TULSA, Okla. — We may be in Oklahoma, but here in the American heartland, it’s not “OK” anymore. Though thousands of fans — here for the fifth of eight Sean Hannity Freedom Concerts — are fired up to support our troops serving in harm’s way, they are anything but enthusiastic about what’s happening in Washington. Perhaps that’s because so many of us — including the millions of Americans now unemployed, underemployed and struggling to keep their homes out of foreclosure — remember President Barack Obama’s promise in February that “jobs will be our No. 1 focus in 2010.”
Pollsters and pundits across the political spectrum are having a field day analyzing the Obama administration’s plummeting popularity — and the likely consequences for the midterm elections less than 80 days away. These “experts” suggest all manner of reasons that the O-Team in particular and Democrats in general are in such serious trouble. The kindest explanations offered by Freedom Concert fans run the gamut from “Obama has the attention span of a fruit fly” to “they are wearing blinders and earplugs.”
Whether Obama and his cronies on Capitol Hill are suffering from attention-deficit disorder, ideological blindness or both may not matter. Whatever the diagnosis, the majority of Americans appear to have decided on a cure, and they have been shouting it out at town hall meetings and tea party gatherings: “Throw the rascals out!”
That’s certainly not a new paradigm or even a novel slogan. But what is new is the unprecedented collapse in Obama’s personal standing and his promises of “hope” and “change.” In every public opinion poll, Obama now has less than 50 percent approval ratings. Republicans and independents running for office are tying their Democratic opponents to Obama administration policies — even in tiny mayoral and sheriff races. Democratic congressional seats traditionally considered “safe” are now up for grabs.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to members of the president’s party. His radical agenda may have been carefully disguised during the 2008 campaign season, but it became amply evident once he was in office. His anti-Israel foreign policy, the never-ending “grand apology tour” of world capitals and commitments to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan alarmed pro-defense Democrats right from the start. Then, aided and abetted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he whipped members of his party into supporting costly bailouts, government seizure of businesses, so-called “stimulus” spending bills and a dramatic restructuring of American health care that threatens to bankrupt our children.
None of this has helped create new private-sector jobs, and the American people know it. And in case anyone needed a reminder, this week we were treated to a staggering 500,000 new claims for unemployment — the highest number in nine months. So much for jobs being the Democrats’ “No. 1 focus in 2010.”
What is astonishing is how inept Obama and his supposedly “self-disciplined” and “thoughtful” administration have proved to be at capitalizing on opportunities. Their incompetent handling of everything, from their plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to their trying radical Islamic terrorists in Manhattan to their response to the Gulf oil spill, has become part of the opposition mantra. The president’s decision to bring a federal lawsuit against the state of Arizona for attempting to secure its border with Mexico and his support for building a mosque in New York City just a few hundred yards from ground zero are but the latest gaffes that will redound to the disadvantage of his party’s candidates.
Unfortunately for the O-Team, it isn’t getting much help from its “progressive” allies. This week, Pelosi decided she wanted to investigate opponents of the Manhattan mosque. Yet she was remarkably silent about this week’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the 2006 Stolen Valor Act. In their edict from San Francisco, the judges overturned the conviction of Xavier Alvarez — an elected official in California — for lying about being a U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor recipient. By ruling that such falsehoods are constitutionally protected free speech, the jurists took a slap at every member of the U.S. armed forces and military veteran.
But offending our military may not matter to the O-Team because tens of thousands of men and women on active duty may not get to vote in this year’s elections anyway. It turns out that the Justice Department won’t reveal how many or which states are not abiding with a federal law requiring military members overseas to have 45 days to cast their absentee ballots. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment, or MOVE, Act requires states to comply or apply for a waiver so that military personnel in harm’s way won’t be disenfranchised. In response to requests for information on which states are not in compliance, the O-Team says it is “fully committed” to ensuring military personnel overseas “have the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted.” In other words: “Trust us to focus.” Right.
There is some good news, however. Thanks to the “surge” that Obama once opposed, the last U.S. combat unit in Iraq — the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division — is heading home two weeks early. At least they will be back in Fort Lewis, Wash., in time to vote.