Here's the DC headline:
Presidential approval ratings dip to all-time low as Obama moves to sell health care
Well, that doesn't sound good for Obama. The Daily Caller's proof? Rasmussen (surprise!), and some survey that only polled Iowa independents. No joke:
A new poll from Iowa-based Selzer and Company shows that since November, Obama's approval rating among Iowa independents dropped sharply from 48 to 38 percent — reaching its lowest level yet.
Similarly, Rasmussen Reports' latest release of its nightly automated tracking poll yesterday showed that the number of people who "strongly approve" of the president's performance reached an all-time low of 22 percent, down from a high of 45 at the beginning of his presidency.
Conservatives, as well as mainstream journalists, love to push the idea that Obama's polling numbers are in the tank and that he's fading fast. (I think at this point Peggy Noonan dreams about Obama's supposedly dreadful approval rating.) It's all part of the preferred narrative that the presidency is slipping away from Obama, etc. etc.
But here's the truth about Obama's job approval ratings. If you look at Gallup, the polling gold standard, the president's approval rating has remained essentially unchanged since August. That's right, over the the past six months, Obama's poll numbers have not budged.
But that's not a tale the press wants to tell.
UPDATED: Right on cue comes Rush Limbaugh:
If Mr. Obama hasn't noticed, his approval numbers are in a free fall.
From the February 24 edition of NPR's Morning Edition:
From Michael Gerson's February 24 Washington Post column headlined: "Obama's health reform gamble raises questions of judgment":
On health-care reform, the strategy of President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders is psychologically understandable -- as well as delusional.
It is easy to imagine the internal dialogue: "Well, they voted for me, overwhelmingly. I didn't hide my views on this issue; I highlighted them. If they actually knew what was in the plan, they'd support it. If I don't believe in this, I don't believe in anything. Sometimes you just have to lead." But there is a problem with this reasoning: After a year of debate, Democratic leaders -- given every communications advantage and decisive control of every elected branch of government -- have not only lost legislative momentum, they have lost a national argument. Americans have taken every opportunity -- the town hall revolt, increasingly lopsided polling, a series of upset elections culminating in Massachusetts -- to shout their second thoughts. At this point, for Democratic leaders to insist on their current approach is to insist that Americans are not only misinformed but also dimwitted.
And the proposed form of this insistence -- enacting health reform through the quick, dirty shove of the reconciliation process -- would add coercion to arrogance. Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared that "everything is on the table" -- as though Senate Republicans and Democratic moderates were the domestic equivalents of Iran. This is the political context that Democratic leaders have set for their historically "transparent" health summit -- a threat as transparent as a horse's head in a senator's bed.
From a February 24 The Guardian article:
Rupert Murdoch's media giant News International could face a judicial inquiry after a highly critical parliamentary report today accuses senior executives at its top-selling newspaper of concealing the truth about the extent of illegal phone hacking by its journalists.
The 167-page report by a cross-party select committee is withering about the conduct of the News of the World, with one MP saying its crimes "went to the heart of the British establishment, in which police, military royals and government ministers were hacked on a near industrial scale".
MPs condemned the "collective amnesia" and "deliberate obfuscation" by NoW executives who gave evidence to them, and said it was inconceivable that only a few people at the paper knew about the practice.
On February 23, FOXNews.com posted an article about the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) under the headline "Gay Discrimination Bill Will Stifle Free Speech, Advance 'Homosexual Agenda,' Critics Say":
From Barone's February 24 Washington Examiner column:
It's an argument that has often been appealing to Europeans but that has always been unappealing to Americans. That's why these advocates segue to other arguments, like Barack Obama's assertion that the government can expand coverage and save money at the same time.
But voters quickly sniff out what this means. The government will use the "science" of comparative effectiveness research to achieve cost savings the only way government can: denial of care. The Soviet medical system kept down the heart disease caseload by placing cardiac care units on the fifth floor, walk up. Death panels, anyone?
On his February 23 show, Sean Hannity devoted the entire hour of his show to airing and discussing Generation Zero, a film produced by conservative activists about the financial crisis. In the segment below Hannity and the filmmakers lay blame for the crisis on baby boomers (or "'60's hippies," in the words of producer David Bossie) moving away from conservative ideas by taking advantage of corporate personhood in order to avoid personal responsibility for the risks they took with the funds their banks controlled:
This denies reality. It is in fact the conservative movement that has regularly supported the power of personhood for corporations, and the resulting dissolution of personal responsibility for corporate decisions. In fact, one of the producers of this very film is David Bossie. Bossie is behind Citizens United, the conservative activist group who recently won a Supreme Court case that affirmed the power of political speech for coporations like Citizens United (the case was decided 5-4 with the justices regularly categorized as conservative voting in the affirmative).
It might be possible, maybe, that Bossie is secretly one of those corporate loving hippies in disguise. But I'm doubtful.
A couple of days ago, Media Matters for America senior fellow Karl Frisch described his notes from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as "Postcards from the edge." If CPAC is the edge, then here are my notes from the edge of the edge, better known as "Jihad: The Political Third Rail;" an event created by Atlas Shrugs' Pam Geller and Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer.
Geller's and Spencer's event was so controversial in fact, that CPAC organizers made sure to tell Fox News that the event was "unofficial," and "sponsored by outside groups." However, it was official enough to be listed on CPAC's agenda.
In announcing the event, Geller stated that she found it "most distressing that the largest gathering of conservatives in America does nothing to address the single greatest threat to our national security, our Constitution, our very way of life." Indeed she and Spencer both expressed dismay that CPAC did not more fully embrace their point of view, which Spencer summed up by saying that "[i]t's absurd" to think that "Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by a small minority of extremists:"
So what was the goal of this "unofficial," yet coordinated event at CPAC? Geller previously noted that the event was "designed to educate Americans about the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. government, as well as its war on free speech." A pretty heavy goal to be sure, but it wasn't all serious. Geller kicked it off by displaying her trademark humor:
After that brief introduction it was time to get down to business, with a non-stop parade of anti-Islam rhetoric.
The first speaker was former Muslim Wafa Sultan, who declared that "Islam is a not merely a religion, but an agressive and dangerous political ideology which aspires to world domination":
Then came Austrian Elisabeth Wolff, who told the audience that she has been indicted in Austria for anti-Muslim hate speech. In decribing the incident, Wolff explained that whatever words she used, she was simply trying to convey the message that "Islam is supremacist, it is against women's rights, it's against human rights, it's against everything you and I believe in" (transcript available here):
Next up was a speaker who has said things that even Geller apparently thinks are too extreme. Despite having put what she says is the "full video" of the event on her site, Geller actually cut out several comments made by Anders Gravers, the Danish Leader for the Stop the Islamisation of Europe. For instance, Geller's video edits out Graver's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe, and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by "incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union." Gravers went on to explain (in a portion of the speech that Geller did include) that the purpose was to gain "some European control of oil resources" at the cost of the "introduction of Sharia law and removal of democracy" in Europe. No, really. Check out this exclusively un-edited portion of his remarks (transcript available here):
With a panel like that, CPAC probably should have worked harder to separate itself from Geller and Spencer's event.
I don't think Congress could or would censure King for something he said at a political rally, but I agree with you that his comments and others like them probably deserve more attention from the media. They are striking remarks.
Yet, over 28 hours after Talking Points Memo reported King's remarks, the Post hasn't written any stories on the comments. But don't worry. The Post did spend seven paragraphs on singer Shakira's visit to Washington.