By Dick Morris - 04/28/09 05:45 PM EDT
Right now, Obama’s ratings must be pleasing to his eye. Voters like him and his wife immensely and approve of his activism in the face of the economic crisis. While polls show big doubts about what he is doing, the overwhelming sense is to let him have his way and pray that it works.
And in the Fox News poll — the very same survey that gave Obama a 62 percent approval rating and reported that 68 percent of voters are “satisfied” with his first hundred days — voters, by 50-38, supported a smaller government that offered fewer services over a larger government that provided more.
By 42-8, the Fox News poll (conducted on April 22-23) found that voters felt Obama had expanded government rather than contracted it (42 percent said it was the same size) and, by 46-30, reported believing that big government was more of a danger to the nation than big business. (By 50-23, they said Obama felt big business was more dangerous.)
By 62-20, they said government spending, under Obama, was “out of control.”
So if voters differ so fundamentally with the president on the very essence of his program, why do they accord him high ratings? They are like the recently married bride who took her vows 100 days ago. It would be a disaster for her life if she decides that she really doesn’t like her husband. But she keeps noticing things about him that she can’t stand. It will be a while before she walks out the door or even comes to terms with her own doubts, but it is probably inevitable that she will.
For Americans to conclude that they disapprove of their president in the midst of an earth-shaking crisis is very difficult. But as Obama’s daily line moves from “I inherited this mess” to “There are faint signs of light,” the clock starts ticking. If there is no recovery for the next six months — and I don’t think there will be — Obama will inevitably become part of the problem, not part of the solution.
And then will come his heavy lifting. He has yet to raise taxes, regiment healthcare or provide amnesty for illegal immigrants. He hasn’t closed down the car companies he now runs and he has not yet forced a 50 percent hike in utility bills with his cap-and-trade legislation. These are all the goodies he has in store for us all.
• You can’t borrow as much as he will need to without raising interest rates that hurt the economy;
• The massive amount of spending will trigger runaway inflation once the economy starts to recover;
• His overhaul of the tax code (still in the planning phases) and his intervention in corporate management will create such business uncertainty that nobody will invest in anything until they see the lay of the land;
• His bank program is designed to help banks, but not to catalyze consumer lending. And his proposal for securitization of consumer loans won’t work and is just what got us into this situation.
So Mr. Obama should enjoy his poll numbers while he may.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of Outrage. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by e-mail or to order a signed copy of their new best-selling book, Fleeced, go to dickmorris.com.