Joe Scarborough’s debut column for Politico isn’t very good:
My opponent’s misstep in 1994 may, in part, explain the biggest mystery surrounding Barack Obama: How did a president sitting at 70 percent in the polls manage to squander so much political capital and personal goodwill in just two years?
In 2008, Obama won with a huge wave of independent voters. In 2010, polls show independents leaving Democrats in droves.
In 2008, Obama impressed many Republicans I met on the campaign trail with his promise to bring a more mature, post-partisan style to Washington. In 2010, Gallup’s polls show him to be the most polarizing president in modern history.
I feel like I’ve written this post a dozen times, but for Obama’s falling popularity, the explanation is pretty straightforward; unemployment has rested at more than 9 percent for the better part of a year, and economic growth has been sluggish. People just aren't inclined to support the president when they fear for their jobs or can barely pay the mortgage.
As for the Republicans who have soured on Obama? The simple answer is that America is a partisan place, and the modern presidency is a polarizing thing. Indeed, partisan feelings develop whenever the president takes a stand, even when the issue is non-ideological. Outside of better economic growth, there’s not much the president can do to move public opinion in his direction. This is pretty basic stuff, but I’ll repeat it as long as Beltway prognosticators like Scarborough are paid to say wrong things.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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