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Obama Poll Watch -- August, 2013

[ Posted Thursday, September 5th, 2013 – 16:00 PDT ]

Dog days of August

For President Obama, August is the cruelest month. Every year, without fail, Obama slumps in the polls in the dog days of summer. This year was no different. That's the bad news, for Obama fans. The worse news is that there isn't a whole lot on the immediate horizon which could give Obama any sort of bump upwards in his polling numbers. But before we get to the future, let's take a look at the past month.

Obama Approval -- August 2013

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

August, 2013

August is traditionally "Silly Season" in politics, because Congress decamps for sunnier pastures and political pundits are left to their own devices, manufacturing stories out of nothing more than sheer boredom. Although this year, surprisingly, there wasn't a whole lot of silliness out there.

The biggest "dog that didn't bark" this year was the expected town hall ugliness over immigration reform. Many (myself included) were predicting this would be a huge arguing point for the public, especially those living in Republican districts. But it never really materialized. However, this shouldn't be taken as a sign that immigration reform's chances got better (or worse, for that matter), as the conventional wisdom is now that the House isn't even going to get around to discussing it until October, at the earliest.

The historic semicentenary of the March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom was marked in Washington, and while quite a number of Democrats turned out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, zero Republicans turned up (even though all of Congress was invited).

The Justice Department announced the beginning of the end of the War On (Some) Drugs, both by pulling back on mandatory minimum sentencing and by allowing the states of Colorado and Washington to go ahead and legalize recreational marijuana.

August started with good news, as the unemployment number fell to 7.4 percent -- the lowest it has been during Obama's presidency.

But none of this did Obama any good at the polls. Obama's monthly average job approval rating fell almost a full point to end the month at 44.4 percent, while his monthly average disapproval number climbed a whole point to 50.2 percent -- dangerous territory, indeed. Obama is now only one point removed from his all-time lowest monthly ranking of October, 2011, where he stood at 43.4 percent approval and 51.2 percent disapproval.

 

Overall Trends

I do have one technical note on Obama's low numbers, though. The presidential polling universe (at least the one that Real Clear Politics uses) has changed in the past few months, which has contributed to Obama's lower monthly averages. Up until this summer, major media outlets (mostly television networks and major newspapers) have polled the public roughly once a month, while two polling operations (Gallup and Rasmussen) conducted "rolling daily averages" where they are just polling all the time, and adjusting their numbers daily based on the past few days' worth of data. The change has been that two polling operations are now conducting weekly polls (or, perhaps, Real Clear Politics has just started adding their numbers into their "poll of polls" average). But the poll numbers from Reuters/Ipsos and Economist/YouGov seem skewed towards the lower end. They are rather consistently three to five points lower than most of the other polling.

This normally wouldn't have that much of an effect (which is why polls are averaged in the first place), since they'd be single outlier numbers in a cloud of other data. But Real Clear Politics has been overemphasizing the data. For the two daily polling numbers, each day's data is used in the average, but older data is removed (so that in a month there aren't 30 data points from Rasmussen and Gallup, which would overwhelm all the other polling). But Real Clear Politics has not been doing the same thing with the new weekly polls -- they seem to be charted as data points every week -- making them four times weightier than the monthly polling conducted by other organizations.

I'm hoping that Real Clear Politics realizes the problem and corrects it sometime in the near future, otherwise we may consider using other data sources (such as Pollster.com) which paint a more accurate picture of the current public polling.

Even having said all of that, the trend for Obama's numbers doesn't look good. In fact, it closely resembles that of another president's:

Obama v. Bush -- August 2013

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

Now, George W. Bush was in a tailspin at this point of his presidency that he quite obviously never recovered from. Obama doesn't have the same situation (an out-of-control war with Iraq) and it's a fair bet that he wouldn't stand idly by and watch an entire American city drown, either. So Obama stands a much better chance of recovering than Bush did, at this point in his second term.

Unfortunately, this likely isn't going to happen soon. The next few months have a lot of things which could drag Obama's numbers down, such as the Syria mess and the inevitable budget bickering which will happen immediately afterwards. Some Tea Partiers are still threatening to shut the government down at the end of the month, or perhaps in September when the debt ceiling is hit. It doesn't look like immigration reform's going to move until all of that happens, and no guarantee it will actually move even after the budget battles.

