Inside the Beltway: ‘Hope and change’ becomes hope for change

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Once, the nation was all about “hope and change.” Now, the White House simply hopes for some change upon confronting these numbers of woe: 54 percent of American voters disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, 39 percent approve. And of interest to Democrats who suggest there’s a Republican “war on women” afoot? Well, even the ladies have soured on the White House, with 51 percent disapproving of Mr. Obama’s job performance, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

Some folks remain happy: 75 percent of black voters and 79 percent of Democrats approve of Mr. Obama. Some remain vexed: 91 percent of Republicans disapprove. The poll also notes that for the first time, 52 percent overall say the president “is not honest and trustworthy.” Another 46 percent think Mr. Obama “knowingly deceived” the public during the early rollout days of Obamacare.

“Like all new presidents, President Obama had a honeymoon with American voters, with approval ratings in the high 50s. As the marriage wore on, he kept his job approval scores in the respectable, though not overwhelming, 40s. Today, for the first time it appears that 40 percent floor is cracking,” says Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Any Democrat with an 11-point approval deficit among women is in trouble. And any elected official with an 8-point trust deficit is in serious trouble,” Mr. Malloy says. “President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to the level of former President George W. Bush at the same period of his presidency.”

OBAMACARE REVIEWS ARE IN

Well, at least the press got a chance to use some adjectives and prose. Some headlines inspired by the elusive Obamacare enrollment numbers, released by the White House on Wednesday:

“Simply grim” (USA Today), “Putting a statistic on disappointment” (CBS News), “Signs of problems to come?” (Christian Science Monitor), “Time to panic?” (The Week), “Up Next: the Obamacare enrollment number spin war” (The Atlantic), “A reversal of fortune for Democrats” (The Washington Post), “Dismal” (CNBC, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, CNN, Fiscal Times, Slate).

THE NUMBERS GAME

Yes, now we know 106,185 intrepid folks managed to sign up for Obamacare nationwide in October, despite a faulty website with compromised security. Some may pity the beleaguered White House, some may revel in schadenfreude. But now what? Canny strategists will craft plausible excuses, then the press will vilify Republicans for vilifying the White House in the aftermath.

“The Obama White House is sure to blame the poor enrollment numbers on the many unacceptable tech glitches that have frustrated Americans,” declares Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

“The larger reason Obamacare has failed is because it was conceived based on a lie that Americans could keep their health care plans and has failed to address our No. 1 health care problem in America: soaring costs,” Mr. Priebus adds. “Reasons 1 million and 1 million and 1 why the federal government should not be running our health care.”

Says Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican: “Only full repeal and replacement can begin undoing the damage this law has done.”

A HILLARY MOMENT

Yes indeed, that will be Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Ronald Reagan Building in the nation’s capital on Thursday night, poised to receive the “American Patriot Award” from the National Defense University Foundation. The citation recognizes those who have strengthened “our nation’s strategic interests and advanced global security.”

Interesting.

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