- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Political analysts are resorting to dramatic terms to describe dire findings. “American voters are extraordinarily dispirited. The fights in Washington over the federal budget and the debt ceiling, coming on top of an aggravatingly slow economic recovery have produced a cauldron of discontent. If these sentiments last for the next 12 months, a large number of incumbents are going to be in trouble on Election Day,” declares Christopher Arterton, dean of George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

The school has issued a “battleground” poll of interest, since 2014 dawns in exactly seven weeks. The findings reveal that 73 percent of likely voters say the country is on the wrong track. Worries over money, jobs and health care have taken a back seat to concerns about faltering government.

“Americans say the biggest problem the nation faces is Washington’s inability to solve problems, and they do not appear to have confidence in the ability of their elected leaders to turn things around,” the poll states.

“For the first time in our polling, the president has both majority unfavorable image and majority disapproval on his job rating,” says Ed Goeas, CEO of the Tarrance Group, which conducted the survey. “As has all too often happened to presidents in their second term, there is a lot throughout this data that raises the very real prospect that President Obama has lost the ability to lead this country.”

Fifty-two percent disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing, 50 percent give him an unfavorable personal rating. Meanwhile, 89 percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing. They are not keen on their local lawmaker, either; just one-quarter think that their current representative should be in office next term. A 58 percent majority says “it’s time to give a new person a chance,” the poll states.

TWEAKING AS A FINE ART

President Obama will be busy reframing the Affordable Care Act in distinctly grass-roots terms Wednesday when he visits volunteers and plan “navigators” in Dallas. And still, he must do damage control on a handy-dandy, carefully articulated, 10-word sound bite that for a time worked like an adorable charm.

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” Mr. Obama said repeatedly in the endless lead up to the health care law and even after it was passed. The president, in fact, is seen making this pledge 36 times on camera, an ambitious count made by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Obama did knowingly make an overly simplistic guarantee to the American people that Obamacare wouldn’t affect their current plans. And as this video compilation shows, he made this guarantee over and over again,” says Dan Amira, a New York Magazine political correspondent who published a count earlier Tuesday.

Now the insurance cancellation notices have started to arrive for some Americans — the numbers include 160,000 in North Carolina, 80,000 in Louisiana and 73,000 in Maryland. A delicate recalibration is already underway.

“If you had or have one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was, you could keep it if hasn’t changed since the law’s passed,” Mr. Obama said Monday evening during a speech before Organizing for America, the progressive grass-roots activist group.

“The new line is a far cry from the shorter, bumper-sticker-ready pledge he made as he sought to calm nerves,” observes Z. Byron Wolf, a CNN political columnist, who adds, “But it turns out the president didn’t have the power to make that pledge.”

And from the bleak world of daily polling numbers comes this news from Gallup: Mr. Obama’s approval rating is now at 39 percent. It stood at 58 percent approximately a year ago, according to the pollster’s historic data records.

AND IN SUMMATION

Will Obamacare continue to mutate into other things? Could be.

“‘You can keep your doctor’ is the next ‘you can keep your insurance,’” predicts David Burge, keeper of the Iowahawk blog.

BOONE TOWN

A round of applause for iconic singer and actor Pat Boone, who apparently knows how to navigate complex times and culture with grace and reassuring integrity. Mr. Boone celebrates his 60th wedding anniversary Wednesday. At 18, he married one Shirley Lee Foley — daughter of Grand Ole Opry star Red Foley — a happy union that resulted in four daughters, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“Every day becomes 60-plus in marriage and in being such wonderful role models for all ages, especially for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren,” points out Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, a conservative answer to the AARP.

Mr. Boone, who sets forth his political ideas as a columnist for World Net Daily and NewsMax, has been a national spokesman for the group for a number of years.

“Congratulations, Pat and Shirley. Sixty together and still going strong. It’s an honor for 60 Plus to be associated with both of you,” Mr. Martin says.

NUGENT TOWN

A recent conversation between rocker Ted Nugent and Detroit talk radio host Jerry Tarrants:

Mr. Tarrants: “Is there a presidential run, or any political run in the future?”

Mr. Nugent: “I have threatened to run for public office and have been prodded to do so and pushed hard. It’s not off the table. At this point it would be up to Mrs. Nugent and my family, but I’m being pushed pretty hard to run. I believe my sense of logic, my sense of common sense, my connection to people who are in the asset column of America. I believe that I would perform an enormous upgrade in returning to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and most important of all accountability.”

Mr. Tarrants: “I’m going to take that as a yes.”

FOR THE LEXICON

DroneShield

— “A low-cost, easy-to-use device that detects the presence of nearby drones (including RC helicopters, quadrotors, etc.) and issues alerts via email, sms, and a flashing light,” says the manufacturer. “The goal is to help preserve privacy from low-cost remote-control air vehicles with video cameras.”

The company offers a camouflage version for hunters priced at $59 to counter overhead surveillance by drones used by animal-rights activists.

POLL DU JOUR

81 percent of Americans say they have not “done anything” to support a cause because a celebrity endorsed it.

58 percent say the support of a celebrity can change people’s views of a political candidate; 60 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

55 percent overall say a celebrity involved in a scandal can hurt a cause if they become involved with it; 29 percent disagree.

53 percent say celebrities can make a positive difference when they get involved in a cause; 44 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent overall say it is a “bad thing” when celebrities get involved in politics or endorse a candidate; 61 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say the celebrities make little or no difference in a cause; 48 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent say it’s a good thing when celebrities get involved in politics; 21 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris poll of 2,577 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 18 to 24 and released Tuesday.

Applause, sullen remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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