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Numbers show need for Obama, Clinton to worry

By From page A8 | June 22, 2014

A new poll released earlier this week reports that President Barack Obama’s approval rating continues to plummet. Some are calling it a disaster.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll hits the president on two fronts. His overall approval rating tied an all-time low – just 41 percent. But the tell-tale report puts his foreign policy rating at just 37 percent.

What makes the number even more disconcerting for Obama is that the poll was conducted before the latest push by terrorist organizations to take over more key cities in chaos-riddled Iraq.

The poll does reflect Obama’s handling of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and the release of five key Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant from Idaho who was captured by the Taliban after leaving his post while stationed in Afghanistan. Bergdahl spent the past five years as a Taliban prisoner until his release last month.

One has to wonder how this latest poll will translate to the approval rating of Hillary Clinton, who, by all accounts, wants to follow her former boss into the White House in 2016, if she can win the Democratic Party nomination two years from now.

Wait! Clinton is the subject of her own poll this week. It, too, is not overwhelmingly positive.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC polling organization released some numbers Wednesday that claim only 38 percent of registered voters would vote for Clinton if she ran in 2016, while 37 percent say they “definitely” would oppose her.

Among Democrats, 75 percent say they would vote for her, but among Republicans and independents those numbers change dramatically, with 70 percent and 40 percent, respectively, stating they would oppose her candidacy.

How much of her allegiance to President Obama’s policies has weighed negatively on Clinton is up for speculation, but Obama’s falling popularity cannot help Clinton if she continues to cling too tightly to his coat-tails.

She has her own baggage. Her role in the Benghazi, Libya killings is still up for debate. Her claim of responsibility, but not blame, is a political football to be kicked around. It still seems ludicrous that Susan Rice and not Hillary Clinton responded to press briefings immediately after that incident. It was political maneuvering at best.

Her just-released memoir, “Hard Choices,” hasn’t helped spike her approval ratings, according to The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. Maybe it’s the part about how “dead broke” she and former President Bill Clinton were when they exited the White House.

There is news this week that Hillary and Bill have quite a nest egg now, an incredible fortune that they are trying to shield from estate taxes through financial loopholes both opposed while serving in public office.

Apparently, what is good for the goose, is not good for the gander.

With a net worth somewhere between $5 million and $25.5 million – a number Hillary Clinton reported in 2012 when she left her secretary of state post – there is no doubt they are trying to skirt the estate tax edict that could force forfeiture of 40 percent of that wealth to someone – perhaps daughter Chelsea Clinton – who someday will inherit that fortune.

If Hillary Clinton really wants to serve in the White House, she needs to be more truthful about her role in the Benghazi cover up, quit trying to convince Americans that she is “just like us” while admitting she belongs to that elite class of politicians who run our government and, finally, distance herself from the policies of Barack Obama.

An initial suggestion: Be one of the first Democrats to demand a full investigation of those lost emails of Lois Lerner at the Internal Revenue Service, involving the targeting of conservative and progressive groups for their political beliefs.

That touch of leadership might give her a bump in polls that currently show she is losing momentum she so desperately needs if she has any hope of gaining the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Bill James is a former editor and publisher of the Daily Republic, now living in Meridian, Idaho, a suburb of Boise.

Bill James


Discussion | 38 comments

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 6:19 am

    Wow. More FOX-ism tripe suggesting there is something amiss for this Conservative from Idaho. Hillary has never said she's running for president. But supposition is what drives everything from the right. Bring facts Mr. James, folks bringing opinions such as yours fill these pages every day. What? You don't have them? Of course you don't...

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  • Larry WJune 22, 2014 - 7:57 am

    CD. It is a fact that the IRS targeted conservative groups and evidence of this attack was lost or destroyed intentionally. This should bother you but it does not. It is easier to go after the messenger. I guess that editorial bias is ok as long as it promotes your view.

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 8:07 am

    Larry W, is it a "fact" they only "targeted Conservative groups?" Really? Wasn't there an issue with some phony tax exempt status? That would be okay though right? There is more to the story and more groups were also investigated.

