Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Morning Plum

* Not surprisingly, the papers are filled this morning with leaks from inside the West Wing demonstrating how decisive Obama was in sacking Stanley McChrystal.

Yet in a case of less-than-ideal timing, a new national poll shows that public confidence in Obama's decisiveness and ability to handle a crisis has dropped sharply.

Here's what this disconnect adds up to: It's a reminder that even as the McChrystal firing was indeed a political masterstroke and displayed Obama at his best, there's still a ton of damage to undo. Obama's decisive action in sacking McChrystal made for good theater, and it was the right decision on substantive grounds.

But there's still an untold amount of work to be done. And the spill, which is almost certainly the main cause of Obama's difficulties, will continue to gush long after McChrystal has faded from the headlines.

* The leaks about Obama's swiftness in bringing down the ax on McChrystal are everywhere. The New York Times portrays Obama as "coldly decisive" and features Obama angrily reprimanding his national security team.

* The Post reveals Obama's "stern" private demeanor with aides. And Poltico portrays advisers scattering in the face of Obama's wrath.

* Yet there's no sugarcoating it: The new NBC/WSJ poll has some very bad numbers for the president. For the first time, a plurality disapprove of his performance and 60% say the country's on the wrong track.

* And the spill appears to be taking a serious toll: There have been sharp drops in the numbers of those who think Obama is effective handling a crisis (down to 40 percent) and who think he's decisive (down to 44 percent).

The poll was taken before the sacking of McChrystal, so it'll be interesting to see if that public display of leadership and decisiveness puts any dent in these trends.

* And the sacking of McChrystal has not made any of the tough decisions Obama still has to make on Afghanistan disappear in a puff of smoke.

* With the public unhappy with the direction of the country, the question is whether Dems can persuade the public that voting for Republicans this fall would have actual consequences and would amount to more than a mere gesature of protest against the current regime.

* And so the DNC continues to spotlight the Joe Barton mess with this new Web video that features quotes from Mitt Romney, Michael Steele to paint the GOP as the party of Big Oil, Big Insurance, and Wall Street.

* The Dem message, per a party operative:

If Republicans are put back in charge they will do as they have always done: Stand up for big oil, big banks and insurance companies at the expense of everyone else. It's in the Republican DNA. It's their philosophy. It's how they would govern.

* But: Gallup predicts that a big number of seats will change hands, because approval of Congress is among the lowest it's ever been during midterm years.

* Interesting post from from Adam Serwer: The appointment of David Petraeus makes a serious discussion about Afghanistan less likely because media figures won't be able to resist dumbing things down by portraying it as a "sequel" to Iraq.

* What to watch today: The Senate takes up the debate on derivatives.

* What else to watch today: The House is expected to vote on the DISCLOSE act. And the Chamber of Commerce really, really, really doesn't want it to pass.

* What else to watch today: It looks like Senate Dems are not going to win one or two GOP Senators to break the filibuster of the jobs bill.

* Steve Benen: "It may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy."

* Liberal Senators are privately urging the President to show more leadership on climate change.

* And it's time to start a new support group: Anti-government, living-off-the-land farmers who are addicted to government farm subsidies.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 24, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Financial reform , Foreign policy and national security , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: Poll: Lawmakers who weaken FinReg could be vulnerable

Comments

Benen: "It's unpleasant to think about, and I really hope it's not true, but it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy."

So, the question is, will the GOP merely try to write a narrative of Obama failure or will they move to facilitate failure?

If the latter, then we might see impediments placed in the road of any administration initiative. Check. We might see appointments to administrative offices broadly blocked or delayed. Check. We might see GOP office holders take positions contrary to Obama policies even while they'd taken opposite positions previously. Check.

This question seems answered. And rather clearly.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 24, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

This ...

"Liberal Senators are privately urging the President to show more leadership on climate change."

... may help explain this:

"a new national poll shows that public confidence in Obama's decisiveness and ability to handle a crisis has dropped sharply."

Whatever its merits, refusing to take the lead doesn't equate to decisive leadership. See health care reform.

