Nearly half of all poll respondents say Obamacare will worsen the nation’s health care, and six out of 10 say it will result in higher medical care costs.
While most presidents run into troubles at some point while in office, Mr. Obama’s numbers are far more serious when compared to his predecessors. “Obama ends his fifth year in office with lower approval ratings than almost all other recent two-term presidents,” The Post said.
Historically, second-term presidencies are notoriously difficult. If you don’t achieve anything in the first two years, forget about the last two, because the political focus shifts to the presidential election cycle.
In 1984, President Reagan ran for his second term on comprehensive tax reform that would cleanse the tax code of inefficient and needless loopholes and plow the savings into lowering the rates. He enacted a sweeping, bipartisan law, with significant Democratic support, in 1986.
Mr. Obama ran on no specific agenda, and over the course of the past year, he and the Democrats have been struck by one scandal after another — political abuses in the Internal Revenue Service, a cover-up of the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi, and the botched Obamacare rollout.
“When historians write the story of Barack Obama’s presidency, 2013 will be his lost year,” the Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote Sunday, adding that the “damage done to Obama’s brand will linger well beyond this calendar year.”
This gives the Republicans a big boost heading into the midterm elections when polls show Americans are nearly evenly divided over how they’ll vote in House races.
In October, Democrats held an eight-point advantage in the congressional polls. Now the tide has turned, and Democrats are clinging to a tenuous two-point lead (47 percent to 45 percent).
It’s worth noting that just before the 2010 elections when the GOP took control of the House, picking up 63 seats, polls also showed the generic vote narrowly favoring Democrats.
The public’s growing unease, and even fear, of Mr. Obama’s health care law and its impact on their own lives, and their unhappiness with a long-sluggish economy will feed into next year’s elections, especially the House races, where the GOP could strengthen its muscular majority, and to some degree in the Senate races, too.
That’s why “Obama and his legacy are on the ballot in 2014 — even if his name is not,” Mr. Cillizza wrote last month.
In the end, Mr. Obama’s empty second term may remind people of a famous political maxim, attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.