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Media Elites (and the World) Continue to Cool on Obama

Frank Bruni has joined the ranks of New York Times columnists like Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd in an outbreak of synchronized finger wagging at the President. Obama still seems Lincolnian to them; only now the Times is beginning to treat Obama much the same way the New York World treated Abe. (Hint: It wasn’t a friendly dynamic.)

Bruni notes that Obama’s recent anti-Romney ads attacking private equity came off as “a steady blast of negativity from a president who once positioned himself as a transformational figure—and a transcendent one”:

Now he finds himself mired in a tedious, dispiriting back-and-forth. Romney charges that the economy is worse than Obama is willing to acknowledge; Obama says it’s not as bad as Romney maintains and a whole lot better than it might have been.

They squabble over pejoratives. They tussle over gradations of distress. And while they pay too little attention to grand visions, their aides work overtime on gaffe patrol. Pettiness is pessimism’s flower.

Bruni may not be the last Times writer to join the new Skeptic’s Club, if only because the Grey Lady’s columnists’ newfound disappointment in the President is in step with world opinion. According to a recent international poll, Obama’s approval rating in countries across the world is dropping:

Among five European countries surveyed both in 2009 and 2012, approval of Mr Obama’s international policies dropped from 78% to 63%. In five Muslim countries surveyed in both years, the approval rate dropped from 34% to 15%. Russia also joined the countries with double-digit declines, from 40% of respondents approving US international policies to 22%, an 18% decrease.

Next to climate change and the Mideast peace process, the administration’s drone strikes have shattered the President’s favorable record in both Europe and the Muslim world.

Obama has had a rough week. Romney is gaining on him in the polls, with good reason. The economic situation in the U.S. has not improved the way Obama suggested it would during his first term. If domestic and world opinion continue to turn against Obama, we could see a very tight race in November.

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  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    Right now I see Obama as a corporate shill. And he’s not very good at it. They are abandoning him for a better one. I hope Romney double crosses them.

  • Snorri Godhi

    “Next to climate change and the Mideast peace process, the administration’s drone strikes have shattered the President’s favorable record in both Europe and the Muslim world.”

    I don’t know about the Muslim world, but you seem to be out of touch with European public opinion.

    What about appeasing Putin and stabbing Poland and the Czech Republic in the back?
    (I am overstating this for emphasis.)

    What about urging Merkel to spend more money?
    What about the various humiliations that the Brits have had to endure?

    Not that Obama’s image is uniformly negative: the Greeks and Spaniards are likely to look at his fiscal policy with approval, for instance.

  • Anthony

    Perhaps WRM, for many the reality has not measured up to the expectation; and add economic anxiety to mix you then conflate disappointment with economic angst – election, barring unknown unknown, will be close.

  • Kenny

    Ah, their affirmative action baby is blowing up in their face.

  • thibaud

    A lot of this is because Romney’s moved to the center and is explicitly rejecting starve-the-beast, TP wackiness.

    Based on Carville and Greenberg’s insights from their test-drives with four focus groups in OH and PA recently, I would expect Team Obama to start improving its game here and focus the discussion on a very simple question for Romney:

    Do you or do you not support Paul Ryan and the TPers’ proposal to slash funding for programs that help millions of Americans in distress now?

    The Mitt Romney interviewed in TIME would say, “Of course not!”

    The Mitt Romney who speaks to TP and GOP audiences Romney would say, “Heck yeah!

    Which is the real Mitt Romney? Is he a Tea Partier or a Keynesian?

  • Kris

    “If domestic and world opinion continue to turn against Obama, we could see a very tight race in November.”

    Barring significant developments, I would find a close outcome somewhat disheartening.

    Snorri@2, for some strange and unknown reason, I am reminded of the following exchange from Steven Pinker’s Words and Rules:

    Father: Where’s Mommy?
    Child: Mommy goed to the store?
    Father: Mommy goed to the store?
    Child: NO! [annoyed] Daddy, I say it that way, not you.

  • Jim.

    “If domestic and world opinion continue to turn against Obama, we could see a very tight race in November.”

    World opinion of Obama is largely irrelevant to his electoral chances.

    If domestic opinion continues to turn against him, we could see a Romney landslide in November.

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