President Barack Obama

Fewer than 40 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s performance in office, based on an average of eight prominent polls. It’s Obama’s lowest approval rating so far, and it comes amid continuing problems with the Affordable Care Act. If the experience of other second term presidents is any guide, it will be very hard for him to bounce back. What does the president’s falling popularity bode for his effectiveness in the remainder of his term? And how much are Obama’s current problems likely to tarnish his legacy?

Obama Hits Lowest-Ever Approval Ratings 5 December,2013forum

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University
Chris LeHane, Democratic consultant, partner at Fabiani and LeHane and former aide to the Clinton White House
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, political commentator, contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and author of "Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions Pastimes and Politics"

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Have seen polls that say Congress has even lower poll ratings. So what does that say???

    It grieves me that President Obama PROMISED a open honest look at all he was going to do. Yet so many many promises have been broken. Gitmo is still operating, we are still in a war, the ACA system is a mess, no immigration reform, still higher unemployment numbers that expected, and he doesn’t seem comfortable dealing with we the people, unless its in some type of organized pseudo campaign event.

    • Ehkzu

      The ONLY alternative to President Obama, warts and all, would have been President Romney. Gitmo would be still operating, we would still be in a war, the ACA system would have been replaced with Republicare–i.e. the unfair and unsustainable “system” that the ACA is replacing, there would be no immigration reform, and vastly higher unemployment numbers than “we” expected, and he wouldn’t seem comfortable dealing with “we the people” unless in some kind of organized pseudo campaign event.

      Please describe how Romney would have gotten you more that you want than Obama. It is hard for me to imagine how any Democratic president wouldn’t have been a huge improvement over any Republican president at this juncture, given the GOP’s capture by the strange bedfellows of Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe and the revanchist Confederate States of America.

      • Kathryn Hopping


      • Beth Grant DeRoos

        Could care less about Romney, since he was NOT my choice. The issue is President Obama and so many failed promises. And as I noted Congess has even lower ratings so what does that say????

      • Skip Conrad

        Under Romney, things would be no worse, than under Obama.

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    Charles Krauthammer?

    sorry guys, i’ll be listening to my Binnall of America podcast for Forum’s first hour today. Happy Holidays, steph

  • Ehkzu

    Seems like the polls don’t discriminate between those who are unhappy with President Obama because he isn’t liberal enough vs. those who are unhappy with him because he isn’t conservative enough. But this distinction must be taken into account when extrapolating to the 2014 election and beyond.

  • Ben Rawner

    I think the president had been the best ever president with foreign policy events. What does ur panel think he should do about Syria beyond getting rid of their WMDs.

  • Robert Thomas

    What is the point of this tedious exercise?

  • Ellis

    Dear Michael,

    Dr. Krauthammer is missing the point
    that the Affordable Care Act should have included a Medicare for all
    option. ACA is a Rube Goldberg contraption designed for private
    insurance companies to extract more wealth from the Americans.

    Secondly, Dr. Krauthammer is an “old
    school” Zionist sympathizer and he is unhappy that a possible
    option in the Middle East is peace between Iran and the Western
    Powers. He clearly does not hold Israel to the same standard of
    Nuclear Weapons transparency or that Israel has been creeping toward
    and rapidly becoming a full blown “Apartheid System” in

  • thames

    Every now and then, the most idiotic perspective that is the Conservative segment of this country, rises to dominate the narrative. The problem is not this great President. It has been Republicans. Republicans gave us Bush, then supported him during 8 horrific years. Bush LIED to submerge this country into two unnecessary wars, a black hole of spending. Thousands of lives lost, millions of families decimated. This while this country was bleeding to death. Enter President Obama. Opposed like no President in the history of this nation by the most pathetic representation of Republicans in Congress, ever. Sure, his goals, were they to be implemented as he wants, would succeed. Fearing this success, Republicans have been reduced to Neanderthal obstructionists, complete with a negative narrative that strives to find fault in every single move this President makes to benefit all, not just the rich. The President cannot act alone. This is how our government is structured. So sick of the Conservative narrative that ignores Bush, but tries desperately to pretend as if the problems that Republicans have facilitated for 20 years, can only be blamed on President Obama. I trust Obama, and feel that unobstructed, his effect on this country would be extraordinarily positive. More so than it is today. Excellent job, Mr. President! Republicans, you continue to prove yourselves worthless.

    • Skip Conrad

      Your statement smacks of scapegoating. The Democrats hold the majority of political power, while the Republicans are a minority. Bush could not have gone to war without the support of prominent Democrats like Kerry, Clinton, Reid, Schumer, and Feinstein. Yet he was opposed by Republican like Paul, Chaffee, and well as Democrats such as Byrd and Lee.
      How could Democrats be so stupid? Obama main problems include his lack of experience, and his oratory skills (i.e. bs-ing and outright lying)

  • Bill_Woods

    The cry of ‘racism’ seems to be the go-to excuse for Obama’s falling popularity, but nobody just discovered in the last few months that Obama is black.

