Has the political pendulum ever swung so quickly from one side to the other?
Less than two years after President Obama took office with an overall approval rating rating of 65%, that number has fallen to 46%. Even more telling is the intensity factor in Presidential ratings — that is, ignoring the "somewhat approve" and "somewhat disapprove" numbers and looking only at those who say that they "strongly approve" or "strongly disapprove." Scott Rasmussen's website, Rasmussen.com, has a daily poll that measures Presidential approval, so the trends are easy to observe. If you net the positives against the negatives, you can see whether those who strongly approve outweigh those who strongly disapprove, or vice versa. Two days after his inauguration, he enjoyed a strongly approve number of 44 percent against only 14 who strongly disapproved, for a net of plus 30. That number steadily declined until June, when it crossed into negative territory. By December of 2009, it had reached minus 20 points. That's an astonishing 50 point swing in less than one year. It has remained in negative territory ever since, with another peak at minus 21 in March of this year, when the health care takeover bill was signed.
How does a President lose so much support so quickly? The suggestion from several pundits on the left like Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Maureen Dowd that racial prejudice is at the root of it seems to me clearly invalid. After all, the same survey showed an overwhelming support of plus 31 points for the president less than two years ago. Was that support also racist? You can't have it both ways.
No, the only clear explanation for this precipitous drop is that the President did not follow through on his promises to bring about hope and change through a post-partisan approach to politics, and instead embarked on a course of ramming radical programs through Congress taking ruthless advantage of his party's majorities and freezing Republicans out of the legislative process as much as possible. When we conservatives use the term "arrogance" to describe such tactics, we are once again accused of racism, so let me propose another term which may capture what I think is happening even better than "arrogance." That word is "contempt." President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all display contempt for the American people when they ignore the voters who elected them in the first place. It should come as no surprise that their party paid a heavy price at the polls in November for this showing of contempt for the citizens of our country.
The challenge now will be to see if the new vanguard of Republican Members of Congress and the Senate will heed those voters who elected them to clean up the ever-increasing spending and deficits. New members of the House of Representatives like Allen West and Kristi Noem are worth watching, as are incoming Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee. If they really understand what the Tea Party represents and what forces in the American electorate propelled them into office, they'll take seriously their new positions. They'll break with the traditions of the House and Senate to spend one or two terms being seen but not heard, and instead join with such spending hawks as Michele Bachmann and Mike Pence and aggressively lead the effort to rein in the growth of government. They'll look at The Heritage Foundation's recently-released "A Conservative's New Year's Resolution" and commit themselves to it. Here's the heart of that resolution:
Standing firmly on principles, conservatives can push for repealing ObamaCare, rein in government spending and regulations stop all tax hikes and return power to the people by getting control of the federal government.
They should be commended for having run on the issue of accountability — but now they must expect to be held accountable. However hard their campaigns might have been, they were pieces of cake compared to how hard it will be to tame the leviathan we know as the Federal government. But the American people will settle for nothing less.
This has been Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring for American Radio Journal. Please visit us on the web at LetFreedomRingUSA.com. And Happy New Year!