Last week, President Obama delivered what analysts on both the left and right considered to be the most ideological case for expansive progressive governance in a generation. “I believe this is the most ‘progressive’ speech he’s ever given,” The Atlantic’s James Fallows approvingly tweeted. But are Americans listening? Is Obama convincing anyone?
Yes, Obama is a proven vote winner. His pop-culture rock star status motivated millions of young and minority voters to turn out and vote for him in two consecutive presidential elections. But while 51 percent of the 2008 electorate told exit pollsters that “Government should do more to solve problems” by 2012 that number had fallen to just 43 percent. In 2008, the percentage of voters who believed “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals” was just 43 percent. In 2012, that number rose to 51 percent. That is hardly a ringing endorsement for Obama’s progressive view of expansive government.
Now Pew has released a new study showing that American skepticism of the federal government is still growing. “As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms,” Pew reports.
Republicans, of course, lead the nation in government skepticism (70 percent see the federal government as a threat to their right), but both Democrats and Independents are souring too. Just two years ago only 50 percent of Independents said they believed the federal government threatened their freedom. Today 55 percent do.
Obama is, and may always be, personally popular. Americans do love him. But his progressive ideas about government are clearly less widely accepted.
In Other News
The New York Times, Senator Has Long Ties to Donor Under Scrutiny: Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., once steered $500 million in port security to the long-time Democratic donor now at the center of an F.B.I. investigation.
The Washington Post, VA study finds more veterans committing suicide: Every day about 22 veterans in the United States kill themselves, a rate that is about 20 percent higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2007 estimate, according to two-year study by a VA researcher.
Associated Press, Obama Campaign, DNC End Year in Debt: Campaign finance reports filed Thursday show Obama’s campaign ended the year with $5.8 million in debt while his party’s political arm, the DNC, owed $21.4 million.
Politico, RNC ends 2012 in the black: The Republican National Committee ended the 2012 presidential cycle in the black, the party announced Thursday. The committee ended the year with $4.7 million in cash on hand, and raised $378 million over the last two years.
Dylan Matthews on the continued failure of guest worker programs.
Benjy Sarlin on The 3 Fights That Could Wreck Immigration Reform
Jonathan Cohn worries about amnesty’s impact on Obamacare costs.
James Capretta and Jeffrey Anderson advise Republicans to pursue “Delay, Repeal, and Replace” on Obamacare.
Mark Krikorian flags Chuck Schumer statements directly contradicting Rubio’s claims that border security will be a trigger for citizenship and asks, “Will Rubio Pull Out of the Gang of Eight Now?”
Nicolas Loris reports on environmentalist efforts to stop U.S. coal exports.
Daniel Kessler on Obamacare’s broken promises.