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  • Larry WJune 22, 2014 - 9:27 am

    CD. You added the word only, not me. But, the fact is that the IRS went after conservative groups with a few groups on the far left thrown in for good measure. If they had targeted mostly left leaning organizations, the press that were liberal leaning would have been reporting it and not letting it go.

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 9:49 am

    Larry W, tax advantages should not be sought illegally. They were and the guilty exposed. Everything after that is BS.

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  • Larry WJune 22, 2014 - 10:41 am

    You are assuming that the tea party tax exempt status was illegal. I just want all viewpoints out not just the ones that I or you might agree with. And I do not believe that the government should be doing this. Do you think that Glide Memorial Church has a bias? Of course they do.

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 10:54 am

    Larry W, I don't know how Glide got into this but they have been around a very long time and Pastor Williams has done a wonderful job caring for the less fortunate. I haven't assumed anything, the facts speak for themselves.

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  • Mike KirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 9:56 am

    The fact is that there were a lot more right-leaning political groups trying to trick the I.R.S., seeking the tax-exempt, anonymous status of a non-political "social" organization, than left-leaning groups. Pick your reason: Many of the wealthy donors to right-wing groups don't want to be known because they want to be thought of as good citizens, they don't want voters to know how much money they are supplying to these groups, the right-wing groups had been doing this for a longer time and were more experienced at gaming the system than the left, ... The right-wing spin doctors made the I.R.S. out to be the bad guys, rather than point out that they were just trying to do their job of ferreting-out the cheats and liars.

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  • Mike KirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 10:07 am

    Copied from the "Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting site: "Last Sunday, Abu Khattala was captured by US special forces in Benghazi as a suspect in the attacks. Two days later, the Times' Kirkpatrick (6/17/14) published a profile of Khattala recounting his remarks about the attackers' motives. Khattala also repeated his claim in an interview with New Yorker writer Mary Fitzgerald last April, published three days ago (6/18/14): He also maintained that the violence in Benghazi that night grew out of a protest against a movie produced in the United States that lampooned Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, rather than being a planned action by militants. Since the attacks, even after Abu Khattala's arrest, despite many prominent reports about him and others citing the Internet video as the motive for the attacks, Fox News has never seen fit to mention his contention. It's not that they have a blind spot about Khattala, or just happened to miss the dozens of stories about him in other media. On the contrary, Fox News has aired 11 segments mentioning Khattala–six before his arrest, mostly wondering why he hasn't ye been arrested (i.e., Fox News Sunday, 9/8/13); and five since his arrest, which are more concerned that Khattala will be tried in US courts, than they are with what might be learned about the details of the attack (e.g., Special Report, 6/18/14.) So why no mention of the suspect's stated motive now? Fox News has aired more than 2,000 segments on the Benghazi attacks. Like other right-wing media with the Benghazi bug, Fox News claims that the White House deceived the public by not immediately branding the incident an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist attack, but instead claimed that it was a spontaneous reaction to the notorious internet video. The motive for the deception, goes the theory, was the White House's desire not to remind voters that Al-Qaeda was still active two months before a US presidential elections (e.g., Special Report, 5/14/13.) Indeed, the conspiracy-mongering got so out of control at one point that the Republicans, with Fox News at their backs, attempted to turn a State Department email mentioning that the anti-Muslim Internet video had caused incidents at a number of US embassies into a smoking gun–evidence, they said, that State Department was trying to repeat inaccurate talking points to be used on Sunday morning chat shows (e.g., Kelly File, 5/1/14). They were ultimately unsuccessful, as more level-headed media corrected the record (e.g., Slate, 4/30/14). It's all pretty far-fetched. The president did in fact call the attacks terrorism soon after they happened, and other embassies in the Muslim world were actually attacked. What this all seems to suggest is that Fox News won't mention the significant evidence that the Internet video was behind the attacks because it is so deeply invested in the story of a White House conspiracy, and it's too late to change the script. In other words, it's not about journalism, it's about politics."

