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Trend: President Barack Obama's Approval Ratings on the Economy, February 2009-August 2011

Gallup:  71% disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.

If only Paul Krugman would STFU, I’m sure things would be just fine.  /s

Update: Gregg Sargent weighs in.  I agree that the disagreement between the “professional left” and the White House is often “about what might be attainable if [Obama] handled these negotiations differently.” But Gregg goes on to say that “there are plenty of signs lately that the White House is gearing up to show the kind of fight the left is hoping to see.”  I can only speak for myself, but watching Obama bait the right with a fight over jobs that he fully intends to lose is not something I have any interest in, and that is the “fight” that the White House has signaled it will engage in.  There are many things the President of the United States can do that don’t need the approval of Congress. Engaging in a show fight is a campaign exercise that does nothing to solve the underlying problem.

Update II:  Ezra Klein says Score One for the Professional Left:  “Paul Krugman is one op-ed columnist. Firedog Lake [no link] is one Web site. They have readers. But they are not the state of Ohio. Time and again, however, we see evidence that they have gotten deep inside the White House’s head. In letters, in offhand comments, in outbursts at press conferences, in my personal reporting, members of the Obama administration and members of the Obama reelection campaign will let slip that they are dwelling and worrying over these arguments.”

Ezra is right, and that’s the weird part.  I’ve never understood the President’s obsession with this.  I wrote back in December:

The White House has been working to smooth the ruffled feathers of liberals that Obama dismissed as “sanctimonious” in his spur-of-the-moment press conference two weeks ago. But having watched the event, I have to say that I was personally far less concerned about Obama’s attack on his liberal critics than I was about the signals he sent to anyone who ever negotiates against him.

Can you imagine Netanyahu or Medvedev or Wen Jiabao watching this and scratching their heads, and wondering what the heck he’s talking about? And someone has to scramble to explain that there are a couple of bloggers nobody has ever heard of who have apparently gotten under the President’s skin, and this is about the fourth or fifth time he has publicly lashed out at them?

The guy is the President of the United States. We’re just sitting here doing what we’ve always done, what we’ll do long after he’s gone from the White House — opposing the war, torture, domestic spying, bigotry, Wall Street’s control of government, etc. etc.  It’s nothing personal against him.  Were we supposed to stop caring about those things?  And who would notice if we did?

The DoD uses HB Gary professional trolls to get inside people’s heads, to get them off their game, to distract them and keep them from achieving their objectives.  Which is why I don’t read them, and we just keep going about our business.  It struck me from the rhetoric that the President used in that press conference that he had been absorbing entirely too many blog comments, or the staff around him has.  And they’re responding in the same way that journalists often did when they were forced online by their publications out of necessity.  They didn’t understand that this is just the online dialog.  They became consumed by it and it blocked out the sun for them.

Ezra can say that the professional left “scored one” here, but I’ll express my concern again that this is what the President of the United States and his staff are consumed with at a time of economic, social and environmental instability.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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