Fear in America

Citizens say their country is "out of control" -- and leadership is nowhere to be found.

20193bfc-943d-49dc-b9dd-eee2f768b4a8In Abraham Lincoln’s famous words, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” The American people have common sense. They cannot be fooled for long by the kind of pious pronouncements and half-truths from President Obama and his administration that they hear and read about virtually every day.

During the last six years, many Americans have sensed a steep decline in America’s prestige, military might and economic power in the world. They wake up every day to witness their country lurching from crisis to crisis in a rudderless ship.

Jihadists are on the march, unchecked by President Obama’s tepid responses. Russian President Vladimir Putin openly thumbs his nose at the United States under Obama’s leadership. Iran is edging ever closer to achieving its ambition of becoming a nuclear-armed power, while the Obama administration bumbles along with fruitless negotiations and weakening of sanctions. Ebola is spreading, while the president refuses to take the common sense step of banning commercial flights from the most affected countries. In fact, according to Judicial Watch, “the Obama administration is actively formulating plans to admit Ebola-infected non-U.S. citizens into the United States for treatment,” apparently without seeking congressional approval. President Obama is also reportedly planning to issue an executive order after the mid-term elections that would effectively grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in this country while the southern border remains vulnerable to the entry of terrorists and infected illegal immigrants. The economy remains shaky, characterized by stagnant household incomes and people giving up looking for work as the labor participation rate has declined to the lowest rate in 36 years. Add to all this the scandals about which the Obama administration has not been forthcoming, including the handling of events leading up to, during and following the jihadist attacks in Benghazi that claimed four American lives, the IRS’s politically motivated targeting of conservatives, the mess at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Fast-and-Furious.

Thus, it should be no surprise that, in a recent poll of likely voters in competitive U.S. House and Senate races reported on by Politico, 64% believed that “[t]hings in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” A whopping 84% of those polled believed that ISIS represents a threat to our homeland, despite assurances from the Obama administration that there is no credible information that ISIS plans to attack the homeland. When Americans see the brutality ISIS is capable of with their own eyes, and hear ISIS warn that “We Will Drown All of You in Blood” and that the jihadists will “raise the flag of Allah in the White House,” Americans have good reason to believe that things are getting out of control and that the Obama administration is either clueless or deceitful. ISIS is far better armed than al Qaeda was when it carried out its 9/11 attacks and has the advantage of hundreds of recruits from the West, including the United States, who can return home and wreak havoc.

Overall, 53% disapprove of President Obama’s performance as president while 47% approve, according to the poll published by Politico. Three times as many strongly disapproved than strongly approved of President Obama’s performance. While neither President Obama nor former President George W. Bush elicited much confidence in terms of being effective at managing the basic functions of the federal government, Bush edged out Obama by 38% to 35%, respectively.

President Obama’s signature domestic piece of legislation, Obamacare, fared poorly in the poll. More than twice as many of those polled believed that their quality of health care will be worse than better under Obamacare. Eight times as many believed that the amount of money they pay personally will increase than decrease under Obamacare.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week backs up the prevailing feeling among Americans that things are heading in the wrong direction. Sixty-five percent of those polled “said the country had taken a wrong turn, and only 25% said the U.S. was on the right path,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “The only time the public has felt worse was in October 2008, during the first, deep spasms of the recession.” As one retirement-age female Democrat from Iowa was quoted as saying in explaining why she thought the nation was on the wrong track:  “The wars, the bombings, the terrorism and that, this Ebola thing, that’s not good.

The results of a Rasmussen Reports survey published last week further confirm Americans’ deep concerns about the direction in which the country is heading. Sixty-five percent of likely voters polled believed that the country was on the wrong track while only 27% believed that the country was headed in the right direction. “[Seventy percent] of voters not affiliated with either major political party think the country is on the wrong track,” Rasmussen reported. Democrats and liberals were more inclined to believe the country was headed in the right direction, but by slim margins of 48% to 42% for Democrats and 48% to 40% for liberals.

When former President Jimmy Carter gave his so-called “malaise” speech in July 1979 in which he discussed the energy crisis the nation was then facing, he tried to address head-on what he described as a “crisis of confidence” among the American people. While not acknowledging that his own failed policies were a significant contributor to Americans’ loss of confidence in the future, at least he did not let fund-raising and golf games divert his attention from trying to directly address Americans’ concerns.

To be sure, Carter misdiagnosed the reasons for Americans’ loss of confidence. However, he did see that there was a fundamental feeling of deep unease in the land that the president as the leader of the country and the free world could not simply ignore. President Obama, on the other hand, is either in denial or casts about for false excuses. Indeed, he chose a fund-raising event last August to pronounce that the world was in much better shape than when he took office. He blamed the rise of social media for feeding Americans’ anxieties. He said that the “world has always been messy,” and that “we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.”

Barack Obama cannot even man up as much as Jimmy Carter tried to do 35 years ago, which is pathetic. Instead, he continues to insult the intelligence of the American people. But as the poll numbers reported by Politico demonstrate, the American people will not be fooled. They know in their guts that things are out of control and they have a pretty good idea why. They have decided to believe their own eyes and ears rather than the Obama administration’s double-talk.

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