Obama: America’s Second Teflon President?
by Stephen Lendman
New poll numbers show recent scandals haven’t hurt his approval rating.
According to a CNN/ORC International survey, 53% of Americans approve his job as president. Another 45% disapprove.
Throughout much of his tenure, he hovered around 50%. According to Gallup, he scored highest from January 22 – 24, 2009 at 69%.
At 38%, he scored lowest from October 15 – 17, 2011. His average approval from January 20, 2009 to the present is 49%.
From 1938 – 2013, the average for US presidents is 54%. After his November 2012 reelection, Obama’s approval rating was 52%.
George W. Bush’s average second term rating was 37%. His low point was 25%. He left office at 33%. Obama exceeded the worst of his policies. With three and a half years left, he may outdo the enormous harm he’s done. What’s ongoing now suggests it.
No matter. Around half the country supports him. Why people do they’ll have to explain. He betrayed his loyal constituents. He did so across the board. He broke every major pledge. He proved he can’t be trusted.
He proved George Bernard Shaw right, saying:
“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few.”
He’s responsible for more harm than history’s worst despots. He’s reigned terror at home and abroad.
He’s waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He plans more. He wrecked the economy. He looted the nation’s wealth. He consigned growing millions to impoverishment without jobs.
He force-feeds austerity when stimulus is needed. He wants America’s social contract destroyed. He’s mindless of human pain, suffering and need.
He partners with Israel’s worst crimes. He’s waging war on humanity. He’s beholden to monied interests. They own him. Wealth, privilege, power and unchallenged global dominance alone matter.
He spurns rule of law principles and other democratic values. He considers whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, animal rights activists, and friends of the earth domestic terrorists.
He institutionalized homeland spying more aggressively than George Bush. He’s waging war on organized labor, public education, Net Neutrality, small farmers, merchants and shopkeepers, people most disadvantaged, free expression and other constitutional rights.
He hardened Bush’s homeland police state apparatus. He’s heading America for full-blown tyranny and ruin. Those he hurt most remain some of his most loyal supporters. They’ll have to explain why.
Reagan was America’s first teflon president. In his book titled “On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency,” Mark Hertsgaard explained how.
Scandals during his tenure never stuck. The media gave him a pass. They supported his “Mr. nice guy image.” His first term deputy chief of staff, Michael Deaver, said:
“Ronald Reagan enjoyed the most generous treatment by the press of any president in the postwar era. He knew it, and liked the distinction.
Supporters admired his persona, popularity, and how he made Americans feel good about themselves again.
They praised his position on big issues. They claimed his presidency and leadership made America a better country.
On June 14, 2004, Time magazine said:
“(T)he Reagan years were another of those hinges upon which history sometimes turns.”
“On one side, a wounded but still vigorous liberalism with its faith in government as the answer to almost every question.”
“On the other, a free market so triumphant – even after the tech bubble burst – that we look first to ‘growth,’ not government, to solve most problems.”
On June 9, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) headlined “Reagan: Media Myth and Reality,” saying:
“As the media spend the week memorializing Ronald Reagan, journalists are redefining the former president’s life and accomplishments with a stream of hagiographies that frequently skew the facts and gloss over scandal and criticism.”
Exaggeration, overstatement, and misinformation substituted for hard facts. Critical voices were silenced. Reagan revisionism rewrote history.
Scandals didn’t stick. He outdid George Washington. He couldn’t tell a lie or the truth. He couldn’t tell the difference between the two. He coasted through most of his second term.
Critics couldn’t lay a glove on him. Former congresswoman Pat Schroeder coined the term teflon. She did so while cooking eggs in a teflon pan.
Obama has a similar quality. Criticism largely doesn’t stick. He promised to restore faith and trust to government. He made it Nixonian again. Denigrators can’t convince most people it’s so.
He’s a smooth-talking con man. Like the comic book Superman hero, he’s faster than his detractors. He’s more powerful than truth and full disclosure. He’s leaps past efforts to discredit him.
Scandals haven’t dented his approval rating. Supporters ignore the worst of his record. It’s in plain sight. It’s sanitized. His handlers make it disappear. So do media defenders. His rhetoric works best of all.
He convinces people that imperial wars are liberating ones. Terrorism is what they do, not us. Freedom depends on suppressing it. Bailing out Wall Street lifts all boats. So does thirdworldizing America.
He matched Star Trek. He went where no administration went before. He sold millions on shared sacrifice. He wants them sacrificed. Doing so gives rich elites more to share.
Most people are distracted. They’re over-entertained and uninformed. They haven’t a clue. They’re out of touch. They don’t understand what harms them. They ignore their own welfare.
Some perhaps don’t care. Others are dismissive. They know more about bread and circuses than vital major issues affecting them.
Obama takes full advantage. He governs lawlessly. He convinces people might is right. He’s money power’s point man. He dismisses popular needs. They’ve gone begging on his watch.
He mocks legitimate governance. It’s the American way. He reflects its dark side. It doesn’t matter. He retains popular support.
With three and a half years to go, maybe it’ll wane. If past is prologue, perhaps he’ll complete eight years unscathed. He largely managed so far. Obama revisionism may follow. Reinventing history works.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.