Barack Obama’s George Bush Problem
Barack Obama has a George Bush problem. This is not a W problem, but an H. W. problem.Back in 1991, George H. W. Bush’s approval rating went up to between 89% and 91% in February of that year. He was on a high from winning the Iraq War.The Democrats were confounded and had no real answer to put up as an alternative. There was a free for all. But something started happening to President Bush — gravity in the polling.Despite the war success, the country was in the tank. Making matters worse, his base felt he’d sold them down the river exchanging tax increases after they’d read his lips for spending cuts that never materialized. The right wanted nothing to do with him and the left hated him.In short, after winning a war and seeing historic job approval ratings, his base decided he was a sell out and the left disagreed with his policies.His polling fell 30 points in about 4 months and further nosedived into the high twenties by July of 1992. It was the economy stupid — and the perception that George H. W. Bush was a terrific guy, but a terrible leader.Now we have this whining piece from Emorhoid pschy professor Drew Westen to this bit of contempt and pity from Dana Milbank. Both are about Barack Obama’s failure of leadership.A lot of people are looking to the election of 1980 and Carter vs. Reagan. Today, Bill McGurn goes there.But I maintain, and have for a while, that Barack Obama has a George H. W. Bush problem and the closest parallel is the election of 1992. But with either analogy, Barack Obama has a very real problem.