President Barack Obama isn’t happy.
The president seems to have lost his spark, as media have buzzed with speculation over the root of his gloomy demeanor between coverage of those vying for his job.
Even his biggest cheerleader, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who said he “felt this thrill going up my leg” when Obama delivered a speech during the primaries in 2008 and compared his meteoric rise to the New Testament, according to the Huffington Post, has sensed that the Obamas don’t seem settled into the White House.
“Once having won the office, he seemed to think that that was the end of it in terms of his connection to the American people,” Matthews said, according to the Washington Times. “I think everybody feels an absence of communication from the time he’s been elected. And it’s not about being left-wing enough or too left. That’s not his problem. It’s connection … I don’t sense the gratitude, the happiness level, the thrill of being president.”
Matthews isn’t the only one to notice the change of heart from the man who, in 2010, was named “one of the best presidents ever” by presidential scholars. According to a Wednesday Gallup poll, he has now surpassed Lyndon B. Johnson as the president seeking re-election with the lowest approval rating.
Perhaps his poor spirits can be attributed to his looming to-do list.
Obama may be hoping to bring troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan in time for Christmas. However, involvement in Libya, which Obama said in March would take “days, not weeks,” according to ABC News, is still high. A year after his inauguration, the president pledged to his supporters that he would close Guantanamo Bay. Yet the infamous prison remains open, and Obama conceded that he hasn’t “been able to make the case right now,” according to the Washington Post.
Though war has often been used as a means to boost the economy, the U.S. unemployment rate remains at 9 percent, and according to The Associated Press, more than 46 million Americans now live in poverty, the highest numbers recorded since the Census Bureau began tracking poverty levels in 1959.
Even so, government spending is at historically high levels with respect to the nation’s declining GDP. Other nations with such high levels of spending, such as Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal and Spain, are all on the verge of collapse, which certainly has done nothing for Obama’s nerves.
America has managed to keep its AAA credit rating with Fitch even after losing it with Standard & Poor’s, but according to Fox News, Fitch has downgraded its outlook to negative, a move undoubtedly associated with the failure of the congressional supercommittee to cut $1.2 trillion in government spending by the end of the year. A drop in the national credit rating will drive up interest rates across the board and make it that much harder for businesses to borrow for capital expenses, which, in turn, affects hiring.
Such news is enough to make anyone, even the president, want to live in a tent in Zuccotti Park. And though Obama has pledged to look out for the interests of the omnipresent Occupy Movement’s 99 percent, the polls speak for themselves.
Anastasia Dawson is a junior majoring in mass communications.