A recent survey of British scholars shows that our esteemed cousins on the other side of the Atlantic would rate President Obama as the eigth top President of all time. That's if his second term were to take place today. For the sake of comparison, drum roll please, George W. Bush comes in at #31 – but, did you not see that coming? What's funnier is that ranking is also the worst president since Warren Harding presided over the Teapot Dome Scandal. Yes: it's worse than Richard Nixon, too.
Americans, on the other hand, are actually less approving of the job the president is doing in spite of more than 700,000 new jobs created in just the last three months. A recent CBS/NYTimes poll shows his approval rating at 41percent.
There is a reason for this alleged increased disapproval. Conventional wisdom is pointing to rising gas prices at the moment. And, I use the term alleged because other public opinion surveys (Gallup and Real Clear Politics), albeit less newsworthy, show Obama's approval as staying relatively constant over the last month.
The reason Obama's approval ratings might slip is the constant demagoguing of Obama's accomplishments and character from an oddly stereotypical cast of Obama-haters: Franklin Graham, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
They have taken turns accusing Obama of having some alien theology, of being a Muslim, of wanting $9 gas, and of wanting to end Medicare. Really? Who believes this nonsense? Oh wait – probably the Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi who are more likely to believe that Obama is a Muslim than believe in evolution.
Given the chance, they will blame him for 17-year cicadas and solar flares, too.
The fact that the GOP contenders and their acolytes focus on these non-issues ("red herrings" in the parlance of eminent political scholar V.O. Key) is because many people see it as absurd to batter Obama over an improved economy. Everyone wants lower unemployment and faster economic growth, but given the positive trends in economic data, the Republican echo chamber is forced into awkward disassembling.
For the most part, Obama has only countered the GOP hostility incrementally. For instance, few have seen his campaign's 17-minute campaign documentary. Obama's lead in the money race should ensure that once his campaign hits full-stride Americans might have actual fair and balanced coverage of the presidential race.