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ScissorTales: President Obama reaping what he has sown

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: November 2, 2013

LEADING up to his first election victory in 2008 and soon after, when the dreams were grand and the rhetoric soared, Barack Obama's popularity soared, too. Today, not so much.

Obama's approval rating is at an all-time low. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this week showed only 42 percent of Americans approve of his job performance — a 5-point drop from early October. Of those surveyed, 51 percent disapprove of his performance, which is tied for Obama's all-time high disapproval.

For the first time in the poll's history, Obama's personal approval ratings were lower than his disapproval numbers — 41 percent approved on a personal level, 45 percent disapproved.

Apparently, Americans have grown weary of five years of Obama's aloof, divisive and always intensely partisan ways. They were on display Wednesday in Boston where the president said Republicans were “grossly misleading” regarding Americans being dropped from their health insurance plans because of his health care law.

Really? It wasn't Republicans who promised Americans that they could keep their health plans if they liked them. That was Obama, who said it repeatedly before and after the law was passed. Now Republicans, rightfully so, are calling him out because people on the individual market are being told their plans are being dropped because they don't comply with Obamacare.

The president's advice to those folks? “Just shop around in the new marketplace,” he said in Boston. “That's what it's for.” No wonder his numbers continue to plummet.

Back in the game

Kathy Taylor's bid to reclaim the Tulsa mayor's chair that she voluntarily surrendered after one term is being affirmed by the man who served as Taylor's boss before she ran for mayor the first time. Gov. Brad Henry named Taylor state secretary of commerce during his first term, which began in 2003. Now, ex-Gov. Henry is openly supporting Taylor to replace Dewey Bartlett as mayor. This effectively echoes the Bartlett campaign's efforts to tie Taylor to Barack Obama. Henry was an early supporter of Obama in 2008 and is now doing commercials promoting Obamacare. Henry remains popular, but we doubt he would have been so enthusiastic about Obama had he not been a term-limited lame duck in 2008. The Tulsa mayoral election is Nov. 12. Henry's wife, Kim, meantime, is serving as campaign chairwoman for Freda Deskin, a Democrat who wants to unseat Republican state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi. We'll see how far the Henrys' influence will take their chosen candidates.

What's the point?

The superintendent of schools in Broken Arrow wants his colleagues to pursue a vote of “no confidence” in state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi. “It has become quite evident that it is time to strike,” Jarod Mendenhall said in an email sent last weekend to administrators in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas. It's unclear exactly what would be accomplished by such a move, given that Barresi holds a statewide elected office. Oklahoma voters chose Barresi for the job in 2010. Next year, voters will show at the ballot box just how confident they are in her abilities. Mendenhall's district recently put together a 22-page publication that criticizes education reform efforts, particularly A-F grading for schools, which Barresi strongly supports. Patrons in the BA district might want to ask Mendenhall how it is he would allocate staff time on such an undertaking, especially given the challenges we hear so much about in public schools related to manpower and funding shortages.

Claim misses the Mrs.

The latest blowback over voter ID laws, like most of the opposition before it, is an empty claim of discrimination. This time, women are the focus because their surnames often change when they marry. This means a new last name and the need for updating of ID cards. Previous but unfounded claims about voter ID laws include the argument that they discriminate against minorities. Election results have exposed this argument as a fraud: Barack Obama had no trouble getting minority votes in states requiring identification for voters. Voting is a right rather than a privilege, say the opponents of ID laws. So is getting Social Security benefits (and paying into the system). Women sometimes must update their Social Security information upon marriage and we haven't heard anyone claim that this unfairly targets females. Voter ID laws are popular and sensible. Every argument thrown against them has failed to hold water. It's still easy to vote even without an ID card that precisely matches one's name. It should never be too easy to exercise the right to vote.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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