Results from a Quinnipiac University poll earlier this month showed that President Barack Obama is considered the worst U.S. president since World War II. Worse than George W. Bush and worse even than Jimmy Carter.
If history is any guide, President Obama’s numbers will rise a bit after he leaves office, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be regarded more highly than any of his postwar peers.
His troubles have been well documented. Iraq is imploding, Afghanistan remains an open sore, Central American children are swarming across our southern border and the economy still is recovering from a historic downturn. Add to those the administration’s scandals: IRS snooping, NSA leaks, Fast and Furious and Benghazi, to name a few. Some are more legitimate than others, but they all undermine the president’s credibility and his ability to carry out his duties.
Congress hasn’t helped, and the president hasn’t hesitated to blame lawmakers, particularly Republicans, for the lack of progress. That’s hardly admirable given his own flaws, but a majority of Americans share his disdain of Congress.
One poll after another, including Quinnipiac and Gallup polls, have tracked chronic disappointment —sometimes bordering on disgust — with Congress in recent years. A Gallup poll in June found that just 4 percent of Americans had a “great deal” of faith in Congress. As bad as that sounds, it’s worth noting that the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, which means that perhaps no American last month had a great deal of faith in Congress.
What’s more, just 7 percent of us had either a great deal or “a lot” of faith in Congress. Not only did that fall below faith in the presidency (20 percent), the 7 percent was the lowest figure for any American institution Gallup has polled in more than 40 years.
To be fair, Congress fared a little better in the most recent poll, but we doubt many lawmakers stumping for re-election this season will boast about approval ratings in the teens — a number lower than the percentage that want to replace every member of both chambers.
While Congress relishes the president’s low approval ratings and the president does what he can to exploit dissatisfaction with Congress, neither the executive nor legislative branch is paying enough attention to the harm that their collective ineffectiveness is doing domestically and internationally.
One might conclude that, blinded by partisanship and their respective agendas, they’re competing to see which will alienate the largest percentage of the people they represent.