(Of course, the Gulf Oil Disaster is one of those things simply Americans cannot accept: an insoluble problem. While that says more about American immaturity than Obama, as president he must recognize that people want bold action when a crisis arrives. I think Obama is very much a naturally conservative leader, but the WH has let the GOPers cow Obama with that "radical left-wing" nonsense: Obama fears being bold even when the political calculus suggests that is the best course.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 24, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

From the Benen piece. Clearly, obstruction is the game and economic ruin is the goal. In a Gallup poll the other day the major, above all else concern of Americans was jobs/economy at 40%, second concern was the gusher in the GOM at 13%, everything else, including the deficit was 5% or less. We've taken our eye off the ball and Republicans are rewarding the country with a continuing deep recession.

"After all, these same Republicans have supported deficit-financed tax-extenders before -- there's no credible reason to change course now. On the contrary, with the economy struggling to break through, the need for this package is more obvious, not less, if your goal is to actually improve economic conditions."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Greg,
The poll you are looking at took place BEFORE Obama sacked McChrystal. That poll is more a reflection of frustration of the BP oil spill.

It would be interesting to see a poll after the Obama sacked McChrystal since polls are a snap shot in time.

Posted by: maritza1 | June 24, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I expect to see Sarah Palin remarking on Australia's first female PM today (if she hasn't already).

Posted by: bernielatham | June 24, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The modern-day GOP is traitorous.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 24, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"I expect to see Sarah Palin remarking on Australia's first female PM today (if she hasn't already)."

She has seen Australia from a hotel room in Switzerland. Or was that Austria? What. Ever.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 24, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Here's a thought: A great deal of wind blows through the Gulf of Mexico. How about windmills in the Gulf? if we try, I'm sure we can even figure out how to harness the wind-power of tropical storms and hurricanes.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 24, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful titling from someone over at TPM...

"Extreme Makeover? Angle Hires Mainstream GOP Team For Her Outsider Campaign"

Posted by: bernielatham | June 24, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I know Martiza, I said that in the post...As you all know I thought Obama's McChrystal handling was brilliant, but I'm skeptical it will change the underlying dynamic. We'll see.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats need to start reminding America what the Republican "common sense solutions" were this last legislative session. Begin with Mitch McConnels story about how the GOP will oppose everything. Their stimulus plan was to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and health care plan was to deregulate the industry by allowing across state line policy selling.

Then they need to mention the PPT left at that meeting that talked about how they lead by fear and end with a caption saying "don't let fear lead you in reelecting the people who got us in this mess."

Posted by: soapm | June 24, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Here's a particularly nasty interview with Tucker Carlson. Keep in mind this guy's pedigree (Swanson Foods). Watch the entire interview if you can, it will remind you why we bother to vote.

Carlson: "There certainly is a feeling that things are really off track, more off track than any time in my conscious lifetime anyway, and debt is clearly the problem. I mean in two years the national debt will be 100% of GDP and that's unsustainable... that's not a real country, that's not sustainable, you can't have that. That's third world and so clearly there are going to have to be radical adjustments.

There aren't enough rich people in this country to pay down the debt to the extent is needs to be paid down. So we're going to have to turn back, it seems to me our expenditures and that means cutting entitlements; Social Security and particularly Medicare, that will need to be dealt with."

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/node/37922

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@wb - I expect her writers are now pouring through "Ferocious Animals of Australia" as Koala-mamas or Kangaroo-mamas don't hit quite the right note.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 24, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

There is inertia to public opinion. When it changes direction, it normally does so with the agility of an ocean liner, not a speedboat. I know it must suck if you have a filing deadline and feel you need to draw some conclusion from something, but generally speaking, the net effect of any single event is going to tend to be ambiguous and will probably take days or weeks to be felt in any case. Transient spikes tend to fade in 24 to 48 hours, which is why fieldwork for most opinion polls is usually done over a three- to four-day period.

Posted by: CalD | June 24, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Benen and TP both note Gohmert's rah rah on the House floor for Sowell's recent Obama=Hitler craziness. Here's a cute bit...

