America's mood and President Obama's poll numbers were awful long before Hillary aired her differences with her former boss.

America’s mood and President Obama’s poll numbers were awful long before Hillary aired her differences with her former boss.
Screen capture from 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft.

But the ill will toward Congress and President Barack Obama is nothing new, said Sarah Dutton, director of surveys for CBS News, which found near-historic lows for each party’s approval rating in its poll last week. “It’s been low for quite some time,” Dutton said of Congress’ approval rating. “However, it’s now lower than it was in previous midterm elections.” [Politico, 8.10.14]

THERE IS an overwrought op-ed in The Hill by Brent Budowsky that claims Hillary Clinton has hurt Democrats in 2014. It ignores every single poll over the past few months that reveals Americans are in a terrible mood, which has absolutely nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s most recent interview taking on President Obama‘s foreign policy.

Prognostications in August are useless, a time when most of America isn’t paying any attention to politics at all, let alone the midterm elections; especially when polling that precedes the latest progressive pot shots at Clinton ruin the theory.

Chuck Todd, speaking on Wednesday’s “Morning Joe” about a new NBC poll that shows 54% of Americans think President Obama is “unable to lead the country.” [Huffington Post, 6.18.14]

Using right-wing talking points against Hillary Clinton ignores that President Obama’s own poll numbers have absolutely nothing to do with Hillary Clinton or her honest assessment of her time at the State Department, which she recounts in Hard Choices, long before she began giving interviews.

President Obama’s polling, his connection with the American people, and the unraveling around the world is the reason Democrats are not campaigning with him in the midterms. Furthermore, midterm elections are notoriously rough for the incumbent president.

What’s Hillary Clinton supposed to do, and does anyone believe if the situation was reversed Barack Obama wouldn’t be doing the exact same thing? Chris Cilizza and just about everyone else make it a personal thing between the Clintons and the Obamas, which is irrelevant when you look at the practical political job that needs doing.

Hillary Clinton is laying out the case that George W. Bush was too hot, Obama is too cold on foreign policy, and she is just right.

Clinton’s a politician who will be announcing her run for the presidency in less than 6 months, at a time when the current Democratic president has hit his nadir in popularity, particularly on foreign policy. This isn’t personal. It’s politics.

What Budowsky and many other progressives are doing is no doubt delighting Republicans.

Whatever ails Democrats for 2014, however, is not Hillary Clinton’s doing, as every single poll this year proves.

Mr. Kohut said that all elections were basically a referendum on the times and that, more than five years after the recession and 2008 financial collapse, “we’ve got a chronic case of pessimism.” That leaves Democrats at a disadvantage, he said, despite Republicans’ record-low popularity, since “Democrats are seen as in charge because Obama is the president. I don’t think it’s more complicated than that.” [New York Times]

President Obama’s foreign policy pragmatism and realist penchant was rightly hailed as a tonic after the militaristic adventurism of President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. It simply has not worked since the Arab spring and the slowly rolling crisis eruptions across the globe became the norm, and the President has not adapted fast enough, because that’s not his strength.

Democrats aren’t relying on President Obama for the 2014 midterms. Given the public’s mood, why should they? They also have not been able to convince the strongest person on the Democratic team, First Lady Michelle Obama, to campaign for them instead.

Hillary Clinton told the truth, which she warned in the Diane Sawyer interview she was going to do. She found out that partisans in her own party don’t take to that very well, so her people issued a statement. She has to do it, but it was never going to be easy and this week we all found out just how hard it will be.

President Obama and his team have egos too, and right now they’re very insecure, as Obama and David Axelrod proved. The “fantasy” push back on Syria coming from Obama, and Axelrod’s tweet on Iraq.

It’s the polling they’re seeing, and that Hillary Clinton hit a nerve, so it’s understandable, but it does’t make Clinton wrong.

Clinton’s political interest in distancing herself from President Obama’s foreign policy is evident: a CBS News poll released last week showed that while 52 percent of Americans have at least some confidence in Mr. Obama’s ability to handle an international crisis, just 25 percent they have a lot of confidence — down 14 points from last September.

[CBS News]

As a liberal feminist, I find the partisan pot shots at Hillary Clinton, as predictable as they are, even worse than her blunt foreign policy views. She’s doing what any man would do as she prepares a run for the presidency, which simply must include some distance from the current Democratic president who’s poll numbers are in the crapper.

Come the fall, when people actually start paying attention to politics, after the pools have closed and vacations have ended, when the Clintons are on the campaign trail, both of them, all this will seem so silly. Why some Democrats think it’s important to rev up the Blame Hillary Caucus as summer wanes proves how myopic partisans are and how out of touch most of them are with what’s on the rest of America’s mind.

Working in Clinton’s favor is the fact that there appears to be no serious challenger to her in a primary, which, theoretically, allows her more leeway in positioning herself as a centrist of sorts. Of course, if Clinton did continue to antagonize the Obama forces and the liberal left, there is the possibility that someone on the sidelines right now — Elizabeth Warren, anyone? — could step forward although that remains very unlikely. – Chris Cilizza [Washington Post]

The Democrats who have a problem with Hillary Clinton should either find a 2016 candidate to represent them who can trumpet everything President Obama has done, no differences to be found, or enjoy August like everyone else and just chill out.