The Sunday morning talk shows today were dripping with blood and venom. Obama's blood and GOP venom. George Will and his ilk were having a high old time, all puffed up with self-righteousness and scarcely suppressed glee. Even the normally less excitable Peggy Noonan was wriggling with indignation, still wedded to her outrageous assertion this past week that the current IRS frufah is "the worst thing since Watergate". She and George Will and the other GOP talkers are absolutely confident that Obama is toast. Off-camera Michele Bachmann is tootling "Impeachment Is A-Coming".
In reality it appears they are all paddling upstream and not getting anywhere. So far at least, the public is not buying into the notion that Obama and his White House are Nixonian. Keep in mind that Nixon and his pals were accused of criminal acts for which twenty-five of them went to jail. But the public today knows there's no criminal conspiracy in the White House. Obama is an honest man. Not a whiff of Watergate. In fact, au contraire, mon frere!
Reassuringly, Obama's approval rating is currently 53%, according to a CNN poll just released. That's UP two points since the last CNN poll. Of course everyone is quick to say the modest gain is within the statistical margin of error. Except two other polls also show the 2% gain. What must also be noted is that his disapproval rate fell 5 points between the current CNN poll (45%) and one in March (50%), giving Obama a net gain of ll% if we look all the way back to March. But the real point is that he is doing fine at 53%. Just as he was with 51% in the prior CNN poll. Anything over 50% is dear to the heart of a sitting president, especially in the second term when lots of the freshness has worn off his presidency. The bottom line here is that people like Obama, and they don't think he's a crook or a screw-up.
The Republicans never get this through their heads, that people truly like Obama. They couldn't believe he was winning last year. Peggy Noonan and company at one point were pinning their hopes on the belief they were seeing more Romney lawn signs than those for Obama. Oh, babe, that is so dumb. So now they see Obama sinking fast because somebody somewhere in government screwed up. Like, what else is new? Somebody somewhere is always screwing up!
In Reagan's presidency a whole barracks full of Marines got blown up in Lebanon. Did Ronnie get impeached? No. People liked Reagan.
In Clinton's presidency he disgraced the Oval Office with his zipper problem. Did he get convicted upon impeachment? Did his popularity drop? No. He was acquitted in the Senate, his popularity remained high throughout, and the GOP took a bath in the next Congressional election. People liked Clinton.
JFK blew it badly with the Bay of Pigs, buying into a CIA invasion scenario that made Wile E. Coyote look, by comparison, like George Patton. Did the public round on JFK for being a greenhorn dupe? Nope. People liked JFK.
So far, it's three up and three down for the GOP. They can find nothing to link Obama to any "cover-up" in the Libya attack. They can't even find a cover-up, and about half of those polled who think there is a cover-up in the Libya matter can't find Libya on a map. (I kid you not.) They also can't connect Obama to the Justice Department gathering of AP phone records because the law prohibits any such connection. And they have found nothing to connect Obama with the cloddish IRS practices in Cincinnati. In fact, a report by the Inspector General says there is no such evidence nor any evidence of any political influence from outside the IRS.
So what does the GOP say in the absence of evidence of anything? It says, "We are not through investigating." (They've been investigating the Libya deal for a longer span than its revolution lasted!)
So there goes immigration reform. There goes tax reform. There goes infrastructure building. There goes job creation. There goes environmental and education improvements. There goes a "grand bargain" re the budget. There will instead be three years of GOP Congressional investigations even though it's pretty obvious that there is no there there on the three issues.
Meantime, the economy is picking up some surprising steam. The job picture is suddenly looking better. Consumer confidence just did a jump. The stock market is at a record high. New controls on Wall Street have just been promulgated, including regulation of derivatives. The deficit just surprised the hell out of everybody by looking like it's going to drop 25% more than was expected. And housing prices and housing starts are a-blooming. Baseball season is purring along, and winter has finally left the northeast.
So smell the flowers and smile at the daft GOP. They were the ones who needed to make a legislative record before 2014. They are still perceived as a do-nothing Congress. And by their own self-analysis they needed that immigration reform bill in order to cuddle up to Latinos. Instead they will still be plowing the old investigative fields of "Get Obama".
Some folks never learn.