The Obamacare exchanges will be opening at the beginning of next month, and it's a sure bet the opponents will go apoplectic as a direct result. By doing so, they are proving the weakness of their own convictions -- if Obamacare is doomed to fail, after all, why do they even need to attempt to destroy it? -- but this is a little too much nuance for most people to see.

The only thing which could boost Obama's numbers is continued good news on the economic front. Tomorrow the unemployment number for August is due out, and the auto industry seems to be going gangbusters, so perhaps more good news will appear. At some point approximately a month from now, the official federal budget deficit for 2013 will be announced, and every indication shows that it has dramatically fallen -- meaning Obama can then accurately say he has delivered on his promise to cut the deficit in half. But even rosy economic numbers will likely have limited impact on Obama's job approval numbers, as they are more likely to be overshadowed by the situation with Syria -- where Obama's attack plan is widely unpopular -- and with the gigantic struggle over the budget. So September may be a grim month, approval-wise, for the president.

 

[Obama Poll Watch Data:]

Sources And Methodology

ObamaPollWatch.com is an admittedly amateur effort, but we do try to stay professional when it comes to revealing our sources and methodology. All our source data comes from RealClearPolitics.com; specifically from their daily presidential approval ratings "poll of polls" graphic page. We take their daily numbers, log them, and then average each month's data into a single number -- which is then shown on our monthly charts here (a "poll of polls of polls," if you will...). You can read a much-more detailed explanation of our source data and methodology on our "About Obama Poll Watch" page, if you're interested.

Questions or comments? Use the Email Chris page to drop me a private note.

 

Obama's Second Term Statistical Records

Monthly
Highest Monthly Approval -- 1/13 -- 52.7%
Lowest Monthly Approval -- 8/13 -- 44.4%

Highest Monthly Disapproval -- 8/13 -- 50.2%
Lowest Monthly Disapproval -- 1/13 -- 42.6%

Daily
Highest Daily Approval -- 1/31/13 -- 52.5%
Lowest Daily Approval -- 8/9-10/13 -- 43.6%

Highest Daily Disapproval -- 8/12/13 -- 51.2%
Lowest Daily Disapproval -- 2/24/13 -- 42.3%

 

Obama's Second Term Raw Monthly Data

[All-time high in bold, all-time low underlined.]

Month -- (Approval / Disapproval / Undecided)
07/13 -- 44.4 / 50.2 / 5.4
07/13 -- 45.3 / 49.2 / 5.5
06/13 -- 46.5 / 48.5 / 5.0
05/13 -- 48.3 / 46.9 / 4.8
04/13 -- 48.6 / 46.8 / 4.6
03/13 -- 48.5 / 46.3 / 5.2
02/13 -- 51.1 / 43.0 / 5.9
01/13 -- 52.7 / 42.6 / 4.7

 

Second Term Column Archives

[July 13], [June 13], [May 13], [Apr 13], [Mar 13], [Feb 13], [Jan 13]

 

First Term Data

To save space, the only data and statistics listed above are from Obama's second term. If you'd like to see the data and stats from Obama's first term, including a list of links to the full archives of the Obama Poll Watch column for the first term, we've set up an Obama Poll Watch First Term Data page, for those still interested.

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

24 Comments on “Obama Poll Watch -- August, 2013”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama doesn't have the same situation (an out-of-control war with Iraq)

    {{cough}}Syria{{cough}} {cough}

    and it's a fair bet that he wouldn't stand idly by and watch an entire American city drown, either.

    {{cough}} Hurricane Sandy {cough} {cough}

    But even rosy economic numbers will likely have limited impact on Obama's job approval numbers, as they are more likely to be overshadowed by the situation with Syria -- where Obama's attack plan is widely unpopular -- and with the gigantic struggle over the budget. So September may be a grim month, approval-wise, for the president.

    Here's one thing I don't understand..

    Obama says that spanking Syria is the right thing to do. Further, Obama says that even if Congress doesn't approve the Syria plan, Obama can do it anyways..

    So, this begs the question.

    If spanking Syria is the right thing to do and if our POTUS says he can do it regardless of what Congress votes..

    Why the FRAK doesn't he do it??

    It's called "LEADERSHIP", people....

    This is what happens when we (yes, I am including myself in that 'we') elect someone without ANY leadership experience... When we elect someone who is all about "theory" and "hope"...

    We get a milquetoast "leader" who can't decide to take a dump without sticking his finger in the air to determine which way the political winds are blowing...

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:
  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wasn't Alan Grayson the cat's meow around here???