"There's a brilliant man named Thomas Sowell. And, um, I didn't vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I sure would have voted for Thomas Sowell."

They're both black, you see.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 24, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Yet there's no sugarcoating it: The new NBC/WSJ poll has some very bad numbers for the president. For the first time, a plurality disapprove of his performance and 60% say the country's on the wrong track."
--------------------------------------------

LOL. The average wrong-track number in that poll for the past year was 54%. The average for the previous 12 months was was 66%. Year before that, 67%.

I do thing the spill is on everyone's mind though. And people will likely be looking for someone to blame for that (other than ourselves of course) for some time to come -- if it doesn't actually spell the end of life on earth, as we know it.

Posted by: CalD | June 24, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ has an editorial on the Petraeus/McChrystal issue and it is as predictable as their editorials tend to be. But there's one element that is notable in how these people operate.

The piece begins, "President Obama...". It's the last time we see that formulation. Ever after, it is "Mr. Obama".

Try, I challenge you, to find any instance during the last administration where the WSJ editorial page used the "Mr Bush" formulation.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704629804575325073086949444.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Posted by: bernielatham | June 24, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

CalD -- maybe I wasn't clear enough in the post. Again, the point was NOT to draw any conclusions about the McChrystal firing. This poll was taken before the sacking.

Rather, the point was to illustrate that despite widespread approval among pundits and Obama advisers of the sacking, his problems nonetheless run deep, and it remains to be seen whether the sacking changes this over time.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I know it's your job to write about the politics of things (and polling about politics) but I wish for a day at least we'd have a chance to feel good about the president handling the McChrystal situation so decisively and adroitly. I don't care if the White House is leaking stories about this. If they weren't, wouldn't the criticism be that they don't know how to get out a message? And are we still surprised that the Gulf story has raised questions about Obama's leadership for people who are following it as the political story the media and blogs have framed it as? Personally, I'd feel a lot better if that half empty glass could be set aside long enough for us to catch our breath. Otherwise it's like saying yeah, the U.S. is through to the second round but what about that bad call in the Slovenia game?

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 24, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"With the public unhappy with the direction of the country, the question is whether Dems can persuade the public that voting for Republicans this fall would have actual consequences and would amount to more than a mere gesature of protest against the current regime."
-------------------------------------------

Might want to have a look at this:

http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_rep.htm

And this:

http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_dem.htm

Sure, it's not the 20% advantage they enjoyed two years ago or so, but I still have to be skeptical of the notion that it's the kind of stuff that a *Republican* "wave" is made of. People keep making the assumption that animosity toward government in general will automatically translate into affinity for Republican candidates and I'm just not convinced that will prove out when push comes to shove.

I could be completely wrong of course, but certainly Republicans also seem hell-bent on doing everything they can to keep reasonable people from flocking to their bandwagon. And Democrats will certainly be doing everything in theirs to make sure people keep hearing about that. It's going to be an interesting year for political junkies.

Posted by: CalD | June 24, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

ABC -- we felt good about the sacking of McChrystal yesterday. That's one day. :)

I was pretty glowing about it, righ?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@Allbutcerain = "Greg, I know it's your job to write about the politics of things (and polling about politics) but I wish for a day at least we'd have a chance to feel good about the president handling the McChrystal situation so decisively and adroitly."


You must think this is Fox, the fictional news channel. Reality is what reality is....

But if it makes you feel better, my son is officially potty trained. No wet diaper this morning and he want to the potty all by his lonesome...

Posted by: soapm | June 24, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I was going for 24 hours . . .

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 24, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel) over at FDL had an interesting observation about Hillary's (non)involvement in the firing decision.

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/06/23/what-did-hillary-think-abou-mcchrystals-firing/

Posted by: msmollyg | June 24, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

To ask an obvious question: what's the WH plan for jobs as the summer rolls into the fall? They know that the midterm elections hinge on jobs and an improving economy, so I'm curious what sort of push they are going to put on. The crisis management that the admin has been forced take on hasn't made this easy, but it's vital that they pivot to something positive on jobs.