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  • Larry WJune 22, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Got a news item for you. Muslim terrorists don't need a reason to attack. They look for any reason to kill. That fact is well documented by their actions. So, I do not care if anyone has written a story that they find offensive, or done a video, or wear clothing that they do not like, or marry a nonmuslim. There is one response they have, which is violence anyone who doesn't share their world view.

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  • Mike KirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 11:13 am

    Larry, that relates to this discussion, how? Did you just figure that out and want to share with the rest of us?

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  • Larry WJune 22, 2014 - 2:14 pm

    Mike. You were talking about the cause of the attack on our embassy. I was just clarifying that there are people who are willing to kill others just because they are evil. They will find a justification. To blame it on a video is just a lie.

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    Larry W, "I was just clarifying that there are people who are willing to kill others just because they are evil. They will find a justification." Are we back to talking about Bush/Cheney?

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  • Mr. SmithJune 22, 2014 - 6:03 pm

    Why didn't we think of asking one of the terrorists who attacked our mission post in Benghazi what the attack was all about? Dang, Kirchubel, you have nailed it. I smell a pulitzer prize for you in the near future. Oh, wait. Even Petraeus knew the attack was not a random protest over a video that went out of control, within a few hours of the attack. Nice cut and paste job, though. Comical, but nice. StR would be proud.

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  • Rudy MadronichJune 22, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    Yes CD this must be fox-ism just like the AP story about the IRS computers crashing and all of the e-mails that the panel looking into the IRS targeting Tea Party and Conservitive groups have been asking for for a year now some how lost and on top of that your telling us all that the IRS does not back up any of their e-mails or hard drive information. If you belive that I have a bridge for sale that I can sell you real cheep.

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  • rlw895June 22, 2014 - 6:36 am

    We need another investigation into Lois Lerner and the IRS? And what "truth" are we looking for about Benghazi? The untrue one? I agree though that Clinton shouldn't pretend to be an average American.

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  • Teach5thJune 22, 2014 - 9:07 am

    RLW - just answer 1 question. Why did Lois Lerner plead the 5th if she did nothing wrong?

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 9:40 am

    Teach5th, under similar circumstances, wouldn't you? Taking the fifth is a completely legal and oft-practiced method of defense. If you follow law, you understand the language practices that can ultimately subvert your testimony.

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  • Teach5thJune 22, 2014 - 10:22 am

    So, she testifies and says she did nothing wrong. Then she takes the 5th so she won't have to answer questions. No, to answer your question, CD. If I did nothing wrong, I would not be afraid to answer questions. We've had our disagreements in the past, but Lerner taking the 5th, then having her computer and those of others who are the focus of the investigation crash, then not telling Congress about it though they were looking for the pertinent e-maills that were "lost", then saying you don't know what happened to the hard drives . . . If you can't be honest and admit that this series of events shows somebody/many folks are trying to hide something, you're just not being honest. If it were a Republican administration, you would be shouting from the rooftops, "Something stinks!" and I would have to agree with you!

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  • Mike KirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 10:38 am

    Teach, She probably understood that every word out of her mouth would be turned against her by the Republican Spanish Inquisition. If you were sitting there in her high heels, you would have done the same thing. The emails will turn up no matter what the fate of the individual hard drives. All the world's emails go through servers, they are not like sealed letters that travel from one person to another unopened and unread. A copy of everything you email to someone else is preserved, forever, in the servers. So just relax and enjoy the show while it lasts. Like all the other Fox News thrillers, it will most likely have a very disappointing ending for you.

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 11:10 am

    Teach5th, I believe facts come out over time. And honestly, I believe the records will become available and offer very little. Could it be the strategy to befuddle the accusers and in the end make the GOP look silly? I don't know. But I do believe people in her position have to make every effort to protect themselves as she has.

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  • Mike KirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 11:57 am

    I wonder why so many otherwise intelligent people continually choose to believe in Fox fairies instead of the truth. I know they put on a good show, and tell their viewers not to trust other sources, but don't you think that eventually they would figure it out?