    Rep. Alan Grayson: Syria Intelligence Manipulated

    Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who is aggressively lobbying against a military strike on Syria, says the Obama administration has manipulated intelligence to push its case for U.S. involvement in the country's two-year civil war.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2013/09/05/alan-grayson-syria-intelligence-manipulated

    So, how is Rep Grayson now??

  4. [4] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    So lets take this point by point Michale.

    First of all we're not in a war in Syria yet, that's what all the debate is about, your point could have been great if you would have used the out of control war we're actually in at the moment, Afghanistan. So no points for not understanding when we are and are not killing people with bombs.

    Number two, Hurricane Sandy? Really? Things that happened in Katrina that didn't happen in Sandy.

    The Bridge to Gretna, police fired shotguns over the heads of refugees to prevent them leaving the city of New Orleans. I fail to recall New Jersey turning back desperate people with firearms.

    Or how about the Superdome? Thousands of victims living in squalor and filth because Bush appointed Michael Brown, a previous commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, to head FEMA.

    So yah, Sandy was bad disaster, but Obama didn't pile on heaps of incompetence. Also happened months ago, and New York is well on its way to full recovery, unlike New Orleans which is still suffering the consequences.

    And third your leadership dig. Now everyone is allowed their opinions, but Obama has acted unilaterally to intervene before, in Libya, so he is capable of your definition of leadership. But I'm willing to bet your response to that will be to scream BENGHAZI. So do that... Good now?

    Libya and Syria are vastly different conflicts, in different terrain, and under entirely different political circumstances.
    In Libya we were all in the immediate aftermath of the Arab spring, we had a clear cut situation of a dictator going after his civilian populace, and further there was a united nations resolution. Obama may not have had congress, but he had y'know, the international community. Also, Libya is mainly flat desert, and is much less urban that Syria, while civilian deaths occurred, as they always do when bombs are involved, its much easier to justify bombing tank columns in the desert rather than forces sitting in the middle of dense urban environments filled with civilians.

    And now we go to Syria, now all of these points have been hashed to death but lets skim over a few to see why Obama might be reluctant to just bomb the shit out of Syria. No international mandate, Syria has friends in China, Russia and Iran. Two of which have veto power at the UN, so no mandate. The situation isn't terribly clear. Yes its beyond debate that chemical weapons have been used, but any other assertions run into a host of problems that frankly can't be answered unless you're a CIA agent(though I would err on the side of assad doing it). Also its not clear cut case of government oppression, we have a two year civil war with all the viciousness and complications that implies. So he's making us stop, think, and debate. At least before we jump into the middle of some damn fool thing in the middle east in august.

    Last line might be on the nose, but you get bonus points for getting the reference.

  5. [5] 
    db wrote:

    CW,

    I wouldn't hold your breath on Real Clear Politics. They've got their own agenda & I suspect the idea is to bombard the "Lamestream Media" with stories, "Obama Approval Down" until the story is picked up & becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.

    Michale,

    You (inadvertently?) nail the point.

    Republican Leaders expect their followers to remain in the ranks & toe the line. The followers generally do so. This has any number of advantages & I'll admit to being envious at times.

    Democrats on the other hand feel free to criticize their leaders & will disagree with them for any reason at all. So your #3? BFD. No news at all. & to Rep. Grayson, it's easy to make allegations. Put up or shut up.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Republican Leaders expect their followers to remain in the ranks & toe the line. The followers generally do so. This has any number of advantages & I'll admit to being envious at times.

    As are many on the Left. :D

    Democrats on the other hand feel free to criticize their leaders & will disagree with them for any reason at all.

    Not always. How many black CongressCritters have said that they would vote no against a Syria attack, but because it's OBAMA that is the POTUS, they have to help him save face.

    Get it?? Black leaders want to take this country to war SOLELY and COMPLETELY so that their guy won't lose face...

    How contemptible is that??

    So your #3? BFD. No news at all. & to Rep. Grayson, it's easy to make allegations. Put up or shut up.

    My only point was that AG was the cat's meow around here when he was in Obama's corner.

    Now that he is showing some independence from the group-think and going up against The Exalted One, I was curious if the opinion on AG has changed..

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    The only thing which could boost Obama's numbers is continued good news on the economic front.

    WEAK: JUST 169,000 NEW JOBS CREATED IN AUGUST, BAD DOWNWARD REVISIONS, LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE FALLS
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-august-jobs-report-2013-9

    Looks like no help there....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    You just HAVE to laugh.....

    Nancy {Pelosi} told us that she asked her 5-year old grandson if he thought America should go to war. “No!” he replied, so she gave him a lesson in the importance of deterring the use of chemical weapons. There are two things to take away from that surreal anecdote. A) Nancy discusses foreign policy with 5-year olds. B) They know more about it than her.

  9. [9] 
    db wrote:

    Michale,

    #6, "Just" 169,000? Do you recall those figures 6 years ago?

    #5."Now that he is showing some independence from the group-think and going up against The Exalted One, I was curious if the opinion on AG has changed."

    No, as we've always held the same opinion of Rep. Grayson whether or not we've agreed with him on any particular issue.

    I'd advise against using the term, "black CongressCritters". It might easily be construed as racist or worse.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    #6, "Just" 169,000? Do you recall those figures 6 years ago?

    To paraphrase Dr McCoy,

    "Dammit, Jim! I'm a soldier, not an accountant!!" :D

    No, as we've always held the same opinion of Rep. Grayson whether or not we've agreed with him on any particular issue.

    Maybe I have my Lefty Heros confused, but I coulda swore that AG was a folk hero around here for sticking it to the Right in some manner or another...

    I'd advise against using the term, "black CongressCritters". It might easily be construed as racist or worse.

    Good point. That was thoughtlessly stoopid of me..

    Mea culpa...

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    YoYoTheAssyrian -

    Welcome to the site. Your first comment was automatically held for moderation, but from now on you should be able to post and see your comments instantly appear. The one exception to this rule is if you post more than one link per comment. Multilink comments are also automatically held for moderation (to cut down on "comment spam"). If you have multiple links, just write multiple comments and post one per comment and you should be OK.

    Again, welcome to the site.

    -CW

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    db / Michale -

    Apologies for disrupting your conversation by renumbering the comments (when I approve new commenters, their comments appear when they were submitted, not when I approve them, and this changes the numbering for all comments afterwards).

    Anyone reading the comments of db and Michale above, just add 1 to each of the numeric references...

    Again, my apologies, that's just the way the code is written...

    -CW

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apologies for disrupting your conversation by renumbering the comments (when I approve new commenters, their comments appear when they were submitted, not when I approve them, and this changes the numbering for all comments afterwards).

    The wisdom of actually quoting the ref rather than just identifying the # shines thru... :D

    YoYoTheAssyrian,

    As I always do....

    "Welcome to the party, Pal!"
    -John McClane, DIE HARD

    :D

    So lets take this point by point Michale.

    Awesome!! I absolutely *LOVE* point by point..

    However, to do it justice will require a slight delay as I am closing up my shop and heading home in a few... I'll try to get to it tonight, but definitely by first thing in the AM...

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [1] -

    Obama's Syria will equate with Bush's Iraq when about 3,000 American soldiers die for it. In other words, not any time soon...

    And if you're equating the response to Sandy to the response to Katrina, you are just sadly mistaken. There was no incompetent "heckuva job, Brownie" equivalent who had been appointed for buddy-buddy reasons (over competence and a resume), sorry.

    As for your "why doesn't he just go ahead and do it" comments, do I really have to go back and dig up your complaints on how Obama handled Libya? I would bet cold hard Quatloos that "he should have consulted Congress" appears somewhere in what you said, personally...

    Michale [3] -

    Grayson is enjoying his fourth MIDOTW award...

    YoYoTheAssyrian [4] -

    Thank you for making the point about Sandy/Katrina better than I did... also, Libya.

    db [5] -

    Yeah, RCP have always kind of put a minor thumb on the scale, but this is so blatant I hope that whatever statisticians on their payroll will eventually fix the problem. Look at the page, and scroll down to the last six months' worth of data -- it shows up like a searchlight when you take a look at how it's changed. They have fixed statistical problems in the past, so I'm going to give them a few months before I totally jump ship.

    As for Republicans keeping a taut ship in the ranks (is that mixing military metaphors, I wonder?), I agree and always have. Michale's right -- when Lefties are honest with each other, we do envy the cohesiveness usually exhibited by the GOP.

    Up until the Tea Party started, however.

    Heh. Heh heh. Not so much "falling into line" these days, eh?

    :-)

    Michale [6] -

    Since you've already apologized for the "black" dig, I will not further mention it here. But you are also guilty of doing something which you normally despise when it happens against Righties -- ascribing motivations to those on the other side with nothing to back it up with. You got any proof that Lefties are going into war solely to back Obama (and, mind you, are you ignoring proof that Righties are refusing to back a war solely because they want to deny Obama any political support, hmmm?)? Which should be (if you're consistent, intellectually) similarly contemptible?

    As for Alan Grayson (and please, to avoid my own confusion over Attorney General Eric Holder, don't use his initials!), he's somewhat of a "folk hero but also occasional loose cannon," at least to me.

    Not unlike Chris Christie, he says what he feels, in language most people can understand. But this occasaionally (just like Christie) can lead him into going out on awfully thin limbs. So it's a balancing act. But I still gave him a MIDOTW award this week, so that should answer your question at least partially, I would think.

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, looks like I have my work cut out for me this morning. :D

    "That's the way uh huh uh huh I like it..."
    -KC And The Sunshine Band

    YoYoAssyrian,

    First of all we're not in a war in Syria yet, that's what all the debate is about, your point could have been great if you would have used the out of control war we're actually in at the moment, Afghanistan. So no points for not understanding when we are and are not killing people with bombs.

    Ahhh, but we are talking about FUTURE events.. As in, nothing good for Obama will come from Syria.

    I mean, look at it. Obama has painted himself into the perfect corner.

    Despite his feeble and self-serving protestations, Obama created the red line. My guess is his ego simply could not CONCEIVE that, once he created the red line, Assad would DARE cross it.. But Assad flipped Obama the bird and crossed the line and said to Obama, "NOW what are you going to do, biatch!?"

    So, Obama is between a very hard rock and a very hard hard place..

    "Well, Womack. It seems you are between The Rock and a hard case."
    -Sean Connery, THE ROCK

    And, what makes it all the more damning for Obama is that it's a quagmire of his own creation..

    On the one hand, if Obama doesn't respond he makes the US look weak and ineffectual... Especially in light of all the real threats coming out of Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, etc etc... It would be catastrophic for the USA if Obama doesn't respond in force.

    GAME-CHANGING force..

    Do you have kids?? Postulate a scenario where a parent tells his kid, "If you come in late, you are grounded for a month!". The kid comes in late and the parent does nothing..

    What's the most logical outcome?

    The kid will keep coming in later and later and later... And the parent will have lost all credibility and control..

    Assad is a big kid.. Obama is the parent..

    Now, let's examine the OTHER option that Obama has. Kicking Assad's ass from here to the Danube... Tel Aviv won't be worth a plug nickel.. Russia will replace all the military hardware that is destroyed and will likely build Assad a Missile Defense Shield. It will be open season on all Americans in every Muslim country on the planet..

    Those are the choices facing Obama right now..

    When this is all said and done, Obama's Syria will make Bush's Iraq look like a family fun-filled day at the water-park...

    Number two, Hurricane Sandy? Really? Things that happened in Katrina that didn't happen in Sandy.

    Remember, I am using YA'ALLs reasoning on emergency response...

    Emergency response is a STATE and LOCAL matter. The cock-up that was Katrina was SOLELY, COMPLETELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY the fault of the local and state Democrat governments. Period..

    Just like in Sandy.. There are STILL horror-stories on victims of Hurricane Sandy to this day. That is the fault of the local and state governments..

    If ya'all WANT to blame Bush for Katrina, then you MUST blame Obama for Sandy..

    Anything less is hypocritical...

    And third your leadership dig. Now everyone is allowed their opinions, but Obama has acted unilaterally to intervene before, in Libya, so he is capable of your definition of leadership. But I'm willing to bet your response to that will be to scream BENGHAZI. So do that... Good now?

    Actually, I rarely "scream" anything..

    Regardless, you simply CANNOT make a case for Obama vis a vis leadership. He has none.

    A good leader would not have allowed himself to be maneuvered into the situation Obama finds himself in right now, vis a vis Syria.

    Obama's problem is his ego. He looks out for himself first and foremost.. There has NEVER been a POTUS in the history of this country that is more in love with themselves than Obama...

    Obama's examples of failed leadership are plentiful. I could throw a dart and hit at least a dozen examples.. I would be happy to go over them with you if you like. Fortunately, CW doesn't have a word count limit.. :D

    And now we go to Syria, now all of these points have been hashed to death but lets skim over a few to see why Obama might be reluctant to just bomb the shit out of Syria.

    Here's a perfect example of failed leadership.

    If Obama is reluctant to "just bomd the shit out of Syria"....

    WHY did he issue that red line!!!???

    "You don't put on a condom unless you're ready to f**k!"
    -Matt Craven, CRIMSON TIDE

    I'll leave you to contemplate that question while I move on to CW....

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Obama's Syria will equate with Bush's Iraq when about 3,000 American soldiers die for it. In other words, not any time soon...

    I would think that 2000 innocent men women and children that have been gassed in the last six months and the over 100,000 that have been killed in the last two years would be comparable...

    While it's true that Obama is not responsible for the 100,000 killed and the 500 that were gassed, Obama IS completely and unequivocally responsible for the 1500 that were gassed last month..

    As for your "why doesn't he just go ahead and do it" comments, do I really have to go back and dig up your complaints on how Obama handled Libya? I would bet cold hard Quatloos that "he should have consulted Congress" appears somewhere in what you said, personally...

    I'll take that bet. :D You know what a fan of Congress I am..

    But that's not my point..

    My point is that Obama SAID that it was important to respond to Syria..

    Obama SAID he had the authority to respond without Congress..

    Obama has a HISTORY of ignoring Congress to do what he thinks is "important"...

    So, Obama's current actions of going to Congress is completely illogical..

    Since you've already apologized for the "black" dig, I will not further mention it here.

    In my defense, I have a history of using the term "CongressCritter".. So there should be absolutely NO thought of intended racism with what I said.

    However, I do agree that it simply looks bad. And to anyone that doesn't know me (is there such a person here in Weigantia?? :D) might read it differently...

    You got any proof that Lefties are going into war solely to back Obama

    Rangel said that Obama should not have issued the red line, but that Rangel will back him so he (Obama) won't lose face. Another Congresswoman said she would normally vote NO on Syria, but will vote yes, just to back Obama.

    There are numerous other examples. I can dig up the exact quotes if you need them...

    As for Alan Grayson (and please, to avoid my own confusion over Attorney General Eric Holder, don't use his initials!), he's somewhat of a "folk hero but also occasional loose cannon," at least to me.

    Fair enough.. :D

    I'll be hitting up the FTP later in the weekend. Busy time for me as ya know. :D

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Keep in mind one point on Syria...

    REGARDLESS of what happens, the fault and responsibility lies SOLELY, COMPLETELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY with President Obama...

    If he hadn't issued that moronic and self-defeating red line, we would not be in the mess we are in now..

    Whatever happens, it's not the fault of the Democrats, it's not the fault of the Republicans, it's not the fault of the Left and it's not the fault of the Right.

    President Obama is solely and completely to blame..

    Does anyone here disagree with that??

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    And finally, another point on Katrina/Sandy..

    There ARE horror stories about Sandy that are comparable to the horror stories of Katrina..

    They are not widely reported because the Leftist MSM wants to protect Obama and the Democrats.

  19. [19] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    Here we go Michale,

    The ban on chemical weapons is a longstanding one that has proven relatively durable. between 1874 and 1929 there were no less than four conferences and agreements that banned the use of chemical weapons, The Brussels declaration, The Hague Conference, the Washington Arms conference Treaty and finally the Geneva protocol. It should be noted that both Brussels and the Hague were agreed upon BEFORE chemical weapons were widely developed or used. That's right, chemical weapons, unlike any other weapon in the history of warfare, were banned before their use was even remotely feasible.

    So lets move on to when they've been used. First and most obviously was the First World War. This proved to be so horrific and abhorrent, and I'm speaking of the war that saw widespread use of high explosives, tanks, machine guns, fighters bombers, and all the other tools of modern warfare for the first time. That only chemical weapons are banned despite the obviously painful deaths that happen with the other weapons. I say again, all of those are terrible ways to die, only chemical weapons are considered worse. After world war one, the only major uses were in the holocaust and the Iran-Iraq war (including the strikes against kurds). There were also scattered incidents, but it should be noted that even in a war as brutal and nasty as the eastern front in ww2, neither side used chemical weapons at all. Neither Hitler nor Stalin, hardly paragons of virtue or restraint, used chemical weapons against their external enemies.

    So we come to your discussion on Obama's red line. We have situation where a weapon that was banned before its existence, and only used widely twice in a century, has been used again. This weapon is so horrific that almost every nation on earth has refused to countenance its use. All Im saying is that while you may consider only Obama to blame, he has over a century of precedent in international opinion that would align with his rationale. He articulated one of the most common agreements in international law. No one is allowed to use chemical weapons period. And further unlike your assertion, it's not like we have to strike tomorrow to avoid looking like fools, the Persian gulf was months of coalition building and military build-up for example. Essentially, Obama hasn't backed himself into corner, he's simply articulating international law that predates the United Nations, hell even the League of Nations.

    Also Assad and Syria are not children, Obama is not their parent, and international situations do not at all resemble grounding a kid. Unless that kid has a tank army or something in his basement.

    And also, again, he issued the red line because it's the most basic denominator in international agreements, remember the whole predates the UN thing?

    Responsibility and Agency

    Obama responsible for the Gas Attack? How? What? Why? Syrians were responsible for the Gas Attack. It is a SYRIAN civil war. They're ones fighting, killing, and gassing. Obama did not order that gas attack, American forces did not deliver it. He is not legally, morally, or ethically responsible in any possible way. I mean this is basic language and logical causality we're talking here.

    And frankly, where are the Syrians in your argument here? You're just so eager to blame Obama that you might have forgotten that Syrians have their own country. This is their war, their actions brought it about, and their actions continue it. They have the agency in this situation, not the united states or Obama, which means that we are in a response position. I mean you have to at least acknowledge that Obama isn't in direct control of any government or rebel forces in Syria.

    As far as why politicians support or oppose the president, I don't think anyone is shocked, surprised, or even batting an eye that party affiliation is playing a role in decision making. Your outrage is... well naive. Democrats support democrats, republicans support republicans, and the both oppose each other. your outrage over this is baffling to say the least. And before you go onto Grayson, let me just point that I said "playing a role in decision making," absolutists need not apply.

    And finally, Katrina vs. Sandy, I gave two examples, where are yours?

    And I don't blame him for the world we live in. I blame him for the things he does.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Essentially, Obama hasn't backed himself into corner, he's simply articulating international law that predates the United Nations, hell even the League of Nations.

    So, based on that wholly fascinating, yet completely irrelevant history of the Chemical Weapons Ban, I can deduce that you are completely on board with Obama's totally outrageous and self-serving claim that he did NOT establish a red-line...

    Let's look at the facts...

    “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

    That was President Obama setting his red line...

    I see absolutely NO mention of ANY of the history that you so eloquently posted about..

    Obama didn't say a red line for the international community. He didn't say a red line for the Brussels Declaration or the Hague Conference..

    He said a red line for "us"... And, as we all know, when Obama says "us" he means "me"...

    Now, that would be enough to convince any normal rational thinking American.. But, judging from the blind devotion I read, I am guessing you are one of those ones who thinks that Obama is lord and god and can do no wrong..

    Let's read what White House officials had stated as followup to Obama's red line...

    "We go on to reaffirm that the President has set a clear red line as it relates to the United States that the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups is a red line that is not acceptable to us, nor should it be to the international community. It's precisely because we take this red line so seriously that we believe there is an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria.
    ...it is absolutely the case that the President's red line is the use of chemical weapons...
    And the people in Syria and the Assad regime should know that the President means what he says when he set that red line. And keep in mind, he is the one who laid down that marker. He's the one who directed that we provide this information to the public. And he's the one who directed that we do everything we can to further investigate this information so that we can establish in credible, corroborated, factual basis what exactly took place.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/25/background-conference-call-white-house-official-syria

    There can be absolutely NO DOUBT whatsoever that this red line is completely and utterly Obama's....

    I'll get to the rest in the morning as it's been a long day...

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    I'm actually deeply ambivalent about striking Syria, and a number of other Obama policies, but ad hominem attacks should be kept to a minimum Michale.

    Obama's red line has a deep historical context, and that while he is articulating that red line as a purely american response, its not like he's going out on a massive limb by saying that chemical weapons are banned and their use will be punished. The debate in my opinion is more about who is responsible for enforcing this long held portion of international law?

    For the sake of argument, lets concede that the red line is Obama's. Now what? Chemical Weapons have still been used, and their use is still a flagrant breach of international law. The mess, which you are so eager to lay at the feet of Obama, is still there. You may have established ownership, but you have't solved the problem in any way. Or really made any argument as to whether or not Syria should be attacked.

    The point is, even without a red line, we would be having this exact same debate. Remember the whole agency thing? They didn't use Chemical weapons in Syria because Obama banned their use, they used them because they're in a seriously nasty civil war and they want to kill the other side.

