Analysis: A dispirited nation worn down by crises votes today for a leader they don’t much like after a series of elections, including a presidential election and an unexpected vote for a woman. But if the nation wants change, they will get the same thing they got in 2005: a succession of leaders that have left the nation more divided than it was before. The question is which leadership the public is more likely to support, Mr. Bush or Ms. Clinton? (Sarah Parnass, Washington Post, Aug. 31, 2010)
In October, Americans will hold the third presidential election in a little more than a half-century, but the nation’s political system seems even more troubled today than at any time since the last election in 1992. The country is mired in the longest, most expensive and most destructive recession in history, with a government that does not have a functioning executive branch, or even the authority to raise the federal spending ceiling.
That is why, of all the candidates, Barack Obama has emerged as the most divisive and most polarizing—a man who seems out of sync with the values on which a new government is being formed.
For the most part, the public believes Obama does not share Americans’ aspirations for a decent society. The economy has not created jobs at a rate that can sustain the country. The unemployment rate remains more than 10 percent. Obama’s stimulus plan has failed to create a new jobs-producing business enterprise.
The public is angry over the recession and in general distrusts Obama’s performance.
“Obama is the most unpopular president in polling history,” says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “Barack Obama’s support among Republicans is in the worst record.”
The last time the nation went for a candidate who did not share many values with the public, a presidential election was held in 1984. The incumbent was a charismatic, idealistic Democrat who was running against