POLITICS: Campaigns

Americans want change that works

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Barack Obama,Republican Party,2016 Elections,Campaigns,George W. Bush,Charles Hoskinson

There's a lot for Democrats to worry about in the results of a Pew survey released Monday, especially indications that the public mood is similar to that in 2006, the year they took control of Congress in midterm elections.

Though President Obama's job approval rating (44 percent) is higher than former President George W. Bush's was at the same point in his presidency (35 percent), nearly two-thirds of Americans said they want the next president to offer different programs and policies from Obama's -- nearly mirroring the 70 percent who said that in April 2006.

It's a stunning swing from the hope which gave Obama the presidency in 2008 — and an opportunity for Republicans, if they can take advantage of it. But they'll need a common agenda to do that — an agenda that focuses on getting things done, rather than just talking about them.

As GOP primary season begins, there are many contests pitting Tea Party candidates against those supported by the establishment, and the tensions are obvious, most recently in the immigration-reform/article/2547832">anger among conservatives over a speech on immigration by House Speaker John Boehner, whom many felt had mocked them. And immigration is just one of many issues where GOP lawmakers and candidates already can't agree on a common program.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni on Sunday lamented the pessimistic national mood, which he said has resulted in a "faded panorama of American possibility," after a decade of polls showing more Americans believe the nation to be on the wrong track than believe things are headed in the right direction.

Americans wanted change in 2008, and they got it — but it didn't work. Now they want another change.

What the Republicans need to do is make sure this one works.

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