It's been a roller-coaster year for the president. From the Debt talks to Osama bin Laden to poor jobs numbers to battles with Congress to DADT, he has ridden a wave up and down in popularity and effectiveness. Depending on your point of view, either he keeps bouncing back, or he keeps getting knocked back (sometimes by the very people that should be supporting him). His current trend is moving in a more postive direction.
Some of that is not of his own doing. Some of that is the Republicans seeming to willingly shoot themselves in the foot in Congress, and a lackluster crop of presidential candidates. The ennui in Republican circles has been so bad, they were literally begging NJ Gov Chris Chistie to run. After he turned them down, perennial candidate Sarah Palin did too. With Romney, Cain (and possibly Ron Paul) left to battle it out for the nomination, the Republican voters let out a collective yawn and hope 2016 is better. Polling shows the president ahead of all the potential candidates
The president is also well-set with campaign funding. He currently has $70M in cash
ready to go, and the first primary is still months away. On some level, that is the advantage of the incumbent, but it is a good indicator that there are plenty of people willing to put their wallet where their mouth is in support of the president. Undoubtedly, most of the money for the Republican contender will go to PACs (from the Koch brothers, et al) for 3rd party attack ads, so the road will not be an easy one, but although numerous small donations -vs- a few large ones translates to equivalent funds being spent, it shows lopsided support in the voting booth where it really matters.
Currently, the common wisdom is that Romney will prevail in the primaries. That is reinforced when FOX News uses him to frame a question during a White House presser
President Barack Obama called out Fox News' Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry Thursday as a "spokesperson for Mitt Romney."
During a joint news conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the president allowed Henry to asked the first question.
"President Obama, I wanted to get your first reaction to the Iranian terror plot," Henry said. "Your secretary of state called it a dangerous escalation. What specific steps will you take to hold Iran accountable? Especially when Mitt Romney charged last week — quote — 'If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president. You have that president today.'"
"Well, I didn’t know that you were the spokesperson for Mitt Romney," the president replied with a quick smile.
In lesser times, I think the president would not have made the quip, or at least without the smile. This time, however, he let the FOX News reporter hang himself, then pointed out to everyone that the reporter had done just that. Fair and balanced? Wait for FOX to claim that the president attacked the reporter, in 3... 2... 1...
“I think everyone can see that he decided not to engage with Mitt Romney and decided to kind of come after me a little bit."
Clue to Mr. Henry: He is there to respond to questions, not "engage" with a candidate that hasn't actually been selected by the party yet. He will do that during the presidential debates next fall (and wipe the floor with whomever it might be).
The poll numbers, the actions in Congress to distract from their horrendous inaction on the jobs problem, and Republican propaganda outfit FOX News all show a Republican party unable to drag the president down into the basement. In fact - the more they try to use their dirty tricks, it seems that the more people finally "get it", and reject their non-leadership. The desperation from the Republicans shows that the president's standing - although not stellar - is stronger than their grandstanding and gross mismanagement. Their frustration is palpable.
Is my schadenfreud showing?