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Presidential Doldrums

5:01 PM, Jul 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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The numbers are down and declining, as Ed Carson of IBD writes:

President Obama's approval rating tumbled to a record low as Americans reacted to the government's sweeping surveillance programs and other scandals, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index. The Presidential Leadership Index fell to 43.2 from 48.9 a month earlier. The 11.7% slide was the worst since Obama took office. For the fourth straight month, the reading stood below 50, signaling disapproval. 

The administration's difficulties explaining and justifying the activities of the NSA and IRS must certainly be factors here.  And one doesn't really need to consult poll numbers to know that there is a spirit of demoralization abroad in the land.  This, in a season when we should be celebrating our revolution, founding, and abiding spirit of optimism and possibility.

The fundamental requirements for American contentment, as any candidate for high office knows, are peace and prosperity.  Incumbents are re-elected when citizens believe these define current conditions.  Challengers ride into office in their absence.

Consider, then, that the war in Afghanistan drags on with no legitimate hope of either a prompt exit or victory.  And that, as Brenda Cronin writes in the Wall Street Journal.  

Four years into recovery, parts of the economy have strengthened but real median household income remains below prerecession levels.

In Washington, meanwhile, the concern is carbon pollution ... or immigration ... or gun control.    

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