in Martha's Vineyard on our dime.
Again, it's not helpful for the public to watch the Obama family living it up with another vacation on tax payer money when unemployment has risen to nearly 10 percent since he has become president.
Before Obama takes a plunge off a Massachusetts beach, here is a life-line for his sinking poll numbers:
"Come on down" to Louisiana and vacation, Mr. President.
Sure, we voted 56 percent for McCain in 2008, but that shouldn't matter. You are our president and you are supposed to be big enough to not let something like that deter you.
While you are down here, you can make you stay even sweeter by announcing that you have decided to lift the off-shore drilling moratorium.
After all, your wife has to have something to fuel Air Force Two on her next trip to Spain.