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  • JohnJune 22, 2014 - 1:14 pm

    Not sure about that Mike, but I'm quite sure we've figured you out. The Birney Ward Club and all...

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  • mike kirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 1:43 pm

    Yeah, maybe i should change that to "most would figure it out."

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  • rlw895June 22, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    T5: I've answered that question more than once. But let me try another approach: Because she had a lawyer.

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  • MikeJune 22, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    rlw895, you nailed it!!

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  • Teach5thJune 22, 2014 - 5:29 pm

    . . . And a lawyer would NEVER want you to incriminate yourself as she most certainly would have had she answered the investigators' questions. ---- Why do liberals continue to spout nonsense stating that the investigations have turned up no wrongdoing when Lois Lerner doesn't answer questions and e-mails are "lost". There is much that still needs to be revealed, and a special prosecutor might finally be able to do just that.

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  • SalJune 22, 2014 - 5:35 pm

    How about we try Bush and Cheney for war crimes, for billions they pocketed from Halliburton, and for the thousands of innocent Americans killed in wars waged on mistruths? How about we put them in jail? If not electrocute them? How about we wait and see if we want another Bush brother or whether, America, like it did by electing Obama, elects our first woman President?

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  • JagJune 22, 2014 - 5:59 pm

    You have to consider the lesser of two evils, have everything come out in the open or take the hit for destroying hard drives, it looks to be the hard drives was the path of least resistance, Now if you will excuse me it has been over 6 months sense I filed my income tax return so I am going to go shrewd everything.

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  • SalJune 22, 2014 - 7:56 pm

    Lets see: war, debt, lies, destruction, trillion dollar deficit = Bush/Republicans Universal health care, equal rights, resurrection from a trillion dollar deficit, recovery= Obama Clinton 2016: Count on it!

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  • rlw895June 22, 2014 - 8:06 pm

    T5: A competent lawyer would never allow you to take ANY unnecessary risks while under a criminal investigation, and testifying before congress would be an unnecessary risk. The committee's legal counsel knew before they called Lerner in that she would refuse to testify, and they no doubt informed the committee of that. So why do you think they called her in anyway?

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  • Teach5thJune 22, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    RLW - How do you know they knew she would take the 5th the first time she testified? Is it that far outside the realm of possibility that a government employee would actually raise his/her hand and swear to tell the truth?

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  • rlw895June 23, 2014 - 2:30 am

    T5: You really don't get it, do you? Do us all a favor and find a lawyer friend to explain it to you before you come back here again. It's perfectly obvious to me that the committee WANTED her to come in and take the 5th because it would fool people like you as to what it means.

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  • CD BrooksJune 23, 2014 - 6:43 am

    Teach5th, you WISH she'd incriminate herself and you HOPE all kinds of damaging evidence pops up to make your case. You just said it “liberals spouting nonsense.” Do you believe for one second that she is not being challenged from that perspective? You may have missed my point? The truth will come out but Ms. Lerner is practicing her legal rights as she must in this case.

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  • 2realJune 22, 2014 - 9:23 pm

    Obama sucks and so does hillary. Theres a reason there has been 48 presidents and all were men. Ill take bush and cheney over osama and laden i mean obama and biden anyday!

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  • mike kirchubelJune 22, 2014 - 10:16 pm

    2R, let me guess, you watch fox, right?

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  • rlw895June 23, 2014 - 3:01 am

    Mr.S: Are you still accepting 2real in the "millions of people like me" club?

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  • rlw895June 23, 2014 - 2:56 am

    Larry W: You said "It is a fact that the IRS targeted conservative groups and evidence of this attack was lost or destroyed intentionally.." Two things, you've morphed the word "targeted" into an "attack." In the same sentence! Impressive. You should not be trusted with matches. And there is no evidence, yet, that any evidence was destroyed intentionally. Now that the IRS knows what happens when it apologizes for something, don't expect them to make that mistake again.

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