Few would argue that Barack Obama has been a particularly good president, and yet one of the oddest things about his polling is that people continue to view him favorably even as they report they think he's summoning our fiscal Ragnarok.
That likeability makes campaigning against him difficult. I recently interviewed some people who are working on a campaign issue against him and they said that their focus groups and polls showed that people were much more favorable to the conservative side if they didn't in any way personalize the issue or mention Obama's name.
So I found Peggy Noonan's column in the Wall Street Journal interesting. She says that those who aren't part of Obama's base are becoming more inclined to dislike him:
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.
She cites the incivility of the war he launched against the Catholic Church with his HHS mandate. When the targeted religious groups didn't take the mandate sitting down, he ratched things up by claiming these groups were declaring a war on women.
There was the "bush-league" plea for space from Russian pressure, the odd moment where Obama made the Trayvon Martin tragedy all about himself, and:
Now this week the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn't notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?
Noonan, while acknowledging that the Court could rule in different ways, says that it all just looks bad. We were in crisis when President Obama was inaugurated and he wasted precious time on legislation that could very well be unconstitutional.
So the relationship with people who don't faint at the sight of him has not improved, she says. As for the rest, she wonders whether the president has really forged any bonds with the American people. While they were focused on whether America would survive, he was focused on forcing through Congress a health care bill that all of his out-of-touch friends loved:
And so the relationship the president wanted never really knitted together. Health care was like the birth-control mandate: It came from his hermetically sealed inner circle, which operates with what seems an almost entirely abstract sense of America. They know Chicago, the machine, the ethnic realities. They know Democratic Party politics. They know the books they've read, largely written by people like them—bright, credentialed, intellectually cloistered. But there always seems a lack of lived experience among them, which is why they were so surprised by the town hall uprisings of August 2009 and the 2010 midterm elections.
At best, Obama has no meaningful relationship with portions of the electorate. At worst, that relationship is seriously souring.