On Election night 2008, the United States media and talking heads were in a drunken state. Even the staff of VUI got it that night when an African American was elected President of the United States. People were filled with hope. People believed that things would be different. Black, white, rich and poor, the rock star status of President Obama made people think that things would change.
Change did not happen. The President remains a rock star. There is not doubt that the United States electing an African American President of the United States changed the political game. However, over two years into the Obama Presidency, the hangover is taking full effect for Americans of all ilk.
For those on the political left, President Obama has let them down by continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Bush tax cuts. For those on the right, President Obama is hindering business with his Administration’s huge deficits and regulation changes. For average Americans who do not consider themselves right or left, making ends meet continues to be difficult with continued high unemployment rates and the rising costs of health care, food and fuel. Add to that the fact that the Obama Administration seems woefully inept, right or left, in dealing with unrest around the world that affects American interests.
If you doubt the Obama Hangover, just look at the polling numbers. Real Clear Politics is one of the most reliable indicators of American political opinion. When President Obama was three weeks into to office, they had his approval rating at nearly 66 percent. However, for the past 14 months, the President has been below 50 percent, with his latest rating being 48 percent. During that 14 month span, Democrats lost their supermajority in the United States Senate and lost control of the United States House of Representatives.
When unreasonable great expectations are present, it is only natural that reality turns those unreasonable expectations to almost unreasonable disapproval and disappointment. Frankly put, VUI has always contended that the Presidency of the United States modifies any decent man who takes the job. While VUI vigorously disagrees with the economic politics of President Obama on a number of levels, it must be noted that President Obama had to stick with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and that any President would seem overwhelmed by the events unfolding in the Middle East. Ronald Reagan had it right when he called Middle Eastern factions irrational and impossible to cut a deal with.
Yet there are two factors working against President Obama. One is his left of mainstream approach to problems that seems out of touch with most Americans and the out of mainstream folks he surrounds himself with. The second is the expectations of the people in regards to Obama. Working folks out there still hurting who voted for him thought that they were getting another FDR, or even a Bill Clinton. Instead, they seem to have a Jimmy Carter with celebrity status. Thus, the Obama Hangover is in full effect. When the President takes Air Force One for a spin to take his wife for a “date” in New York, or worries about the NCAA basketball selection, it is no longer cute to Joe Sixpack who can’t pay his mortgage because he can’t find a job.
Obama does have one thing going for him. We are only nine months removed from Presidential primaries, and no Democrat seems strong enough to challenge him for his party’s nomination and no Republican lurks out there like Reagan did in 1979. That said, if the hangover continues to grow, someone will emerge, in both parties. Look for President Obama to have a challenge in the Democratic primaries and look for a Republican to emerge “out of nowhere” who can challenge the President. After all, if there is anything that Americans love more than elevating a rock star, it is tearing him down.