Obama at year end

An article in the Herald:

When the Nobel peace prize committee awarded President Barack Obama the ultimate accolade, its members can never have imagined that his acceptance speech would set out an eloquent defence of war.

His speech in Oslo could have been delivered by George W. Bush, when Obama spoke of “evil” in the world and of reserving “the right to act unilaterally”.

I bet you they still cheered wildly though.

He offered an outstretched hand to Iran and North Korea, instead of the fist of his predecessor, Bush. But now the talk is of “crippling sanctions” as the Iranian authorities continue to ratchet up their nuclear defiance.

Welcome to the real world.

He disappointed human rights advocates by not standing up to China and for hesitating too long before expressing support for the demonstrators in Iran.

Gay rights campaigners point out he has not yet fulfilled his campaign promise to welcome gay men and women into the military.

His pledge to close Guantanamo by the end of the year is proving complicated to implement.

Rhetoric vs reality

Obama’s approval rating in the polls now stands at 47 per cent.

It is the worst poll rating for any American President since Truman at this stage in the presidency.

Is this the case? Let’s check.

  1. George W Bush 86%
  2. John Kennedy 77%
  3. George H W Bush 71%
  4. Lyndon Johnson 70%
  5. Dwight Eisenhower 69%
  6. Richard Nixon 59%
  7. Jimmy Carter 57%
  8. Bill Clinton 54%
  9. Gerald Ford 52%
  10. Ronald Reagan 49%
  11. Harry Truman 49%

So in fact at 47% it would be below every modern President.

Now again there is a long way to go before the election, and Reagan, Truman and Clinton all won second terms. But this presidency is certainly no JFK and Camelot.

But the 2010 mid-terms are looking to be fascinating. The Republicans now lead on the generic congressional poll by 43% to 41%. However they have large internal rifts and many of their more electable candidates may not win the primaries.

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