Polls out today, including one from the Washington Post and ABC News, show President Barack Obama in dire re-election circumstances.
More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, according to the Post/ABC survey:
The sense of deflation is particularly apparent among Democrats, with nearly two-thirds saying things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track. The percentage of Democrats saying things are headed in the right direction has cratered from 60 percent at the start of the year to 32 percent now.
Among those trying to stem any panic – and tamp down criticism from Obama’s left – is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. From an interview last week with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, on the topic of African-American disaffection:
”We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult for this president because of the historical nature of his presidency to have the kind of conversation that many in our community would like to have focused solely on African-American people.
“But I hope that that’s a political trap the president won’t walk into.
“If the president were to start speaking directly to African-Americans about what he’s doing for them, what he has done for them, as the first African-American president, that during a general election campaign, that could have very adverse results. And I believe that black people understand that….
“I’d also like to talk to my friends in my own community who are raising these issues, to make the point that if you weaken President Obama in the black community, you seriously hamper his chances of being re-elected. A small depression among the African-American electorate could be devastating for this president, and I think that black people understand that.
“And I’d also like folks on the other side of this conversation to tell me who the alternative is that’s going to do such a better job for black people. Will it be Michele Bachmann? Will it be Mitt Romney? Will it be Rick Perry?
“Are those the individuals who are going to feel so much more deeply about the African-American people? So it’s time to start having a conversation when we compare the policies of President Obama to the alternatives. We’ve been comparing this president to the Almighty long enough.”
Both Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston will show up this weekend at a coastal gathering of the Legislative Black Caucus, reports Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News. However, Peterson says the governor and the speaker will be gone by the time African-American lawmakers take up the recent redistricting session – a hot topic among Democrats.
Also in the Savannah Morning News today is an op-ed piece in which U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who was drawn out of his district during the special session of the Legislature, discovers a new phrase for ruling Republicans in the state Capitol:
In town hall meeting after town hall meeting, folks all across our state told the Atlanta powerbrokers that they wanted to see legislative and congressional districts that made more sense. You told them that you wanted new districts that were drawn clearer, with understandable lines that kept communities together and prioritized local concerns.
Well, it doesn’t take a political scientist to see that these requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Instead of listening to you, the Atlanta legislators used their computers to draw maps based on the best political outcome for them. It’s no excuse that the other side did it when they were in power, because at the end of the day, it’s the American people who suffer from this ongoing game. Instead of districts that represent communities as a whole, we have districts that represent the extremes of both political parties.
A last vestige of the administration of Gov. Sonny Perdue is headed for the scrap heap, notes Walter Jones of Morris News Service:
It was called the 65 Percent Solution because it required local school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budget on classroom instruction.
At the time Perdue borrowed the idea from the founder of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, the average Peach State district allocated 63.3 percent to the classroom.
Conservatives liked the idea because it was a way for them to support increased classroom spending — to rise to 65 percent — while not boosting taxes. It seemed the only detractors would be administrators who would be forced to defend bureaucratic overhead.
It was one of the few specific proposals Perdue campaigned on, and when he won handily, the General Assembly passed it into law.
Now, a panel of lawmakers and educators has voted unanimously … to abolish the spending minimum. Even the lawmakers who had originally voted for Perdue’s 65 Percent Solution wound up supporting its repeal.
Of Georgia’s 180 school systems, only 56 met the requirement, while just 14 percent earned exemption because of superior student performance. The rest of the districts enjoyed annual waivers from the State Board of Education.
The panel that recommended dumping the 65 percent solution is a subcommittee of a commission making revisions to the state’s formula for funding public education. The subcommittee was chaired by State School Superintendent John Barge, whose 2010 GOP campaign for the nomination wasn’t supported by the exiting Perdue.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider