Regarding my previous post predicting a long honeymoon for Barack Obama, Bob and Merrill points us to this WSJ analysis piece: "Obama's Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth."

The Executive Summary:

The poll reaffirms that President Obama's public approval ratings, relative to his predecessors, are NOT abnormally high for this early stage in a new administration. In fact, they are just a tad on the low side compared to past honeymoon periods and DROPPING.

In the view of Douglass E. Schoen and Scott Rasmussen, the numbers also suggest that the President may well have stormy seas on his horizon. Why? He has publicly declared a mandate for action that most likely exceeds the expectations of many of the swing voters who cast ballots for him.

More alarming for the President, the ADD-plagued public is increasingly skittish about the economy--and, if I may infer, nearing the moment in which they no longer collectively remember the previous president and, therefore, are LESS susceptible to the current strategy of blaming Bush.

Who? Oh, yeah, yeah, right, that guy....

An Aside: this reminds me. I highly recommend Joel Stein's hilarious but penetrating column today: "the economic blame game." I continue to hail Stein as the most insightful funnyman-pundit on earth.

Back to the Honeymoon conversation.

Forget about these polls. They are virtually meaningless. A lot of this analysis is wishful thinking. The honeymoon is in stable condition.

Why do I keep saying that?


1. Forget about the precedents. This honeymoon period, like the election that preceded it, is an event comparable to NO previous occurrence of its kind. All of those previous instances existed within the framework of a media ranging from hostile to skeptical to at least professionally objective. The word that best describes the current media dynamic: invested. In themselves, daily tracking numbers mean nothing. A serious downward trend generally takes a willing press corps to turn misgivings into a template.

If a president's popularity stalls, but journalists elect NOT to report it as the story, will the public ever hear it?

2. More insulation: if criticism does penetrate the mainstream aegis, dissenters face a second line of defense, the wrath of a whole host of presidential stalwarts in the broader entertainment media. John Stewart, SNL, and like-minded enforcers provide a snarky gauntlet for this administration, guarding his flank with powerful satiric artillery.

3. Another Obama advantage: compliant and loyal majorities in both houses of Congress. This development is not as unparalleled as the truly unique circumstance of his media shield--but, nevertheless, it offers the President additional cover against attack. Why? The opposition has no platform. There will be no committee hearings or splashy press conferences to embarrass this president. Aside from political junkies tuned into the overnight coverage on C-SPAN, who is going to hear the opposition's denunciations of the President?

The Clinton administration introduced us to the idea of the "Permanent Campaign," the Obama administration may well render the first "Permanent Public Love Fest" reality show.