And yes, WITHOUT GOP support.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 24, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"* Steve Benen: "It may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy.""

Well, duh Steve!

Posted by: SDJeff | June 24, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

All, new polling suggests public would frown on loopholes in FinReg:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/poll_lawmakers_who_weaken_finr.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

BG, the current legislation re jobs/unemployment, help to states, is scheduled to fail today. Predicted vote is 58/42. Ben Nelson will vote against and no Repubs are expected to vote for it despite all sorts of compromises to attract a couple of votes.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"Here's what this disconnect adds up to:"

it adds up to the poll being taken before Obama's decision on McChrystal..

geez, i dont' even like or respect Obama, but I do like and expect decent journalism..
Mr. Plum, you're usually pretty good, why so sloppy on this?

Posted by: newagent99 | June 24, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The trolls from yesterday would have loved Lincoln and his revolving door of generals leading the Army of the Potomac.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | June 24, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The trolls from yesterday would have loved Lincoln and his revolving door of generals leading the Army of the Potomac.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | June 24, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

newsagent99:

One more time: I did NOT say this poll reflects reactions to the McChrystal firing. I clearly said in the post that the poll was taken before the firing.

The point of the post, again, was to say that DESPITE the good cheer about his handling of the McChrystal mess his problems run deep, and it remains to be seen WHETHER the firing will change these trends.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Great nugget on BP snagged by Weigel:

[O]nly 6 percent have a favorable rating of BP. In the history of the NBC News/Journal poll, Saddam Hussein (3 percent), Fidel Castro (3 percent) and Yasser Arafat (4 percent) have had lower favorable scores, and O.J. Simpson (11 percent) and tobacco-maker Philip Morris (15 percent) have had higher ratings.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-now/2010/06/why_republicans_needed_barton.html

As Dave puts it, this is why the GOP needs/wants Joe Barton to STHU!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 24, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"With the public unhappy with the direction of the country, the question is whether Dems can persuade the public that voting for Republicans this fall would have actual consequences and would amount to more than a mere gesature of protest against the current regime."

Could you make that "current administration" and leave the word "regime" to LImbaugh and the teanuts?

Posted by: rashomon | June 24, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Nice article on Louisiana's "relationship" with Big Oil. Low property taxes and a high school diploma can get you 70K for 6 months work. SOLD!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128064058

Posted by: wbgonne | June 24, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"teanuts"

I like it.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 24, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Another nugget in the NBC poll, this time @first read:

Despite Obama's lower ratings, the public isn't experiencing buyer's remorse with George W. Bush. His fav/unfav score in our poll is 29%-50% -- which is similar to his rating as he left office. By the way, Sarah Palin's fav/unfav is also upside down in the poll at 29%-43%.

Palin = Bush with lipstick

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 24, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I was just going back through right-track/wrong-track numbers at pollingreport.com, going back as far as 1993 in Gallup's case, and the striking thing about all of them is that you can count the number of months in the last 17 years when a majority of the country felt like we were on the right track without taking off your shoes. We're very cynical people.

Posted by: CalD | June 24, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course the oil spill will take a toll on Obama's polling.'
For two months, rather then report the truth, the media decided to pile on this president asking him to don a flightsuit and strut up and down the beaches with a bullhorn.
to them, empty theater and rhetoric is what is 'presidential'
they spent the last two months lambasting this president because he refused to playact the movie action figure as president.
the media need to grow up and the public needs to stop letting these babies influence them.

Posted by: vwcat | June 24, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse


Greg,
It is going to be up to you and others in the media to make sure they let the public know why their unemployment was cut off and who is responsible.
It's time for writers like you to not let your fellow journalists get away with their usual covering up for the republicans and always trying to make it seem like the democrats are at fault.
Remember, the media has as much invested in making the republicans the victors in Nov. as the republicans themselves.
It makes for sooooo much conflict and drama, nevermind the country and the plight of the people who suffer.

Posted by: vwcat | June 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company