- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oh woe is us: “The national mood is a drag on President Obama’s re-election prospects,” according to Gallup poll analyst Lydia Saad, who says that several indicators could prove “troublesome” come November. Among said troubles, Mr. Obama’s approval rating falls consistently below 50 percent while public satisfaction with the direction of the country stands at a mere 24 percent.

Historically, recent presidents who won re-election - Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - had job approval ratings of 49 percent or higher in May of their re-election year. Those who lost their re-election bid - Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush - had approval ratings of 43 percent or lower. Mr. Obama’s approval currently stands at 47 percent.

Ms. Saad ultimately deems the president’s re-election prospects “quite uncertain.” She also cites Gallup’s trial heat tracking showing Mr. Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney “locked in a statistical tie.”

LET THEM EAT HOAGIES

Thanks to the official White House pool report, we now know that during a noontime visit to Taylor Gourmet a few blocks from the White House on Wednesday, President Obama ordered a 12-inch “Spruce Street” hoagie. That would be home-style roast turkey, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone, which sounds good right about now. Mr. Obama then conducted a “small business” discussion with a general contractor, an organic deli owner and the two proprietors of the aforementioned gourmet shop.

The president later returned home for another discussion, and to practice a little sandwich diplomacy. Mr. Obama also brought along hoagies for Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Yes, the president picked up the tab, which totaled $62.79.

ZERO

“It’s another goose egg. No budget has ever received fewer votes than President Obama’s,” says the Senate Republican Communications Center after the Senate unanimously opposed Mr. Obama’s “unserious” budget with a 99-0 vote Wednesday, bringing the total number of votes for the president’s budget in the House and Senate to a big, bodacious zero.

“It’s time the president take the hint and get serious about deficit reduction. The president’s budget had zero credibility, and now it has zero votes,” says Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. “After racking up more than $5 trillion in debt, even Senate Democrats don’t take President Obama’s budget proposal seriously anymore.”

DRILL BABY DRILL

“With luck, by then the U.S. will be the world’s biggest oil exporter.”

(Glenn Reynolds, Pajamas Media contributor and “Instapundit,” reacting to predictions from the International Monetary Fund that oil prices will double worldwide in the next 10 years.)

HERMANATOR, PT. 2

“I’ve met with him privately and now I’m telling everyone publicly, if Mitt Romney wasn’t your favorite candidate for the Republican nomination, get over it,” proclaims Herman Cain, who officially endorsed Mr. Romney on Wednesday.

He has also reinvented himself.

The former Republican hopeful - who rode the crest of favorability polls last autumn - now bills himself as “the new voice - CEO, businessman, accomplished speaker, media personality.”

Indeed, Mr. Cain has already returned to talk radio, appearing several times a week with syndicated host Neal Boortz. And he has not forsaken his gospel singing, either. Mr. Cain’s “Sunday Morning” collection of 13 gospel and Christian tunes remains on sale at iTuness and Amazon.

JUST SAYIN’

Speaking English: Of 16,344 employed adults in 26 countries, 67 percent of workers who deal with people beyond their borders said English was the language used most often, says a Reuters/Ipsos Global Public Affairs survey released Wednesday. Spanish is a distant second at 5 percent.

“The most revealing aspect of this survey is how English has emerged as the default language for business around the world,” says Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker.

RESEARCHATOPIA

The Department of Defense has awarded $155 million in research funds among 63 academic institutions that will now tangle with 23 projects. It’s all part of the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, says Zachary J. Lemnios, assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, who speaks fondly about “new areas of scientific inquiry” and “future capabilities that will benefit our joint forces.”

Oh, yeah. Rock on. Go for it. But the scope of it is, well, mind-boggling. A sampling of the official research titles that won the big bucks:

Embedded humans: provably correct decision making for networks of humans and unmanned systems; Dynamics of multifunction brain networks; Multivariate heavy-tail phenomena; Novel nanostructures for the controlled propagation of electromagnetic energy, Evolution of cultural norms and dynamics of socio-political change; Slippery liquid-infused poroussurfaces for turbulent drag reduction at high Reynolds number.

POLL DU JOUR

• 91 percent of Republican voters in Wisconsin are “absolutely certain” they will vote in the June 5 recall election for Gov. Scott Walker.

• 83 percent of Democrats are “absolutely certain” they will vote in the recall.

• 88 percent of Republicans say Mr. Walker has these traits: “is honest, decisive, cares about people, is fair, inspiring and provides strong leadership.”

• 23 percent of Democrats agree.

• 76 percent of Democrats say those traits describe Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger.

• 22 percent of Republicans agree.

• 50 percent of Wisconsin voters overall favor Mr. Walker in the recall; 44 percent favor Mr. Barrett.

Source: A Marquette Law School poll of 705 registered Wisconsin voters conducted May 9 to 12.

Moody pronouncements, ebullient proclamations to jharper@washingtontimes.com.