    And the Sandy/Katrina thing, I forgot to mention this last time, but you had a response that went something like this:
    "Emergency response is a STATE and LOCAL matter. The cock-up that was Katrina was SOLELY, COMPLETELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY the fault of the local and state Democrat governments. Period.."
    I have a four word response, FEDERAL emergency management agency.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm actually deeply ambivalent about striking Syria, and a number of other Obama policies, but ad hominem attacks should be kept to a minimum Michale.

    While there were no attacks, ad hominem or otherwise, I was an arrogant prick. But that is just my nature.

    Having said that, I DO apologize for the smart-assness of my comments. :D

    Obama's red line has a deep historical context,

    While that is true, it's irrelevant. It is STILL, as the White House clearly states and you (apparently) agree, OBAMA's red line...

    For Obama to try and claim that he "didn't set that red line" is the epitome of disingenuous-ness (it's an old word that I just made up..)..

    Further (going out on a limb here) I would wager that there isn't a Weigantian here who would agree with Obama. Agree that it's not Obama's red line..

    You may have established ownership, but you have't solved the problem in any way. Or really made any argument as to whether or not Syria should be attacked.

    Completely agree.. Now that we have established ownership (nice turn of the phrase, by the bi...) what do we do know??

    Assad MUST be punished. There is no doubt of that. For the US to have ANY shred of credibility in the world, the response to the red-line breach needs to be done quickly. Obviously THAT won't happen, so US credibility has already taken a hit.

    The response also must be of the same "game changing" nature as the offense was. A couple cruise missiles lobbed at an aspirin factory is not only going to be useless, it's going to be worse than doing nothing.

    A few days ago, I outlined a TO&E (Table Of Organization & Equipment) battleplan that would be an appropriate response to Assad's CWMD attack.. Of course, my plan did not take into account any political considerations, so it's probably not likely in the here and now..

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/66b63f8c-1653-11e3-a57d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2eLX7LnRT

    That outlines pretty well the mess we're in. The mess that Obama got us in..

    What's the best course of action? I don't have enough info to state unequivocally what that would be. During the Bush years, I argued vehemently with everyone here that the POTUS has all the info and for anyone to second guess the POTUS out of ignorance is simply not the best way to go.

    I would be utterly hypocritical if I did not have the same attitude towards Obama.. So I do. I concede the possibility that Obama likely knows something that I don't and is making the right call by delaying the US response to Syria..

    I, for the life of me, cannot imagine any scenario where Obama's navel-gazing is the right thing to do, but I guess there IS a possible scenario where said navel-gazing makes sense.

    We'll have a better feel for what is what after Obama's speech on Tuesday...

    My guess?? Obama is going to back-pedal, play down the CWMD attack and make the case for doing absolutely NOTHING about Assad...

    And the Sandy/Katrina thing, I forgot to mention this last time, but you had a response that went something like this:
    "Emergency response is a STATE and LOCAL matter. The cock-up that was Katrina was SOLELY, COMPLETELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY the fault of the local and state Democrat governments. Period.."
    I have a four word response, FEDERAL emergency management agency.

    FEMA is tasked with helping out in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Long term assistance They are not first responders. The responsibility for First Response is solely, completely and unequivocally the responsibility of city, county and state agencies...

    It's rather ironic that those agencies did good during and immediately after Sandy. Those agencies failed, EPICLY failed, during and immediately after Katrina..

    I am falling way behind so, if you have no druthers, I would like to carry the discussion over to the latest http://FTP...

    See ya there.. :D

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Aww, carp!!

    The post is awaiting moderation. I guess I stuck to many links in there..

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    The point is, even without a red line, we would be having this exact same debate.

    Sorry, I have to call BS on that statement..

    If Obama hadn't opened his ignorant mouth about this "red line", we would NOT be having this discussion at all..

    The ONLY reason the CWMDs are an issue is because Obama tried to talk tough and tried to be a leader and his bluff was called..

    Obama needs to learn one very important lesson.

    Real leaders don't "talk" tough...

    REAL leaders ARE tough.. REAL leaders know that you don't issue a red line unless you are ready to back it up....

    Put another way, if Obama had actually SERVED in the military as an officer and pulled what he is pulling now, he would have likely lead himself and dozens/hundreds of men to their deaths..

    It's the difference between actually being a leader of men and being a "leader" in theory....

    Obama is the latter..

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