- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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.

The roster of luminaries who have received the award in the past is varied. Recipients include former President George H.W. Bush, Adm. William H. McRaven, Sen. John McCain, Robert Gates, Gen. David H. Petraeus, Henry Kissinger, former lawmakers Joe Lieberman, John Warner, John Glenn and Bob Dole plus the late Ike Skelton, Daniel K. Inouye and Ted Stevens; and Paul Wolfowitz, Caspar Weinberger andGen. Colin L. Powell.

Yes. Interesting.

A CONTRASTING HILLARY MOMENT

“I’m convinced that ‘the fix is in’ and that without a huge effort starting right now, Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States,” proclaims feisty Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a fundraising message for Stop Hillary PAC, an equally feisty political action committee launched in July.

“Her henchmen — James Carville and Harold Ickes — are busy greasing the skids, raising millions of dollars, buying off the competition, all designed to install her in the White House without a fight,” the lawman continues

“I don’t have to tell you the damage a Hillary Clinton presidency will do to the America we know and love. Building upon the dangerous Obama legacy, President Hillary Clinton will cement the disastrous policies of Obama into the fabric of America forever,” Sheriff Arpaio warns.

CHENEY’S COUNSEL: EMBRACE THE TEA PARTY

Democrats are often obsessed with portraying the Grand Old Party in a state of disunity, punctuated by squabbles with the tea party as the midterm and presidential elections approach. But, hey. Rifts come with the territory.

“Well, we do have a division, but that’s not new for the Republican party,” former Vice President Dick Cheney tells Larry King, host of RT America’s “Politicking,” in an interview airing at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on the news channel.

“I remember Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller, or Gerry Ford and Ronald Reagan. We’ve often had divisions in the past, and frankly, my experience with the tea party is this. The vast number of people who identify themselves as such are basically conservative Republicans who are just fed up with what’s happening in the country. They’re pretty much united in their opposition and hostility to the present administration,” Mr. Cheney tells his host.

“We want them in the party. I don’t want to see the tea party go spinning loose in some third-party movement. I think we need to be big enough as a party and broad enough in our thinking so that folks who are conservative, who believe in fiscal discipline, who are opposed to the expansion of government power — similar to what Obama’s doing — and believe deeply in the Constitution are welcome in the Republican Party,” Mr. Cheney concludes.

POLL DU JOUR

55 percent of U.S. voters oppose Obamacare; 93 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent of voters overall do not think the Obama administration has been “competent running the government”; 88 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent overall do not think President Obama “is paying enough attention to what his administration is doing”; 77 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall trust Republicans in Congress to deal with health care; 42 percent trust Mr. Obama.

19 percent overall believe the quality of their health care will improve in one year because of Obamacare; 2 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Quinnipiac University Poll of 2,545 registered U.S. voters conducted Nov. 6 to 11.

Querulous complaints, titters, nervy comments to jharper@washingtontimes.com.