New polls revealed Americans were disenchanted with both President Barack Obama and Congress, but, even though Americans most strongly disapproved of congressional Republicans, they still wanted Republicans to control Congress.
Perhaps as long as Barack Obama was going to do whatever congressional Republicans wanted anyway, Americans figured they might as well have the real thing. Perhaps the polling revealed the President needed to grow a backbone.
According to the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey taken last week, 44% approved of the job Obama was doing, while 51% disapproved. Just 37% approved Obama's handling of the economy, while 59% disapproved. Obama really needed to grow a backbone.
The new ABC/Washington Post poll likewise found 43% approved of Obama's overall job performance, while 53% disapproved. Again, the economy appeared to be driving the numbers, as only 36% approved Obama's handling of it, while 62% disapproved. He really, really needed to grow a backbone, and here's why:
Just 13% of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing. A staggering 82% disapproved of the way Congress was stacking its file folders and shuffling its paper clips, NBC/WSJ found. More to the point, just 28% of Americans approved of the job congressional Republicans were doing, while an everybody-who's-not-a-Tea-Party-zealot-into-the-pool 68% disapproved of congressional Republicans.
Clearly, if Obama just grew a backbone and told congressional Republicans to go jump in a tar sands tailings pond, his numbers would improve.
There was one weird nugget in the NBC/WSJ survey. Despite folks trusting Obama more than Republicans on handling the economy, 42%-39%; despite folks favoring Democrats over Republicans for standing up for the middle class, 58%-31%; and despite folks figuring they wanted to kick every member of Congress, including their own, to the curb in 2012 by a 54%-41% margin, Americans said they preferred a Republican-controlled Legislative Branch by a convincing 47%-41%.
No wonder God was punishing America with a plague of Michele Bachmannisms and Sarah Palindromes.
Slightly better news for Obama was that he now led GOP Presidential pretender Gov. Rick Perry in an elect 'em today matchup, 47% to 42%. Milquetoast Mitt Romney fared a within-the-margin-of-error tossup 46%-45%, with Obama snagging the 46%.
Obama, however, trailed the heartthrob dreamboat Generic Republican 40% to 44%. As putting a face and a name to a GOP candidate invariably eroded the GOP's numbers, they were best off putting up a blank white dummy in a suit labelled with black lettering reading "candidate" across its chest. Hence, Romney's popularity.
The best news for Obama was that a solid majority still believed the bad economy was one Obama inherited. According to NBC/WSJ, 56% figured Obama had come into the game with the bases loaded, no outs, a couple of runs already in, and Albert Pujols stepping into the batter's box. And, as far as the fastballs and sliders Obama was tossing Pujols, 59% of the folks in the ballpark were somewhat to extremely confident the President had put forth the right set of goals and policies to improve the economy, versus 40% who figured he should have been tossing curveballs and changeups instead.
Only 33% figured America's economic woes were all Obama's fault, a number comprising everybody in the Tea Party plus four or five guys who thought Bachmann and Palin were hot.
NBC/WSJ found 37%, basically those Tea Party zealots and the guys who thought Bachmann and Palin were hot, opposed ending the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more to reduce the deficit, while basically everyone else, 60%, approved of ending the Bush tax cuts on the rich.
Likewise, the same 37% wanted to reduce the deficit with only spending cuts and without raising taxes on the rich or big corporations, while the same everyone else, 60%, found that notion mostly to totally unacceptable.
Only 20% wanted to cut Medicare benefits to reduce the deficit, while 78% thought that was a bad idea, revealing the proportion of seniors among Tea Party zealots.
Of course, Republicans were eager to voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security, and Obama was making noises he was on board with at least slashing Medicare and Social Security benefits, so, adding that to the dismal economic picture, 77% of Americans felt the country was headed down the wrong track, and 72% figured things were going to get worse before they got better.
And, they were almost certainly right.
Thursday, Barack Obama was slated to deliver his plan for jobs. It probably included a plea to extend the current middle-class payroll tax cut, which Republicans would nix, and a call for some infrastructure spending, which Republicans would laugh out loud at. Republicans notwithstanding, whatever Obama offered up probably wasn't going to be enough to contend with the worst economy since Bonnie ran around with Clyde.
Whatever weak cheese Obama offered up, Albert Pujols was almost certain to smack it high and deep to center field for a tape-measure shot into the upper deck.
In baseball, the most important stat for relievers was what happened with their inherited runners.