Monday, September 6, 2010

Discontent with Obama is misplaced

By Hilliard Lackey

President Barack Obama currently has an approval rating of 42% which is identical to what President Ronald Reagan had at the same point on the second Labor Day of his first term in office in 1982. History has proven that discontent with Reagan was misplaced and the White House is saying the same about popular opinion against Obama.

“It’s the economy, stupid”
Indeed, James Carville’s historic concoction for Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992 may be the saving grace for the Obama Administration or its death knell. Until and unless there is a significant dip in unemployment and a significant rise in economic activity, opinion polls will reflect discontent with the leadership.

Vickie Kraft of Regent University has put together a rather comprehensive treatise on discontent and its misapplication. She holds that discontent distorts the past and destroys the present. Bold assertions but premises rooted in Exodus 15:24. Human nature is fickle and people have short memories. In the case of the Biblical example, the Hebrews apparently quickly forgot being freed from over 400 years of bondage, crossing the Red Sea, and being set on a course to the Promised Land. Instead, they focused on the state of the economy, their present lack of food and water, and blamed leadership.

The American people just may be undergoing a similar reaction to what was and what is. President Obama inherited two wars and a woeful state of affairs with respect to the economy. He has reduced the war efforts to one war and instituted corrective measures to turn the economy around that so far have managed to stop the downward spiral but not yet produced a noticeable upturn. The “Promised Land” can be seen from the mountain top but not from the lowlands. Thus, discontent runs rampant to the point of a 42% approval rating.

Discontent is not necessarily a naturally occurring groundswell based on real or even imagined reactions to the state of affairs. In today’s political climate even in the best of times, discontent is what the party not in power concocts, promotes, and uses as a platform to regain power. This struggle between the two parties pushes and pulls the uncommitted voting public to the left or right depending on how they feel at the moment.

The ploy is to find something that can be used as a “whipping boy” or “scapegoat” to attract attention. The economy is the present “lightning rod.”

The party on the inside is saying remember who created this situation that we inherited. Look what we are doing to fix it and remember that it takes time to remedy. The party on the outside is asking the people to look at the current state of affairs and blame the elected leadership. Like in Exodus 15:25, people have short memories and point fingers.

History can be kind as well as cruel. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and summarily led Americans out of the Great Depression. No, it was not instantaneous but a methodical, even-paced transition from a flat lined state of affairs to an upward spiral. In the end, Americans were singing songs about the man. Maybe we were so united during World War II that no one dared think of the frivolous shortcomings of the womanizing paraplegic. No disparaging words from the “outside” party could lessen his appeal to those basking in the glory of his leadership.

The Naked Truth: President Obama’s low approval rating is on a par with previous presidents presiding over a sick economy left by their predecessors at the same point in their first term. People have short memories and whether good or bad attribute what is happening to who is in office. Interestingly, the American public can and will react favorably to an upturn in the economy. Presidents’ approval ratings tend to parallel employment upswings and boosts in the economy. James Carville may have been right when he said “It’s the economy stupid.”

--Dr. Hilliard Lackey is a Columnist and Professor of Urban Higher Education, History and Geography

Note from the editor: Dr. Lackey's "The Naked Truth" column will start appearing on this blog, by special permission. I am greatly honored by his decision to allow me post these in my blog, and I thank him! There is no doubt that Dr. Lackey is not a redneck, remedial or otherwise, but in appreciation of his generosity, I'm making him an honorary remedial redneck, so that he can enjoy all the wonderful perks the rest of us enjoy (for the irony-impaired, that is what passes for a joke from me). Dr. Lackey writes some great columns, so....enjoy!

“Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt” or “Franklin D. Roosevelt, The Poor Man’s Friend.”

Otis Jackson and Washington Phillips

Why’d you like Roosevelt? Weren’t no kin
Why’d you like Roosevelt? Weren’t no kin
Why’d you like Roosevelt? Weren’t no kin
Lord God Almighty, he’s the poor man’s friend

Year of nineteen forty-five
A good president laid down and died
I knew how all of the poor people felt
When they received the message we lost Roosevelt
In his life there were all indications
At Warm Springs Georgia he received salvation
Listen friend, don’t you rush
Elizabeth Shimano she grabbed the brush
She dipped it in water and began to paint
Looked at the president and began to faint
She never painted a picture for him at night
Knew that the president didn’t look right
The time of day it was twelve o’clock
Tell me that Elizabeth had to stop
Great God almighty she started too late
That’s why they call this that unfinished portrait
A little bit later, about one-thirty
Had a cerebral hemorrhage and the world looked muddy
They called Atlanta and Washington too
Like zigzag lightning the call went through
They called long distance to notify his wife
Dr Bruin said he died at three thirty-five
Great God Almighty weren’t no bells to tollin’
But in less than thirty minutes the world was in mournin’

And I cried about Roosevelt (weren’t no kin)
I cried about Roosevelt (weren’t no kin)
I cried about Roosevelt (weren’t no kin)
Great God Almighty was the poor man’s friend

Only two presidents that we ever felt
Were Abraham Lincoln and Roosevelt
Way back yonder in the olden days
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves
Roosevelt’s administration Congress assembled
First time in history ‘ppointed a Negro general
General Benjamin O Davis I’m trying to relate
First Negro general of the United States
After Dorie Miller had shown his skill
They kept sending him to sea until he got killed
Then Roosevelt said that “I’ll back the attack”
Appointed a Negro captain over white and black
This qualified man was Hugh Mulzac
Racial prejudice he tried to rule out
Invited Negro leaders into the White House
He advocated the fair practice of labor
To let the poor man know he was our emancipator
Made Madame Bethune the First Lady of the land
And made part of his will to Mr Prettyman
He endorsed inventions of Dr Carver
This is why that I say he was an earthly father
Cause he took my feet out of the miry clay
Haven’t had to look back at the WPA

That’s why I liked Roosevelt (weren’t no kin)
That’s why I liked Roosevelt (weren’t no kin)
That’s why I liked Roosevelt (weren’t no kin)
Lord God Almighty was the poor man’s friend

Well, Hoover’s administration Congress assembled
All of the poor folk began to tremble
The rich would ride in the automobile
Depression made poor people rob and steal
Well, look next door at our beloved neighbor
Wasn’t getting anything for their hard labor
But great God almighty they were moonshine stilling
Brought about a crime wave, robbing and killing
After Hoover made the poor man moan
Roosevelt stepped in, gave us a comfortable home

It was sad about Roosevelt
It was sad about Roosevelt
It was sad about Roosevelt

Well, I’ve told you the history of Roosevelt’s life
Now he’s done with his grief and strife
Great God Almighty but he left a sweet wife
Have been so worried since she was a girl
After Roosevelt’s death what would become of the world
She notified her son across the sea
“Don’t get worried about poor me
But keep on fighting for victory
Your father is dead boys, you all are grown
Wouldn’t worry ’bout your father but the world is in mournin’

It was sad about Roosevelt
It was sad about Roosevelt
It was sad about Roosevelt

Well, God Almighty knew just what was best
He knew that the president he needed a rest
His battle done fought, vict’ry done won
Our problems have just begun
Your burden get heavy and you don’t know what to do
Call on Jesus, he’s a president too

It’s sad about Roosevelt
It’s sad about Roosevelt
It’s sad about Roosevelt
Lord God Almighty was a poor man’s friend

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