Monday, September 19, 2011

The Presidential Meat Grinder

No one ever said being the President would be easy, but was it always this hard? Barack Obama's approval ratings have been sinking lower and lower recently, currently hovering around 40 percent. Reelection looks increasingly unlikely. This wouldn't be as significant if George Bush, Obama's predecessor, hadn't been similarly destroyed by the end of his presidency, leaving office at an astoundingly low 22 percent and hovering in the 20s through much of his presidency.

In other words, no matter what your opinion of either leader is, it's hard to deny that the American people turned on both in huge numbers. Though both Bush and Obama have made their mistakes, it begs the question if, in today's dangerous political climate, any president could be viewed as successful.

The creation of the system that destroyed America's economy and created the political wrestling match that's occupied Washington for years now was not created by any one man. Likewise, no one man has the power to end it. The American people seem to expect their president to be able to wave a magic wand and fix problems that have been developing for decades – or follow through on the campaign promises they were forced to make to get elected. In today's system, in which Congress is burdened with filibusters and red tape, it's borderline impossible for anyone to do the drastic things that need to be done to pull America out of its tailspin.

The presidency, then, has become a meat grinder. Charismatic, promising men go in and defeated, scorned ones come out. No one can instantly fix America's myriad problems, yet this is what the American people expect without fail.

It's not a sure thing that Obama will lose in 2012, low approval ratings aside. But if he does, whatever Republican succeeds him had better watch his back. If recent history applies, anything other than instantaneous results will result in him falling to the same fate as his predecessors.

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