Back in the 1980s, the Democratic Party media dubbed Ronald Reagan the “Teflon President.” By this, they meant that their false, dishonest and trivial attacks on Reagan didn’t sway the public, which appreciated the most meteoric economic recovery in modern history and restoration of America’s status as not just a great power, but a competent one.
Something quite different is happening with Barack Obama. By any possible measure, he has been an awful president. His administration has been good for hedge fund managers and “green” energy scammers, but disastrous for working class Americans, especially African-Americans. Median income and household wealth are down, and let’s not even talk about foreign policy or the national debt. Yet, Obama’s approval ratings have a relatively high floor of around 40%.
Currently, the Gallup Poll has Obama under water at 42%/51%, while Rasmussen has him at 45%/53% among likely voters. Is it conceivable that more than 40% of Americans are really satisfied with the Obama administration? I don’t think so. But ignorance doesn’t tell the story; low information voters have been hurt worse, personally, by the Obama administration’s policies than anyone else.
I think what is happening is that America’s politics have become so tribal that large numbers of people lie to pollsters. We have seen this throughout the Obama administration, when African-Americans have told pollsters the economy is doing well, more than any other demographic group, even as they have been hammered disproportionately by unemployment and wage cuts. American politics have become so polarized, and the Democratic Party has whipped its followers into such a frenzy, that 40% of us would purport to approve of a Democratic president if he burned down the White House, disbanded the Navy, and spent his evenings howling at the moon.
Barack Obama really is a Teflon president: for close to half of Americans, the facts bounce off him. Because they really don’t care about the facts; either that or they are cashing government checks and are indifferent to anything else. This does not bode well for our democracy.