17 March 2009

The Sheen comes off

This article is an interesting look at the approval ratings of the Obama administration relative to those of other administrations at this point in time. According to the authors, Obama is in a worse position than was George W. Bush. Although President Obama enjoys high likeability, the feeling about his performance is less accepting.

Why the disparity? Part of it probably is normal, with the "honeymoon" period ending. More of it is probably due to the political misfires of the new administration. Here are two notable examples:

  1. The tax problems of nominees. It's not that they necessarily have more tax issues or that the Senate Finance Committee is especially picky. As this article explains, it is that the Obama administration didn't think that it mattered. This betrays an arrogance that most Americans do not like. No one is so smart, experienced, or qualified that they are exempt from the laws imposed upon those they will serve. Double standards belong in aristocracies, not democratic republics.
  2. The Proposal to charge Veterans' private insurance for injuries and conditions resulting from their service. I appreciate the desire of the administration to cut costs, but they expect this measure to generate $540 million. That's an M, not a B. Congress put together an $800 BILLION stimulus package and $400 BILLION spending bill, and we can't find $540 MILLION to pay for veterans? From a political perspective it doesn't jive with the "I Support the Troops" mantra parroted by some Democrats. It also belies the nice little attempts to paint this administration as caring for military families. If they are smart they will drop this, and they are fortunate this has not gotten more broad coverage. Just to be fair, it is important to note that the administration intends to charge insurance companies and not the troops themselves, but this is not consistent with what the government has promised and will expose wounded warriors to hassles they simply don't deserve.

That last one makes me mad. We'll see if it goes away.

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