    • Ehkzu

      So true. Race no longer plays a significant role in hiring, advancement, housing rentals, rates of arrest/incarceration/length of prison sentences, or politics. All the polls showing an increase in racism due in part to Republican exploitation of racist tropes must be part of a librul plot, including Pew and AP polls. And academics discussing this increase, here for example:

      Well you know them college perfessers are all libruls so you can ignore what they say.

      And all that stuff about the Republicans aggressively suppressing black voters through gerrymandering (“packing and stacking”), discriminatory voter ID requirements, eliminating early voting to prevent “souls to the polls” campaigns, and even mailing fliers to black households giving them the wrong day to vote…well, that’s all librul lies.

      The (white) South shall rise!

  • Selostaja

    Politics today shows that being Prom Queen is more important than being the class philosopher. Divorced Moms struggling with their limited means are never popular when they try to instill discipline thru budgeting and teaching social responsibility thru shared sacrifice, while the parent who doesn’t live at the home is always the hero because he can criticize without limit. I still support Obama because I realize he is not all knowing and all powerful, that he is human, working in a hostile environment.

  • Kathryn Hopping

    I concur with previous callers disappointment with NPR. Your constant use of false equivalency is unprofessional. Example your use of krauthammer . As for the aca where are your reports on the sabotage efforts? Where is your report on boeners false claim of sign up difficulty? Sorry guys but i wonder how much the David koch money has changed your ability to report objectively. Talk about lack of transparency. No more donations to kqed from me.

  • Ehkzu

    Democrats need to continually bear in mind that the Republican Ministry of Propaganda has two fundamental goals, not one. The obvious one is to keep Republican voters so angry that they won’t even listen to moderate Republicans much less Democrats, so angry that they’ll all vote in off-year elections as well as Presidential ones.

    The less obvious one is to prevent Democratic voters from voting. This goal is just as important as the first one, because they can’t really get Democratic voters to vote Republican, and there are more Democrats than Republicans. So to win they MUST keep Democrats from voting. Voter suppression helps, but they also need to make Democratic voters depressed–so depressed they won’t bother to go to the polls.

    So in discussions like this you need to see how the GOP Ministry of Propaganda and its mouthpieces pursue both tasks diligently.

    • Skip Conrad

      You seem paranoid.

  • Dr Sook

    Perhaps Krasny was cowed by Krauthammer’s status and brief role as a psychiatrist (never practiced)- but he seemed insufficiently informed to make a useful discussion.Krauthammer makes the ‘lie’ that everyone could keep their insurance plans his central argument in denouncing Obama. Questions Krasny failed to raise:
    – what % of Americans were effected by this ?
    – why were these plans ‘dropped’ if not primariliy because they threatened the security of current beneficiaries (i.e. one injury can double your premium and -because of past right to deny pre-existing conditions- you couldn’t cahnge to a different less costly insurance plan).

    Obama’s error effected a small % of the small & of people who buy their own health insurance. I personally was trapped in Blue Cross PPO for decades after an injury that proved minor but doubled my premium.

    Another GOP complaint is the mandate & the absence of a la carte coverage. Without everyone ‘in’ there cannot be a large enough risk pool to preserve solvency. Without a basic standard of benefits, a similar principle of capitalist pragmatics cannot be achieved.
    All insurance requires a collective shared risk & benefit- for cars, homes, disability, etc.
    The GOP nay-sayers must be held accountable for the facts of insurance markets as well as the proportionate rxn to a web site glitch or the President’s failure to include a wonkish footnote to his promotion of ACA.

  • Menelvagor

    that list of threats the president gets–i doubt very very much that even 99% of it is authentic. The MIC is going to manufacture a lot of nonsense for job security. Its all bogus. And easily solved–stop bombing babies. And start making friends.

    The wolf and the lamb.
    One day a wolf saw a lamb drinking by a stream. He decided to attack her but he needed a plausible excuse. “Scoundrel!” he cried, running up to her, “How dare you muddle the water that I am drinking,”
    -“Please forgive me,” said the lamb meekly, “but I don’t see how I could have done anything to the water since it runs from you to me, not from me to you.”
    `”Be that as it may,” the WOLF retorted, “but you know it was only a year ago that you called me bad names behind my back.”
    –“Oh, Sir,” said the lamb, “I wasn’t even born a year ago.”
    -“Well,” the wolf asserted, “if it wasn’t you, it was your mother, and that’s all the same to me. Anyway, its no use trying to argue me out of my supper.”
    And without another word, he fell upon the helpless lamb, and tore her to pieces.

    America wants its supper. The NSA, the CIA, the FBI. the DEA, Blackwater, Cheney, Lockheed, Boeing, GE, the NRA, the Zionist movement, Wall Street, the banks–they want their GD supper.

    True or false, it doesn’t matter if something was said or done 200 years ago or 2000 years–i made up my mind. Iran must die. Arabs must die. The middle class must die. Democracy must die. They made up their mind. Obama is a puppet, a vehicle, a toy, a Tom….as is all Presidents. They are CEOs chosen by the board. not the people.

    The interests of the US have NOTHNG to do with the people of the US.

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